I have shared bits and pieces of the family room built-in wall, but I have never shown it in it’s entirety. It is not 100%, but I wanted to share my recent shelf styling and mantel makeover. Please excuse the partially painted wall behind the TV. We are still trying to tackle the rest of the painting in this room.
Let’s start with the mantel. When I shared my spring mantel, you all seemed to like it with your sweet comments. But, one reader bravely shared she thought it was too cluttered. You know what? I kind of agreed with her. The mantel is so huge, it seemed to take so many items to fill it up. Then I realized maybe a few larger pieces would be better.
I cleared everything off the mantel and started over. I relocated the star and replaced it with a large square piece of art. I think the artwork fills up the space better. The star left a void above the speaker, which I always struggled with. Now the speaker fits in better under the artwork.
The art is actually hanging upside down, because I liked it better that way. It was an inexpensive, $49.99, Home Goods find. I plan to give it a little makeover soon, but for now the colors work well with the room.
To keep the mantel simple, I added one of my favorite glazed ceramic vases to the right of the art. On the left I put the dried grass into a new aqua jar. I found the jar at Patina for $38. It has beautiful thick glass with an amazing glass lid (sitting next to it). The price was a bit high for a single decor item, but I instantly loved it. I saw the same jar at a lighting show room a few weeks later and it was marked $59.99. I felt better about my splurge.
I saved all the
clutter decor items for the built in shelves to each side of the mantel. Most of the pieces removed from the mantel found a new home on the built-ins. With my recent shift to a “midwest summer” theme for the family room, starting with a pillow update, I wanted to freshen up the built-ins.
The round arch above each built-in lends well to a large piece in the center under the light, flanked by smaller decor items. The result is a triangle arrangement with the tallest item in the middle and tapering off to the sides. I anchored each of my built-ins with a large white centerpiece. I love the balance of having something white on both sides. The white objects directly under the light also help reflect more light in the evening when the shelves are lit up.
I tried really hard to group things in odd numbers. Objects always look better in groups if 3,5, or 7. I did well on the mantel and on both shelves to the left of the mantel. I broke the rule on the shelf above the TV and ended up with an even number of objects. In the end, the shelf that does not follow the rules is my favorite. I love everything on that shelf and couldn’t possibly have edited it back.
On the left side built-in, a starfish plate is the centerpiece. I found it at Home Goods for $10. The starfish from afar is a striking shape and up close it has wonderful texture. I grouped it with DIY mercury glass hurricanes, the ceramic vase which matches the one on the mantel, and my West Elm mercury glass mushrooms. The wood sphere is from West Elm, too. The wood tone is a nice relief from the shiny mercury glass.
Below this shelf is a large opening. I am using it to display some larger vases and a favorite family photo. I used the rule of odd numbers here with three brown wood vases and 3 turquoise ceramic pieces. The family photo in the center is the seventh item. The wood vases, ceramic vases, and ceramic bowl were all from Z Gallerie. I used to work there (loved that discount), but unfortunately the store here has since closed. I miss it.
I wanted to keep this large opening simple and uncluttered, because the family gallery wall is nearby. Too many frames or objects in the built-ins would have been overwhelming so close to the gallery wall. Using oversized vases helps me do more with less in this space.
The shelf on the other side of the mantel above the TV is my favorite, even though I forgot the rules. There is a lot going on, but I love the texture. The centerpiece on this side is a capiz shell charger plate. It was $12 at Pier 1. The charger was a simple and cheap way to make a focal point, but it turned out striking. In keeping with the decor in the rest of the room, I mixed in a mercury glass vase and my mercury glass owl, which used to be on the mantel. The bell ties in with the mercury glass, but also adds a natural tone with the dark wood handle.
The glass jars with cork plugs add another natural tone. They still have the natural vase fillers from their stint on the spring mantel. To get the height I needed from the glass jars I elevated two of them on simple copper candlesticks. I am not a copper girl, but for some reason I always find a use for these two understated candlesticks. In a past life they displayed glittered pumpkins.
The most recent addition to the family room decor is the urchin vase. I just found it at Target for $12. I love the shape and texture. It goes well with the starfish on the other side. Together they lend a subtle nautical feel.
This is the wall we look at all the time, whether we are watching the TV or enjoying a fire. The new clutter-free mantel and styled shelves are easy on the eyes. Even my minimalist hubby is happy with the new arrangement.