Monday, August 6, 2012

What to do around the mantel/TV

I have never been successful at styling our mantel.  First, we had the problem of the TV hanging too close to the mantel, as seen in the photo below.

Apparently the room used to look very brown!  

After about 2 1/2 years of living with it that way, I convinced The Mr. we needed to have more breathing room between the TV and the mantel last July.  It looked better, as seen below.  However, the styling of the mantel was not looking good.

No, we didn't repaint the room.  The lighting is causing a purple cast to our greige walls here.

I've tried all kinds of different decorative items but no combination looked good to me.  So I decided I needed something more vertical to help fill the gaps between the TV and the window frames.  And I thought symmetry would be good.  I found these tall vases at HomeGoods.  I also placed six identical shells underneath the TV, lined up in a row.

This is a better representation of the wall color, although it looks a wee bit lighter here than it is.

Still the look wasn't right.  I moved the tall white vases to the floor in front of the fireplace, but I'm not a fan of them there either.  I have a black and white framed print that didn't have a home, so I wondered if I should surround the TV with framed art to help camouflage it.  Here I have just one frame leaning on the mantel so I could get an idea of how it might look.

Since the mantel/fireplace, the windows, the TV and the chest of drawers were all rectangles, adding more rectangles didn't seem like a good idea.  I just couldn't figure out what to do there though.

Until ... I flipped open my new Ballard Designs catalog last week and came across a photo that stopped me in my tracks.  Something popped out at me that I didn't even realize I needed.  But when I saw it, I just knew it was perfect to solve my problem.  There are lots of lovely things in this photo, but all my eyes noticed were the mirrors above the armoire.

Sorry, blurry camera phone photo

They're called the Bellesol Mirror, and they come in both small (14" round) and medium (31.5" round) sizes. Wouldn't two of the small mirrors on either side of my TV be just perfect?

Immediately I cut out some 14" circles out of some crumpled Kraft paper I had lying around, and stuck them in place with painter's tape.  When The Teen came downstairs and noticed the templates, he asked me why I had tortillas on the wall.  Crazy kid.  He does not approve of my new design choice, because he'd rather the mantel/wall be plain and empty.  I'm definitely more of a minimalist than a maximalist, but The Teen is a major minimalist as far as decor goes.  Since he doesn't like anything I do to decorate our home, I just don't even pay attention to his comments any more.

I was looking through some of the 205 (!) reviews of the Bellesol Mirror on Ballard's website when I realized that the mirror panels have an antiqued look.  You don't really notice it in the photos.  I was a little bummed, since I've got more of a modern look going in our living room.  But maybe the antiqued mirrors would be a good foil to the other more modern pieces.  Balance is key, right?  Or throwing in something unexpected?

Then I had the idea to look at other websites for similar items.  A couple of the reviewers of the Bellesol Mirror mentioned a much more expensive version on another popular site, but they weren't able to use the name in the reviews.  I did find an almost-identical version at Home Decorators, at the same size, and for about the same price.  The only big difference as far as I can tell is that the HD version is not antiqued.

In the photos below, the Bellesol from Ballard is on the left, and the similar Kieran Wall Mirror from HD is on the right.  Both come with gold trim,which is not as noticeable in the photo of the Bellesol.

Don't tell The Mr., but I've ordered one of each to see which one I like better.  If return shipping were free, I would order four of each so I'd be able to go ahead and hang all the ones I like best right away.  I hate waiting!  But I'll be practical and assume I will have to pay return shipping for one, and then will order three more of the preferred version.

I still don't know exactly what I'll do on the mantel itself, but I'm guessing that with the mirrors on the wall, whatever I put on the mantel will look better layered in front of the mirrors.

Thoughts?  Hate the idea?  Love the idea?  Know of other similar products?



  1. tortillas on the wall! i really like the mirrors, i'm sure you could find something like this at homegoods or the like.

  2. I like the idea. I also, really liked the vases and the shells on the mantel. I can't wait to see what the mirrors look like. I hope it turns out like you want.

  3. What is the color of the turquoise paint that you used to redo the side table at the top of the home page? I love it!

    1. The turquoise paint I used for our nightstands is Gulf Winds by Behr. I have a new turquoise paint project I'll be revealing very soon, and it's a slightly different color. Stay tuned!

      If you want any more info about the turquoise nightstand, click on the link in the "Popular Posts" section in my right sidebar.


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