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Top 7 Fireplace Decorating Tips

by Michelle O'Connor

1. Whether buying one for the first time or replacing an existing one, installing a new freestanding electric fireplace does not take as much work as you think. If you don't have a fireplace mantel, consider getting one, as it will give your fireplace a more finished, polished look. You can even use a mantel in areas you don't have a fireplace as a visual showpiece.

2. The grocery store can supply a wealth of ideas. Fruits are a low-cost way to add color and quality to a mantel. Pack empty flower vases or jugs with lemons or limes. Complete fruit exhibits with a flower arrangement. Another way to add some sparkle is by placing little votive candles around the bottom of the vessels.

3. A mantel should have its own focal point. Often, a single large painting or mirror is used. If you decide to go this route, be sure the picture is not hung too high. You can also just lean it against the wall. Use two or more coordinated pieces of art to create a grouping for a different look. If you don't have a fireplace, and don't want to have one built, consider an electric fireplace as a low-cost, portable option. You can move them into any room of your home, as you please!

4. Try these seasonal changes:

Winter – add potted evergreens, pinecones and sticks from the backyard
Spring – use paper-whites, tulips, or forsythia
Summer – place a flower in each of four or five identical vases, or use pots of identical orchids
Fall – try gourds and pumpkins

5. You can spiff up your mantel with functional collectibles, whether it is flowerpots, vases, or even cookie jars. Playing cards, matches, whatever little things you may use in that room can be used to fill the flowerpots. Fill the vases with flowers, real, silk or dried. If you live in an apartment or condo, or a house without a fireplace, consider a fake fireplace. They can be inexpensive, high quality, and open up many more decorating options for you.

6. Gourd groupings are a cheerful way to enliven a fireplace mantel. Group together white gourds and white pumpkins and set out a bunch of red grapes and grape leaves in between the gourds. Then intersperse silver and glass candlesticks in varying heights with tall white taper candles in between the gourds and grape clusters.

7. Display a grouping of floral plates on your mantel. Clean out the ashes in your fireplace and fill the firebox with a large artificial fern or a basket of colorful flowers. Place twigs in tall vases and place on each side of the fireplace mantel. Don't forget about what is below the mantel! The right glass fireplace screen or screen can do wonders for your fireplace d©cor.

Michelle O'Connor is a writer/homemaker who loves a great remodel challenge. She lives, writes and
 remodels in lovely Lake Arrowhead, California. Visit her site for more home decorating ideas.

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