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Originally published June 28, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Page modified July 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

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A summer mantel makeover in 15 minutes

Your mantel display is the eye-catching focal point of the room, so trick it up for the season.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Celebrate the season by giving your mantel a 15-minute summer makeover. Your mantel display is the eye-catching focal point of the room, so trick it up for the season. But don’t spend much time. Light and breezy — and super-simple — is the name of the game when it comes to summer decorating. That way, you can get outside and enjoy the sun.

Keep it simple: Soft and serene, an asymmetrical display can be intriguing yet delightfully simple. For the mantel makeover shown in the accompanying photo, we started by creating a strong visual element on the left side.

Pillar candlesticks were the perfect pick. They bring in arresting height, yet, because they are clear glass, they don’t overwhelm. Together, the three of them make a statement.

For the right side, use a collection of visually diverse elements to create an arresting tapestry that is also very simple. To give our display some movement, we needed a riser to prop up a few accents. So we stole two books from our bookcase, turning them backward so only the vanilla pages showed.

We echoed the clear-glass-and-white color palette established by the candlesticks through the first two accents in our montage: a white figurine and a clear glass paperweight. I love a pop of color to shake things up in these monochromatic displays, and we achieved that with maidenhair ferns.

No need to start from scratch: You don’t have to clear your mantel and start new when you decorate it for summer. You can just tuck a few seasonal elements into an existing display. That’s what I do at home. I have a few pieces I keep on my mantel year-round, like a pair of antique altar candlesticks.

I’m smitten with these garish candlesticks, maybe because I grew up Catholic and they connect me with my roots, so I like to have them out all the time. But they’re a bit heavy for summer. So I lighten things up by mixing in ferns inserted into white, simple pottery cachepots.

The right side of my mantel features a few of my other perennial favorites: wooden boxes from my collection and a figurine given to me by a dear friend. I lightened the look again with two plants — a fun, twisting topiary and a fluffy fern.

Now for the hard part: remembering to water the plants.


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