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Publication Date: 2016-03-07

Design Insights

Fireplace Styling Tips from Suzanne Tucker

A fireplace is a great spot to show off personal style, allowing the combination of artwork, materials and accessories to add a bit of unique detail to a room's decor. Whether it's adding a mirror or grouping objects in odd numbers, there are designer styling tricks that can help make the design of this area more successful. And there's perhaps no better designer to turn to for styling advice than Suzanne Tucker, who recently collaborated on a collection of four new mantel designs with Chesney's, the famed maker of luxury fireplaces, inspired by her European travels and love of antiques and the decorative arts. Below, she showcases her own styling of five different fireplaces along with her advice for designing this small space.

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Photography by Annie Schlechter

"For artwork, I find it much more interesting to aim for 'cool contrast' rather than an obvious match in period or style. The seductive color palette of this contemporary work by Tobit Roche complements the mantel’s masculine Azul Valverde limestone, yet its simple abstract approach perfectly offsets the mantel’s decorative detailing. In terms of shelf accessories, uneven numbers of objects are always more interesting. To style, set them apart to give the pieces a bit of spatial tension and always look at shape and form." Above: Antibes mantel by Suzanne Tucker for Chesney’s

Photography by Pieter Estersohn

"Mirrors are always a great go-to, hung over or even leaning on a mantel. They can act as a window where there isn’t one by adding sparkle and reflecting light back into a room. A handsome set of fire tools is both practical and decorative for a often-used living room fireplace, and a strategically placed decorative box on the mantel shelf is the perfect catch-all for matches, remote controls, etcetera."

Photography by Matthew Millman

"Well-placed sconces, electrified or candle, will 'frame' your mantel vignette and draw the eye upward and inward. The organic design of a sunburst will give a strong focal point and soften a mantel’s geometric architecture. Stacked birch logs are a perfect off-season decorators’ touch, lightening up and adding interest to the 'black hole' of the firebox."

Photograph by Edward Addeo

"A mantel’s shelf is the perfect place to display a carefully curated personal collection—meaningful objects with an interesting array of shapes. A firescreen, free-standing or fixed, simple or decorative, will keep ashes and embers at bay, which is especially important when rugs are placed nearby."

Photograph by Matthew Millman

"Combine and layer textures within and around the fireplace for a more sophisticated look. The contrast between smooth stone, artwork and organic objects adds depth to the space, and lets you add a more formal or casual look to the space."

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