I'm learning to work around what I first considered the black hole in our living room. The dark fireplace brick paired with the dark wood built-ins and trim in this room just felt so heavy after having white walls and trim in our last two houses. However, if I've learned anything from moving three times in four years it's that you can be unhappy with your space or you can make the most of it. There's usually something you can add, take away, or distract from in order to make your space feel more like you.
If we owned our home I would have painted the brick and trim white immediately. It would've brightened up the whole space and made it feel more modern. My only other option was to work with what I had and let it influence the way we decorated a bit. One day it hit me that I might be able to remove the brass fireplace screen. It just screwed in to the sides and once it was off I was able to fill in the fireplace with wood. It doesn't work so it's just decorative. It suddenly changed the whole look of this space!
I wanted to keep bright colors on the mantle in order to lighten things up so I chose to put the largest mirror we had up there and added vases with a little color that went with the dark brown. The 'IN' is part of the old 'NICE' and adds some height to the composition. The brownie camera under the bell jar belonged to my grandparents and the Royal typewriter added color, interest, and something heavy enough to keep the mirror from accidentally slipping off the mantle! The print is from Ashley G., the shiny owl is from Hobby Lobby, the muted owl was thrifted and spray painted, and the garland was a project I made with the kids.
Instead of using a lot of orange and red, which would warm this space up too much for my taste, I've gone with a white color scheme with some touches of yellow and blue. The decor will probably change a bit once we hit October. I've got some spooky garlands in the works and would love to have some bright yellow aspen leaves on branches incorporated somehow.
Even though we have some restrictions because we rent I'm really thankful we have a mantle in this home. I love bringing in seasonal elements to remind us to enjoy the present moment and the time we have together in this new state. Now, if only we could get that fireplace fixed we'd be in ski lodge heaven!
What kind of restrictions do you have in your space? What are some ways you can add, take away, or distract from what you don't love?