Living Room Extras

Add personality to your room with mantels, bookshelves, and wall art.


Hi, I'm Jennifer Kopf, Home Editor at Southern Living. To create a comfortable and beautiful living or family room, planning and placing furniture in the space is a critical first step. Then, once you have it all in place, it's time to add the personality. The three easiest outlets for this are mantles, bookshleves, and additional wall art. There are no rules to follow so feel free to layer as much or as little as you like. The fireplace is often the focal point in your room, especially if you have a roaring fire. No matter what the season, the mantle always deserves extra consideration. When decorating your mantle, start with a large item as a base. A mirror, either leaning or hung, not only provides something pretty to look at, but also adds a sparkly reflection of the light in the room. The space about the mantle is also an ideal place to display your favorite piece of art. Its star location ensures that it gets noticed and appreciated often. After your base is in place, layer additional smaller pieces of art and accessories along the mantle. Your arrangement doesn't have to be symmetrical or static. Add new items as you find them, to make your display a true reflection of you and your style. [MUSIC] Also, don't forget about the fireplace in the off-season. Try filling it with pretty white birch logs for a light Summer look. [MUSIC] Full book shelves add more of the uniquess to a room, but getting the arrangement right can be challenging, whether located along a wall, flanking the fireplace, or tucked in the corner, built-ins offer a great place to display your favorite books, accessories, and photographs. If you don't have built-ins, a free standing book case or a grouping of hanging shelves are a great stand-in. Start by filling your shelves with what they were intended for, books. For a clean, more uniform look, group them in like sizes. [MUSIC] To create a more interesting display, stack some books horizontally and others vertically and vary the placement of the books from shelf to shelf. After you've placed all your books, start layering other items. Place intersting objects on top of stacks. Use heavier items as bookends and fill in empty shelves with collections. It's a bit of trial and error so just keep moving things around until you like it. If you want to layer more, you can even hang a framed photo or piece of art on the outside of the shelves. You can also be creative with the shelves themselves. One way is to paint the back of the shelves an accent color. Using a dark color such as black will make your books stand out even more. If the shelves are in a casual setting. Add some whimsy by decoupaging the back of the shelves with pages of old books. The finishing touch to your room is the artwork. Whether paintings or photographs what you hang on your wall should be a reflection of you. Don't worry if a piece is good enough or will look right in your room. Collect things that you love. Having them in your living or family room will continuously make you and others happy. [MUSIC] The space above your sofa is usually a big blank wall. And therefore a perfect place to hang art. Rather than hanging one large framed piece Try an arrangement of several different items. To make the process a little easier, make paper patterns of everything you want to hang. Then using easily removable tape, move them around on the wall until you get the arrangement just right. You don't need a large wall to show case art. A painting is the perfect way to add visual interest to a dark corner. Of if your window treatments are solid, consider hanging something between two windows. Look at all blank walls as gallery opportunities. Group pieces above furniture or devote an entire wall for your display. Remember, your artwork doesn't have to be expensive. A collection of family photographs can the best art of all. Combine various shapes and sizes of frames, but keep the style and color similar to give the arrangement a cohesive feel. For more ideas on how to bring more style to your home. Pick up a copy of Southern Living magazine and visit
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