Spruce up that space above your fireplace with these simple solutions that are easy on your wallet.
Mantel Makeover
Credit: Jean Allsopp / Styling Alan Henderson

Just as you breathe a sigh of relief that the holidays have come and gone, you look at your now-neglected mantel and decide it needs a face-lift. Is it possible to update this focal point on a budget? Associate Photo Stylist Alan Henderson shows how easy it is to stretch your dollar and create stylish arrangements.

No Nail in Sight
Here, Alan groups a large photograph with two smaller prints. Flowers complete the look. The frames are propped on the mantel, so you can swap prints without leaving nail holes.

Frame prints yourself for inexpensive art. Purchase mat board at a crafts store, and then cut it with a craft knife to fit it into a store-bought frame.

Mirror, Mirror
If symmetry is your style, here's a look for you. Start with a knockout mirror centered above the fireplace. Flank the mirror with a pair of tall bronze candlesticks.

Alan added color with candles, wheatgrass, and pretty paper. The combination is a fresh way to bring in the outdoors. Line small boxes filled with wheatgrass along the center of the mantel. Wrap paper around each box for an additional burst of green.

Balance Is Key
It's okay to move things away from the middle of the mantel. You just need to keep proportions balanced. Here, a large photograph with a simple black frame sits comfortably off-center, while a pair of vases (that don't match) complete the composition.

Fill one of the vases with a few branches from the yard. These flowering twigs give the arrangement a soft pink hue and fill the empty wallspace. A trio of short amethyst vases adds a pop of color to the scene and draws attention to the artwork.

This article is from the January 2005 issue of Southern Living.