3 guaranteed beautiful ways to style your mantelpiece [ideal for renters]

A mantelpiece is usually the heart of the home. It's your one opportunity to wow people when they enter the room, so if you get it wrong, or don't bother with it at all, it's a mega missed chance. 

The beauty of having a mantelpiece or fireplace which I'll go into below, is the versatility you have. Nothing has to stay the same and you can change it with some simple foliage or flowers to reflect every time of year. Winter garlands for Christmas, twigs and orange leaved branches for autumn, or a vase of peonies in late Spring. 

Below I'm sharing 3 foolproof ways you can make your mantelpiece stun people, all ideas are renter friendly too... bonus!


I'd say if you've just moved in, or if you're new to decorating and aren't as brave as you'd like to be (nothing to be ashamed of, we all have to start somewhere!) this style is a fantastic place to start. 

Choose 1 piece of large artwork that will:

a) be a talking point when people enter the room
b) be something linked to your lifestyle, background or personality
c) tie in or set the colour scheme for the room

Make sure your art work is roughly 3/4s of the width of your mantelpiece so it will anchor the fireplace and won't look too small and pathetic.

If you're renting, use 3D Command strips for nail free hanging. 

If you're strapped for cash (large works of art can be bloody expensive!) try buying the right size canvas for the wall and choose your favourite print wallpaper to paste over it and create your own work of art.

Then, add depth to the look with candlesticks, vases or trinkets that will soften up the harsh edges of the frame. 


Haven wallpaper by Feathr
120 x 100 blank canvas
Roller + tray set for pasting
Wallpaper paste


For the more experimental decorator, and ideal for people that want a new look on their mantelpiece with a more eclectic vibe, lean various sized artwork in front of each other.  

Some styling tips, to avoid your mantel looking too cluttered:

  • Begin with 1 or 2 pieces of art that add vertical height as staple pieces
  • Avoid too much redundant white space by making sure the staple art you're choosing is large enough for the mantelpiece
  • Next add square or rectangular wide pieces of art that's roughly half the vertical height of your staple piece
  • Finally, go wild on smaller pieces (stick to odd numbers, 3 or 5) and maybe introduce a circular frame or object to soften the edges


Print from Unlimited, Brighton
Art by Martin O'Neill and Unlimited Brighton
Frames in various sizes from Ikea


If you're lucky enough to have a period chandelier in your living room, this look would complete the room. A gilt or wooden ornate mirror that's large enough to fit the mantelpiece end to end gives a traditional feel without having to think too much about styling. 

The mirrors reflective elements mean that if you're in a rented flat with limited space, it'll open it up and make the room feel bigger.

I'd add traditional props with this if it's too simple for your taste. Think classic clocks, candelabras and thick garlands representative of each season. 


Mahogany framed mantelpiece mirror from Oak furniture
Gold spray paint to give the mirror a gilt effect
Newgate mantelpiece clock from Amara
Any of these looks are great, but I think the biggest tip to point out is... don't go for art or objects too small! It will look and feel a bit pathetic. You want grand and statement!

That's it. Hope you enjoyed my styling tips. 

Next post: The easy cost effective way to bring an eclectic vibe to your living room  ››

Main styled images found on McGrath2, Houzz, Savoy Home Blog, and Overmantels

If your home decoration plans are lacking something, turn to nature

Beautiful landscape art and console table from graham and brown

I'm a proud brand ambassador for Graham + Brown   which means that every month  I introduce you to Graham & Brown's home trends  offering ideas to help style your home with their range of wallpapers and home accessories.  They have spectacular ranges, all fantastic quality too - and their wallpapers are a breeze to work with.

Read about their vintage floral  Northern Rose trend, candy colour Popsicle trend,  their Precious trend and  their fun 60s Eureka trend.

This month we're looking at Horizon.  

A trend that sees tranquil colours and luxury textures introduced  inside the home. Horizon is all about  focal points in a room bringing the outdoors in and  it's  influenced by nature all around us - from lapping oceans and seaside themed interiors, to cosy wood and wicker rooms inspired by fields and forests.

Nature has a huge part to play in interior design, and if at times you're looking at a room (maybe in your own house or a clients)  feeling like something isn't quite sitting right, it's usually that there isn't enough nature inside it. Think about plants, silks, woods, wicker and texture when you're decorating and don't be afraid to add elements of outdoor detail. 

Brightly coloured meadow cushions from graham + brown

I try to introduce elements of colour and design from country walks Neil and I regularly go on. In our living room we have lots of wicker baskets and a bare brick fireplace we are soon to install a wood burner inside. Whilst in my bedroom, since it's been in the middle of a redecoration phase (see the before and after shots here) it's lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. So I've introduced these beautiful silk-like Meadow cushions to temporarily give the room more colour and life.  

They have a really beautiful piping detail of purple around the edges, and the watercolour splashes of purple and yellow remind me of evening light and country drives. 

Brightly coloured meadow cushions from graham + brown

If you're less of a country bumpkin and more of a city girl, Graham + Brown have some really iconic wall art that would suit more modern looks. From urban landscapes made from water colour to cute framed pug pictures (I love these), there's lots of ways you can bring nature in to a home if you aren't brave enough to go all out with nature inspired wallpaper. But of course, if you're on the market for a statement wall, you've got to check out the new Honolulu Palm Green print that is so on trend at the mo. 

It's National Wallpaper Week from the 5th-11th October so stay tuned for more G+B love really soon. 

Follow the fun on twitter: @NWallpaperWeek

Bedroom makeover update: we need a new bed, pronto!

You spend A WHOLE THIRD of your life in bed

Can you believe that?! Add on more if like me, you use your bed for watching telly, working from home in your pjs or reading magazines. Then we're talking at least 50% of your life in bed ;)
For the past 6 months and actually since we started redecorating our bedroom (read more about our progress here and here), I've noticed my sleep has progressively worsened. It was only slight changes at first. I woke up feeling like I'd had 2 hours sleep instead of 8. But more recently, I've been waking up periodically throughout the night tossing and turning, finding it increasingly more difficult to turn off and drift off. 
I live the least stressful life possible therefore I couldn't brush it off as just a stressful phase. So I did a little bit of digging around online and discovered my bad sleep could be down to this single factor that I thought I'd pass on to you guys in case you're having similar sleep disruption like I was. 
Seriously, I'm 90% certain this is the reason my sleep has worsened. 
And if I'm wrong? Well there's only one way to find out.

If your mattress is more than 7 years old, it could be seriously effecting your quality of sleep

I read somewhere that having your mattress for over 7 years and/or if your mattress shows signs of general wear and tear it's time to invest in a newbie. Cue alarm bells ringing. Our mattress we bought new in 2007. It's a pocket sprung dreams mattress which has served us well in terms of comfort, but more recently it's decided to make pinging noises every time I sit down on it and in places you can feel its age. I initially thought it had 2 more years in it at the very least, but it wasn't until I stopped to think about what my sleep was like this time last year, that I thought, yep, it could be down to my uncomfortable mattress that my sleep is worsening. 

So as of now folks, I'm on the market for a new, comfortable mattress, and given we spend a third of our lives in bed (or half our lives if you're anything like me!) I'm ready to make a significant investment in the mattress we choose to purchase. I stand by "buy cheap, buy twice".  

I've been googling around reading reviews to suss out which mattress is best for us. Whilst I'm tempted to opt for a pocket sprung Dreams mattress again, I just can't justify having a mattress with springs at the risk of them going all lumpy a few years in, when memory foam seems to be a much safer bet moulding to your body better than a sprung mattress - and you don't feel your other half turning around as much when you're asleep.

My googling around brought me to a lot of talk about the Eve mattress online, and even though it can only be bought from their website (you can't actually try it out before you buy) I'm really tempted to go for it for several reasons. Let me share:

1. The company only make one mattress. That means they've thrown everything they've got into making the best mattress it can be as opposed to creating variations. 

2. It comes delivered in a box. Therefore no awkwardness trying to squish a mattress into a tiny Peugeot 107.

3. It's a reasonable price. Not too expensive, but not too cheap either, and it's made with care in the UK, meaning if we were to own one, somewhere our custom has helped an independent business continue to do work they love.

4. It's guaranteed for 10 years. In your face 7.

5. It's got the happiest, sunshine yellow lining I've ever seen on a bed and simply need to wake up to this on a daily basis.

What's not to like? 

Side note: I totally love their branding. 

I'm hesitant at the fact I haven't been able to try it out first though, it's not like how I'd usually buy a mattress, to a certain extent I feel like I'm taking a punt but luckily Eve offer a 100 day guarantee so that if you don't like it, I can return it free of charge. 

So that's where I'm at on the bedroom redecoration front. I thought I'd share my thoughts on it all as buying a mattress can be a pretty big investment especially if the company you're buying from has no clear refund policy. 

I'll keep you posted on our new Eve mattress once it arrives :)

F x

Ps, how cute are my new bed sheets? They're from Bohzaar's collection which I am hooked on. I love their Moroccan / folk pattern vibes. I'll be talking about their brand more in future posts :)

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

If you saw my bedroom makeover post, you'll have seen that I've created a mini gallery wall in the centre of one of our alcoves. It was originally so dull, check out the before shots and you'll see. I needed a way to personalise the space, fast as I'm really impatient when it comes to decorating, and this totally worked and came in way under budget.

I wanted to share with you how simple it is to design something like this. You don't need to be a design guru, you don't need loads of money, and you don't necessarily need to be that handy either. If you can knock a nail into a wall, creating a gallery wall is so doable, and it's a great way to see a room come to life, fast. 

How did I do it? It required minimal amount of planning, which I'll talk you through now. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

1. Decide where you want a gallery wall feature in your home

Before I did anything else, I had a think about where a gallery wall would look best in my home. I actually chose several places, but I've began by doing this one mini-gallery to get the ball rolling. Spaces that work particularly well are:

- Above sofas, anchoring a large piece of furniture drawing the eye up

- Trickling up stair ways, making use of redundant hallway space for a homely feel

- Above console tables or chests of drawers, to balance a look.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

2. Choose a colour scheme for either the frames or the artwork you're planning to hang

So many "How to create a gallery wall" guides forget to mention this crucial factor. If you want a cohesive look, you need to consider the colours that will occupy the space. 

Take my gallery wall for example. Our bedroom colour scheme is greys, whites and violet shades. I wanted a clean look as opposed to an eclectic vibe, so chose plain white frames to sit on our freshly painted grey wall (Valspar, Summer Grey in case you were wondering).

Think about what your gallery wall is sitting above. If it's large pieces of brown furniture, like a console or a Chesterfield sofa, how can you tie in warm shades for a cohesive look? This could be achieved by mixing and matching gold antique frames or opting for brown frames mixed with several white frames. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

3. Measure the wall area of space you're working with and calculate the number of frames you might need (you can be sloppy with this, anything goes)

Once you've decided on a colour scheme for the frames, think about how many frames you'll need for it to look balanced. If it's a small space like mine, limit yourself to 3 or 4 or do the whole wall. If it's a larger space above a wide piece of furniture, measure the width and height you want your gallery wall to stretch across and make a note of this when you're looking for frames and art. Note, you can always start with 4 pieces and collect art work through the years and also note, that you don't have to have a gallery wall EXACTLY symmetrical. Part of the charm is misplacing objects and frames to form a collection. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

4. Next, the fun part, choose art / photos you love... and strongly consider any contrasting shapes you can add too

A few things to consider when you're populating your gallery wall:

- what sort of art work will look good with your space? Abstract art suits modern looks, traditional pieces work well in period properties or on textured walls like brick.

- is there any art work I currently own that would look good framed? If you have children, give them a pot of paint in an accent colour that works and ask them to finger paint a simple pattern for you to frame. Is there a CD cover you love that would look cool in a teeny frame? Be inventive and you'll save yourself lots of money when sourcing art work.

- am I choosing art that fits within my colour scheme? Choosing shades that work together or accent colours that pop in several of the images you choose will all contribute to a more cohesive end result. Yellows or navy blues work particularly well as accent shades in gallery walls. 

- what can I add that will bring a different shape aside from square/rectangle frames? Stag heads and taxidermy are your best friend here. I saw a gorge white stag head that I want to buy for when I expand and design the whole wall as a gallery corner. You could also opt for mirrors, clocks or round frames to switch up the designs. 

- order any art you're buying online (I'd highly recommend Old English Prints where I got my images from, also Artfinder have some unique budget friendly designs) and when it all arrives, put it together on the floor to see how it looks. Send anything back that doesn't work, and keep whatever does. Don't settle for things you don't love. You'll be looking at this for years to come. 

5. Source frames on the cheap

You simply NEED to get down to your local charity shop and pic up every reasonably priced frame you can find. Who cares about the print inside them, this will all be changed. 

Look for intricate detailing, play around with spray paints and chalk paints for more rustic looks. You don't have to buy everything brand new, it will cost you a fortune. 

Alternatively, if like me you're going for a minimalist frame look, get on Amazon or Ikea. Simple white frames start at about £2.50+

Once you've framed all your art, it's time to get hanging.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall
A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall
A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

6. Create a template to play around with frame layouts (without damaging your walls)

I suggest using cardboard to cut exactly around every single one of your frames or objects you're hanging, making a small hole where the nail or hook needs to be. For any fancy shapes you're adding, like my art deco mirror, cut roughly around the shape so you can get a feel for the space it will take up. 

Using white tack (NOT masking tape, it can pull off painted surfaces) pin up and play around with layouts. You're aiming to create balance whilst fitting all of your frames into the space evenly. 

Take your time with this and try out all different options. If you need help there are plenty of preset layouts you can copy on pinterest. Check out my wall art board for more inspiration and templates you can follow. 

Follow Fifi McGee's board wall art ideas on Pinterest.

7. Once you know where everything's going, use your template to start hanging

Using the small holes you made earlier as a guide, take a suitable nail and hammer through the cardboard in the exact spot. Always ensure you've checked for cables behind the wall you're hammering with a handy detector first. We bought one from Homebase (they're fairly cheap and you'll use it in every home you own).

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

8. Remove the cardboard templates, hang each frame in place and voile!

Your new gallery wall is ready for you to style, photograph and share with family and friends on facebook or whatsapp! Tell the world about your simple interior creations.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

Did you like this post? Then you'll love this. I've created a free downloadable interior class to help you define your unique home decor style.

Head over here

to read all about it and start changing your space to suit your personality.

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