5 Ways To Decorate Your Mantel Like An Interior Designer

The mantel can be tricky to design and decorate well. Like anything, you may have picked out the perfect accessories, but pulling it all together can be challenging. Back in 2013, we wrote a post outlining how to decorate your mantel for the fall, but this time we are going to be speaking in a more general sense on how you can make the most of your mantel.


1. Balance

There are a lot of different ways you can set up a fireplace mantel and still have it look great! With this particular layout, we see a balance of one taller, central piece, with smaller accessories around it, of varying heights, to form a sort of triangle silhouette of art.


2. Don’t Be Too Symmetrical

This rule is not universal. Maybe you’re going for something very symmetrical and clean. However, in most cases, being perfectly symmetrical does not look natural. You want to make something visually interesting above your fireplace, which may involve different accessories on each side of a centerpiece, or maybe even a main piece that is slightly off-center.


Do Not Overcrowd Your Mantel

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and this can include all the nick-nacks that you want to display on your mantel. Keep it relatively simple and clean, and try to make a statement with your elegance and simplicity, rather than a lot of big pieces crowded together. In this case, we have chosen to simply display artwork. Another option for this mantel would be to place a TV over the fireplace, because the bookshelves are adorned with other beautiful and personalized home decor.


Try Keeping it Simple

On that note, why not just go for simplicity? Try only using a few small accessories to accent your mantel, but let your fireplace and maybe some nice wall art do the talking. Taking a minimalist approach can help make your space look streamlined and less cluttered.


Put Your Personality into Your Mantel

The fireplace is going to draw a lot of eyes, meaning that whatever you have adorning your mantel is going to be making a big impression on guests. Be honest and open and add a flair of your personality to this space. This can be done with a family portrait, a photo you took, a family heirloom, or something else unique, like a salt lamp or a handmade bowl.

Decorating a fireplace mantel isn’t always easy, but once you get it right you will love the room even more! The mantel is a focal point that draws a lot of eyes, so make sure you put your best on display!

The Best Accessories to Make a Room Pop

Accessories and other small details are really what make a room come alive. Furniture and paint are great, and are the major components of a room, but it is the tiny details that pull everything together and add subtle touches of style! Garrison Hullinger Interior Design knows all about using accessories to the best of their ability, and in this blog we will be discussing how best to use these small details to really make your rooms pop!


Practical Accessories Are the Best Kind!

Here at GHID we love our accessories, but it is important to strike a good balance between form and function in your home. We believe in functional and useful accessories that serve the dual purpose of looking fabulous and also being really handy! Our designers’ favorite accent is none other than the simple decorative box! It doesn’t get much more simple than a box, and it doesn’t get much more practical either! Decorative boxes can contain the clutter of a coffee table, and then easily hide away when you need the


Use Big Pieces Rather Than a Lot of Small Ones

It is up to your personal preference of course, but here at GHID we prefer to decorate with a few carefully selected large pieces rather than a lot of small pieces. There are tasteful ways to display your collections of small items, but we prefer a simpler and more streamlined look. Our designers like to keep things in scale with the larger furniture pieces so that nothing looks out of place. The accessory has to go with everything else and not break up the theme or style of the space.


Don’t Be Afraid to get Creative!

Our designers love getting creative when they are picking out accessories, and you should too! For example, objects like books make great accessories. The term “coffee table book” doesn’t exist for nothing! Don’t be afraid to add in a stack of books to a table if the colors work well. Pieces found at antique stores can give your home a unique look too, especially if you refurbish them. Look for inspiration in unexpected places, and really bring your rooms to life in ways that will make your space stand out from all the rest!

GHID’s designers love accessories that are practical, in scale, and creative, and we think that these three tenants of design can help anyone put those finishing touches on a room that just needs a little extra something. Happy designing!

4 Essential Elements in Hotel Interior Design

1. A Lobby Designed to be Versatile

The first impression of a hotel is the lobby. Many hotels choose to stun their guests with massive atriums and eye-catching decor. While these visual factors are great, the new necessity in hotel lobby design is for the lobby to be a multi-use space available for use at any time. To support travelers of all types, a hotel lobby should feature a combination of social and more private areas for seating and work, as well as a variety of seating options, multimedia kiosks, and stunning visuals that will make a guest want to spend time relaxing and meeting in the lobby. Waterfalls, green walls, and bars can attract guests to spend more time in the lobby than in their room!


2. Technology Integration for the Modern Traveler

Even though many guests may not spend much time in their rooms, it is important to design rooms with the modern traveler in mind. Guests want to be able to utilize technology for gathering knowledge and increasing comfort, just like at home. A television and some electrical outlets just don’t cut it anymore. Digital controls over lighting and temperature, as well as ways to charge devices and connect them quicker and easier are in high demand, and all of these features need to seamlessly integrate into the design of the room itself.


3. Use Colors and Textures More Than Patterns

When it comes to designing rooms themselves (and lobbies), it is much better now to move away from the patterns of yesterday, and focus more on textures that the guests can “feel” as well as bright pops of color that really stand out and brighten up the space. Modern hotel rooms need to be less boring and more interesting, and hotels are accomplishing this by doing away with old tired patterns and bringing in the modern trends of color and texture. This also leads to some interesting and unique designs, so guests will no longer forget what hotel they stayed at!


4. Personalized Spaces to Make an Impact

When you go to a chain hotel, every room looks the same, consistently. While some guests like this consistency, personalized or unique rooms can leave a customer with a lasting memory of their stay, and consider the hotel as more than just a utility. With modern technology, hotels can track customer preferences, allowing for some great customer service when it comes to returning to the same hotel numerous times. Other hotels even have themed guest rooms! How would you like to stay in a James Bond themed hotel room?

What WOOD You Do?

Hello…it’s me…Collin Kayser. It’s been a while since I have written for the blog but I am excited to share with you some expert opinions, thoughts, and inspirations that have been on the forefront of my mind. When tasked with writing this blog, on a subject that I am familiar with, I thought long and hard on what that topic would be. Then it hit me, like a freshly milled 2×4…WOOD.

Perfectly suited for this Thursday post…a little #TBT is that I grew up in and around the lumber industry.  The smell of fresh sawdust is a scent I am all too familiar with. This post is paying homage to my past and a reflection of the present. Who doesn’t love wood? It is the backbone and support to most of our homes. However, in interior design it can drastically shape, shift, and influence the look of a project. I want to explore the use of wood in different applications with some helpful hints that can be beneficial as you embark on any future new home build or remodel.


Look Up

Using wood on the ceiling instantly makes a statement. In a vaulted space, it draws the viewer’s eyes up and enhances the drama of the room. It adds warmth and a level of structure and stability to the space. As seen in the Sandhill Crane project by GHID, the Western Red Cedar is both on the interior and exterior ceiling. Cedar has a natural occurring resistance to moisture, decay, and insects. Therefore, it is the perfect material to bridge the gap between the interior and the exterior of the home.

Helpful Hint: when using cedar, be sure to select the grade of lumber appropriate for your home and the application. The appearance of select knotty is quite different than clear vertical grain heart.


To the Left, To the Right

The use of drywall and paint has become the norm in the home building industry. Long gone are the days of wood paneled walls of the 60’s and 70’s….or are they? As a designer, it is our job to push our clients to think beyond what is comfortable. With the right architecture, setting, and client, wood paneled walls are quite stunning. Consider this: using plywood or dimensional lumber as the finished wall interior. The tone is neutral. The grain movement is interesting. The result is unexpected.

Helpful hint: consult with your painter or local paint store. Treating the wood will ensure the longevity of the material and will keep your walls beautiful for years to come.


What’s Old, is New

In recent years the use of reclaimed and distressed wood has gained mainstream popularity. Here in the PNW, we don’t anticipate this design trend losing ground anytime soon. Looking at these designs, all completed by GHID, you get a sense of the dramatic impact a single material can make within a space.

Helpful hint: when sourcing old or reclaimed wood, always make sure the wood has been inspected, dried, and rid of any rot or insects. Or look for an alternative like Better Than Barnwood, a Portland-based company that re-creates the look of old wood at a fraction of the cost.


Down Under

Lastly, don’t forget about the floor. Hardwood floors will set the tone for the home—either acting as a subtle backdrop or stunning statement. In most cases GHID designers specify pre-finished engineer wood floors. The floor is comprised of a plywood substrate with a stained real-wood veneer. From light stains to dark, high gloss to roughly textured, and narrow to wide plank widths, the possibilities of engineered wood floors are endless.

Helpful hint: don’t forget, all woods perform differently. Consider the Janka rating of the wood you are interested in. The Janka rating measures the wood’s hardness and ability to resist denting and wear.


Remember, wood is good. Don’t forget about it being an important element within your interior. If you ask yourself…”what wood I do?” and you don’t know the answer? Consult with an interior designer right away.

Happy New Year,

Collin