3 Expert Tips To Choose Mantel & Tabletop Clocks

If you're looking for an instant way to class up your home while adding some functionality, try going for mantel & tabletop clocks. They instantly add the classic look of the analog time. Plus, even in a day and age when we can check the time on our phones, it can be convenient to glance over and see the time. Read on to learn tips about choosing the best style for you.

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1. Which Styles are Best in Mantel & Tabletop Clocks?

Clocks come in a dizzying array of styles, each of which fits a certain home style. Below we'll outline the major categories in mantel & tabletop clocks and in which home styles they work best.

  • Antique clock: This is a wide category that covers any clock that looks like it's from a bygone era. Because tabletop clocks were more of a fixture in classic homes, it's common to find them with an antique look. Many clocks look like they're from the Victorian era, the mid-1800s or some may have classic nautical looks. Choose antique displays for retro, classic or rustic homes.

  • Rustic clock: Many clocks may be made to look more handmade or like they belong in a country home, often with wooden frames and distressed paint. Any country, classic or bucolic look can go with these types of clocks.

Antique Golden Table Clock
Antique Brown Metal Table Clock
Rustic Metal Analog Table Clock
Rustic Metal Twig Tabletop Clock
  • Contemporary clock: Yes, we check the time on our phones now. But a clock can fit in with more modern homes, too. These clocks tend to be made of sleek metals in stark geometric designs, often encased in clear glass.

  • Shaped clock: These encompass anything where the clock is part of a larger shape design. The clock itself may be the wheel on a larger bicycle display or the clock could be shaped like a dog for animal themes. In general, choose a shaped clock to fit a certain theme in the home.

Contemporary Rectangular Curved Tabletop Clock
Contemporary Round Blue Light Clock
Contemporary Curved Mirror LED Alarm Clock
Analog Metal Robot Shaped Tabletop Clock
Red Scale Shaped Clock
Green Tractor Shaped Tabletop Clock
  • Glass dome clock: This classic style of clock sits in a glass case, usually with a revolving pendulum near the base. They're often a bright metallic shade, usually golden. These look great in luxury or regal home styles.
Pocket Watch Glass Dome Clock
Analog Tabletop Glass Dome Clock
Tabletop Glass Dome Clock in Gold
Victorian Glass Dome Clock in Brown Wood

2. Which Materials to Choose in Mantel & Tabletop Clocks?

You also have several options for materials, each with their own aesthetic uses.

  • Metal: This is the most common clock material, often made to look antique through distressing techniques, modern if it's a sleeker style or even timeless if the design is very standard. Choose metal if you want either sleek or industrial textures in your home.

  • Wood: Wooden clocks have something of a more classic and rustic look to them, as wooden items often do. These can either be of a more distressed and handmade quality or highly polished for a regal look. Either way, choose wood for deep color and classic texture.

  • Glass: Glass is often used in regal domed clocks or modern clocks. It gives a protected and sleek look. Choose glass if you are after a lavish look.

  • Plastic: If you're decorating for a very casual space, compact mantel & tabletop clocks can be made of humble plastic.

Blue Metal Round Tabletop Clock
Metal Tabletop Clock Decorative Styled
Traditional Cherry Wood Tabletop Clock
Glass and Wood Tabletop Clock
Contemporary Digital Tabletop Clock in Black Plastic
Round Decorative Plastic and Metal Clock

3. What Are Some Features in Mantel & Tabletop Clocks?

In addition to how the clock looks, also consider some added helpful features that tend to be on more modern mantel & tabletop clocks.

  • Morning and evening lighting: These clocks have some sort of lighting feature that adjusts to match the time of day. You might wake up to a soft glow or fall asleep to a dimming light. These are advertised to match your circadian rhythm. Different colors on the clock may also match ambient humidity or aid in meditation. These are especially good for city living if you're cut off from natural light sources. 

  • Melody alarm: Like a regular alarm clock, you can program some mantel & tabletop clocks to play music at a certain time. Choose this option if you plan to use it as part alarm.

  • AC power adapter: Choose this if you want to conserve the number of batteries used. It's also good if you plan to depend on the clock and don't want it dying overnight. 

  • Calendar mode: Some clocks can display calendar functions like the day of the week. If you plan to use the clock for more than decoration, consider this feature.

  • Photo displays: Other clocks open into a booklet style to display the clock on one side and a photo on another. This is a great option for smaller tables where it makes sense to combine functionality in pieces.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.