Nothing adds as much substance to your living room as a well-placed fireplace. Whether it’s real or faux, it creates a focal point in your home. Thus, the rest of your home decor depends on how you design your fireplace mantel.
However, coming up with top-notch decor ideas is easier said than done. The fireplace must not only match your vision, but also the rest of your house. Luckily, your options are practically limitless – you just have to find the perfect fit.
In this article, we’ll showcase some of our favorite fireplace mantel ideas to redecorate your room. They will help you find the perfect style for your mantel, no matter what you’re looking for.
Fireplace mantel ideas
Keep it simple
Image source: Gilmore Design Studio
Mantel decor doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you have a fireplace that already stands out, the best you can do is to let it shine on its own. Adding any more decorations would just oversaturate the look. Consider adding just a few mirrors and tiny sculptures on the top. The fewer objects you place, the more your mantel will stand out.
Combine white and gray to create a modern feel
Image source: KATIE HODGES DESIGN
Nowadays, being modern is all about contrast. The best way you can achieve this is by fitting a marble mantel inside a black stone fireplace. The rest of your home decor should use a similar palette to further accentuate the contrast. Consider placing candlesticks and photos on the fireplace mantel as a neat finishing touch.
Take the contrast to the next level
Image source: Chalet
You can go all out with the contrast. If you have a light living room, add a pitch-black mantel. This will give off an air of contemporary elegance. On the contrary, use a white mantel if you have a black living room. A stark contrast is a very popular design element, and you can never go wrong with it.
Let the art speak for your mantel
Image source: David A. Land
Instead of stuffing your mantel with items, make it a blank canvas. Decorate it instead with paintings, pictures, or other forms of art you like. Painting the area around your mantel can have an illusory effect, making your living room appear taller than it is.
Don’t be robotic – symmetry isn’t always the answer
Image source: STACEY BRANDFORD
When it comes to decorating fireplace mantels, many people place all objects into the center. We all tend to lean towards symmetry simply because we believe everything must always be organized.
However, rules don’t apply in design. Shifting a painting or a sculpture a bit to the right can pull focus to a nearby armchair or another fixture. Don’t be afraid of using asymmetry to your advantage.
Combine neutral colors with intricate textures
Image source: SARAH DORIO
Bold colors aren’t the only way you can make your fireplace mantel stand out. Sometimes, a unique texture can be more powerful than vibrant colors. Consider using muted, earthly colors with an interesting texture to build an unforgettable focal point in your cozy living room.
Split your decorations into layers
Image source: HELEN NORMAN
Layering your decorations adds substance to your fireplace mantel. You can layer the objects based on several factors such as height, color, and texture. For instance, you can place tall black vases behind small white ones. You can then add flowers to add a touch of nature to your home.
Candlesticks go surprisingly well with fireplaces
Image source: Get It Together
A fireplace is already designed to generate heat and light. Why add candles? Although it may seem a bit too much, candlesticks will look spectacular on your fireplace mantel. You can experiment with different widths and heights to find out what looks great on your mantel. Don’t forget to try out different colors too.
Match your fireplace mantel decor with other elements in your living room
Image source: JOHN BESSLER
When designing your fireplace mantel, you shouldn’t stray too far away from the colors of your living room. If you have a dark wooden floor, consider adding a picture framed in a similar material. And if your sofas and armchairs use hushed, earthly tones, stay away from loud, vibrant colors.
Create a rustic mantel
Image source: Dura Supreme Cabinetry
Although modern-style living rooms have their charm, they’re not very unique. Why not draw inspiration from the past? You can create a vintage, rustic mantel by decorating it with antique clocks and books. You can also add a sepia picture above it to truly capture the rustic look.
Build seasonal decorations
Image source: JD’s
Depending on where you live, the world doesn’t remain the same. As the seasons change, so does the look outside your window. On the other hand, your interior design remains static. But it doesn’t need to be. Consider decorating your fireplace mantel based on the current season.
In the spring, you can use vibrant, floral patterns to mimic the blooming flowers. And in the fall, you can add colorful leaves and pumpkins to reflect the world outside. And during the holiday season, you can go with Christmas decorations.
Combine contrasting wood stains
Image source: Emerald Coast Real Estate Photography
If you have a dark mantel, consider decorating it with light objects. Contrasting wood stains look great since they make one another stand out. When you experiment with different looks, you sometimes run into a brand-new design idea.
Add more lighting above your fireplace mantel
Image source: KIM CORNELISON
While your fireplace may produce a lot of light, it shines just ahead. This can leave the top of your mantel in a shadow. Luckily, you can add lighting above it to further accentuate your decorations. The design of your lighting is up to you, depending on whether you’re going for a modern or a traditional look.
Place a TV above your fireplace mantel
Image source: Nukitchens
Another popular trend is placing a wall-mounted TV above your fireplace mantel. This further enhances the focal point since people now have even more reason to look that way. If you don’t have enough space, you can place it next to the fireplace instead.
Place a clock above your fireplace mantel
Image source: AMI Design
Although checking the time is often within a phone’s reach, clocks don’t just measure the time – they look spectacular as well. Placing a clock above your fireplace mantel is another great way to draw focus to it. This is easily one of our favorite mantel decorating ideas, especially for traditional-style houses.
Put books on your fireplace mantel
Image source: ANTHONY MASTERSON
If you’re someone who likes to read a lot, you can display your passion by lining your fireplace mantel with books. You can go full beauty or full practical, choosing books with beautiful covers or ones that you like reading the most. Whatever you decide, you’ll end up with a charming fireplace mantel.
Showcase your favorite collection
Image source: SARAH DORIO
Fireplace mantels are the perfect spots for displaying your passions, including collections. Whether you collect antique decorations or thematic merchandise, you can display it here. It’s also a great way to give your living room an aesthetic direction if you’re just starting to decorate.
Add fake plants
Image source: GREG SCHEIDEMANN
Having greenery in your home is always neat. However, it can be a handful to take care of. Luckily, you have an alternative that comes with little to no maintenance. Fake vines and garlands are perfect to put on your fireplace mantel, especially when paired with statuettes and other decorations.
Place a statement mirror over your fireplace mantel
Image source: Rill Architects
Mirrors are perfect to put above fireplace mantels. Their reflection makes the room appear larger, making them excellent for small, cramped spaces. However, you’ll have to wipe it regularly since glass collects dust quickly.
FAQs on fireplace mantels
What is a fireplace mantel?
Over a hearth, a mantel serves as a decorative surround or shelf. Its primary purpose is to frame the fireplace and draw the eye around the space.
What materials are used to make fireplace mantels?
Wood, stone, metal, and even plaster are all viable options for fireplace mantels. The fireplace’s design and the homeowner’s personal taste will dictate the material used.
How do you choose a fireplace mantel?
The homeowner’s own taste, the type and size of the fireplace, and the room’s décor should all be taken into account when selecting a fireplace mantel. There is a wide variety of styles for mantels, from plain to elaborate.
How do you install a fireplace mantel?
The time and effort required to set up a mantel for a fireplace will vary with the mantel’s make and material. Putting up a mantel usually involves some basic woodworking or masonry skills, as it is usually affixed to the wall with brackets or screws.
What are some design ideas for fireplace mantels?
Natural materials like wood or stone, ornamental molding or trim, and contrasting colors are all great ways to make a fireplace mantel the focal point of a space.
How do you decorate a fireplace mantel?
The process of decorating a fireplace mantel can be rewarding for the imagination. The mantel is a great place to showcase seasonal decorations like wreaths and garlands, as well as more permanent pieces of decor like vases, candles, and picture frames.
Can a fireplace mantel be used without a fireplace?
A fireplace mantel can be utilized for decoration even if there is no working fireplace. Even if it doesn’t serve any practical use, it can offer aesthetic value by drawing the eye.
How do you clean a fireplace mantel?
The best way to clean a fireplace mantel is going to be dependent on the materials used. Most mantles can be cleaned with a gentle cloth and some light soap and water. Don’t use anything that could scratch the mantel, including an abrasive cleanser or tool.
Can a fireplace mantel be painted or stained?
A fireplace mantel can be stained or painted to suit the tastes of the homeowner and the interior design scheme. The mantel should be painted or stained with a product made for its particular material.
How much does a fireplace mantel cost?
A fireplace mantel’s price will reflect its construction materials, dimensions, design, and any extras included (such as ornate molding or carvings). The cheapest models cost a few hundred dollars, while the most expensive might cost several thousand.
Our final thoughts on fireplace mantel ideas
These fireplace mantel ideas are the perfect jumping-off points for creating your dream living room. You don’t have to select a single idea and stick to it religiously. Instead, we encourage you to combine the ideas and principles to create your special design.
If you liked this article about fireplace mantel ideas, you should check out this article about fireplace hearth.
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