It is so fun to spend time decorating your home with holiday-specific displays. However, the pressure of redecorating your mantel when the festive season ends may be daunting. This is why more and more homeowners opt for the fireplace mantel decor that can look stylish and appropriate year-round. Here are some everyday mantel decor ideas to inspire your next design project!

How to Decorate a Fireplace Mantel

Basically, you will have to decide on what decor to choose and how to arrange it in a stylish, visually pleasing way.

One option for decorating a fireplace mantel is to hang a single large piece of artwork or a mirror as the focal point. Other popular fireplace mantel ideas include arranging candles, vases, small plants, collectibles, or family photos along the shelf. A pile of books, lanterns or woven baskets placed either on the shelf or at the bottom of the mantel will give your fireplace a lot of charm too.

When it comes to fireplace mantel decor arrangement, here are a few simple rules to follow:

  • Always utilize vertical space. This means either hanging a feature item on the wall or arranging several tall items on the shelf. Beware of filling the mantel shelf with lots of small objects – this will make the look boring and cluttered.
  • Coordinate the width of the mantel and the focal piece. The width of the focal piece plays the first fiddle in creating a visually interesting display. It should be half to two-thirds the width of the mantel.
  • When arranging your decorations, aim either for symmetry, asymmetry, or balanced asymmetry, that is creating symmetry between different objects with the same visual weight, for example, one large vase on one side and two smaller ones on the other one. Otherwise, consider layering items for added dimension.

With a little creativity, you can have a stunning yet practical mantel that fits seamlessly into your living room design. Here are some awe-inspiring ideas to try!

1. A Simple Palette. Choosing one color and incorporating it into all of your decor pieces helps your mantel feel cohesive. It also allows you to mix different styles without it feeling cluttered. This homeowner has stuck to white tones, which gives their space a sense of elegance.

Elegant White Mantel Molding and White Mantel Decor

via @edwardianelements

2. Architecture Feature. When choosing a design style for your mantel and decor, the permanent features of your living room are a key component. By using earthy colors and gold accents, the designer plays up the beauty of this natural stone fireplace.

Decor Ideas for a High Stone Mantle

via @myiowafarmhouse

3. The Small Details. Sometimes less is more, as seen in this minimalist mantel. By focusing on a few special items instead of filling up the mantel space, you give those pieces room to shine. We also appreciate that this mantel shelf is made of the same wood as the built-in shelving, which ties the area together nicely.

Asymmetric Mantel Decor Ideas

via @dawninteriors

4. Statement Florals. We love the idea of using one oversized piece, as opposed to many small items on your fireplace mantel. This homeowner has chosen a lovely floral arrangement, but you could opt for an elaborate candelabra, a sculpture you love, or one of your favorite pieces of artwork.

Round Mirror and Lush Floral Arrangement over the Mantel

via @tiatalula

5. Rustic and Warm. A wood burning fireplace is a sure way to warm up your home, and adding some rustic decor is an excellent way to enhance the cozy feeling. Here, the rough wood used for the mantel and the old shutters bracketing the fireplace create a sense of nostalgia and highlight the rustic style of the room.

Rustic Mantel with Monochrome Layered Decorative Items

via @laurenharrisinteriors

6. Gold Decor. If your goal is to make your fireplace the focal point of your living room, don’t be afraid to use the entire space. Many people decorate the mantel shelf and forget all the usable space in front of and beside their fireplace. This homeowner has done a great job tying the whole area together with the use of gold accessories.

Modern Fireplace Shelf and Hearth Decorating Ideas

via @dollhouse_interiors

7. Rustic Done Right. This beautiful wood burning fireplace looks as though it has stepped straight out of a fairy tale. From the reclaimed wooden beams to the iron rabbit and boughs laid across the top, this is a stunning example of a rustic fireplace. But be sure to move any decorative logs away before firing up your stove.

Statement Rustic Brick Fireplace with Large Firebox

via @the_whitecottage

8. Fireplace Frame. If your fireplace is purely decorative and will not be a heat source, it would make a wonderful frame. Choose your favorite large framed print, whether artwork or family photo, and set it up slightly recessed into the space. This idea works best if you don’t have small children or rambunctious pets that may knock it over.

Two Thin Shelves with Decor over the Mantel

via @leopard_print_stairs

9. Small Flames. Just because you don’t plan on heating your home with your fireplace doesn’t mean it can’t be a great spot to light a fire or two. Small ones. Instead of letting the space inside their fireplace go to waste, this clever homeowner has added some candles and plant life which looks great against the brick backdrop.

Living Room with Dark Gray Walls and Brick Firebox

via @home.thirtyone

10. Simple Fireplace Mantel Decor. Having a fireplace mantle is a dream come true for folks who love a farmhouse style. The neutral colors and organic materials that come with the farmhouse aesthetic do a fantastic job of highlighting the beauty of most fireplaces. Here you can see the simple display lets the wood of the mantel be the star.

Modern White Living Room Mantel Decor Ideas

via @suffolk_semi_detached

11. Working Around the TV. Many people like to use the wall space above their fireplace to hang their tv, which can make decorating the mantel a little tricky. In this situation, it is best to stick to simple pieces such as a vase or some minimalist candlesticks. Items that won’t distract from or hinder the view of your television. Consider getting a nice TV cover too.

Classic Mantel with TV and Decor Display on Built in Floating Shelves

via @stefanasilber

12. Smart Layering. If you choose to overlap different pieces of art, make sure they vary in height and width. The feature item should either lean on the mantel shelf or hang just a few inches over it.

Layered Fireplace Mantel Decor

via @theinspiredroom

13. Pottery Display. Instead of lining the mantel with pottery, try placing a few larger pieces on one side of the shelf. The layering of large and smaller items on the other side will help you balance the look.

Mantel Decorated with Sconces and Decor of Various Sizes

via @hoosier_hound_home

14. Large Leaning Mirror. Note how well the frame of the feature mirror goes with the molding on the walls and the mantel itself. It is also a great example of matching the size of the large object and the firebox and complementing the look with one larger and two smaller decorative items on both sides of the shelf. The use of soft tones keeps the interior design unified.

Large Mirror Matching Mantel and Wall Molding

via @kath__cooke

15. Perfect Symmetry. Use a simple mantel decorating idea with a larger decor piece and the vase at the center and two matching candlesticks on the sides, and you will easily add in a seasonal clustered collection or a festive garland every now and then. Let the round wall mirror reflect the bouquet and thus double its size.

White Living Room Walls and Mantel Painted Gray

via @homeofkirsty

16. False Brick Protruding Mantel Wall. Brick effect wallpaper is a risky DIY project that can end up looking cheap and generic. There is no doubt this experiment is among the successful ones, though. It definitely added visual interest to the room and made the arched window mirror and other mantel decor look nice.

Faux Brick Wallpaper Mantel Decor Ideas

via @ourhomecrowmere

17. Rustic Look. Having a rustic mantel design with the wood beam used for a shelf makes the statement on its own. An ancient mirror, candelabra and a clay vase complement the look exceptionally well.

Farmhouse Mantel with Rectangular Antique Mirror

via @teahousedesigns

18. Leaving Focus on the Fireplace. If you are fortunate enough to have a mantel with unique features, make it the focal point by not overcrowding it with decorations. Instead, add a simple mirror and just a few carefully chosen accents. Glass vases and candle holders can be used to create visual interest, but should not detract from the mantel’s natural charm.

Living Room Walls and Mantel for a Tiled Iron Cast Fireplace Painted One Color

via @edwardian_vignette

19. Feature Wood Pile. If your mantel is not a traditional one, why stick to traditional solutions? Here, a good stack of wood becomes the main design element. We also love how the black of the metal is supported by the artwork’s black frames. A simple Christmas mantel decoration looks cute and is not difficult to change.

Modern Fireplace Setup with a High Pile of Wood for Decor

via @twopigsonehouse

20. Modern and Minimalistic. If you aim for a minimalist interior design, there is no need to stress about decorating the mantel. Simply hanging artwork on the wall or placing a basket with wood and a throw blanket next to it is enough. A minimalistic approach can be just as visually appealing as an extravagant display! A tall low-maintenance home plant like the fiddle leaf fig will liven up the space.

Minimalist Fireplace Mantel Ideas

via @no179_

21. Cozy Cottage. You will hardly believe that this fireplace mantel is one of the DIY projects, but you are sure to agree that it makes this collage-style living room feel complete. The brick surround and thick wood shelving make a perfect constant with elegant white bust statues used for decorating the mantel.

Farmhouse Modern Monochrome Living Room Mantel Decor Ideas

via @thethriftedcottage

22. Victorian Home Mantel Decor. Classic home decor items like brass candlesticks, a mirror with a gilded frame, statues, books, and statuesque bookends help support the vibes of a traditional Victorian home. Echo the colors found in the tile of the antique iron cast fireplace insert in the mantel decor to draw attention to the original element and tie the whole look together.

Victorian Home Dining Room Mantel Decor

via @scandimummy

23. Large Painting. This mantel has been transformed with a large painting, creating a look that blends country and modern styles. Neutral items, like a framed picture and a vase, complement the artwork without overpowering it. The lovely patterned tile adds dimension to the monochromatic color scheme.

Tiled Mantel with Simple Decor and a Large Painting on the Wall

via @blossominginteriors

24. Painted Bright. Accentuate your fireplace mantel by painting the breast and legs a contrasting color. The paint job will highlight the molding and become the main feature of your mantel decoration, whether you go with classic gray or bold teal hue like in this funky interior design.

Eclectic Mantel Decor with Contrasting Colors

via @designbydesta

25. Another Window. Placing a tall frame, mirror, or piece of art on the mantel is a good way to emphasize the height of a room. A rustic window frame mirror is a great choice for a modern farmhouse mantel setup, and it will also have a dramatic impact on the perception of the whole space.

Window Frame Mirror and Matching Candelabras over the Mantel

via @vanessatonyerturk

26. Pampas Grass Wall Decor. There is so much that makes this mantel design special, from the deep wall paint color to the oversized candle holders on a tiled hearth. However, a feature pampas grass decor takes a center stage. Such a good alternative to a painting or a mirror over your mantel.

Decor Ideas for a Mantel that is not used as Fireplace

via @over_at_annas

27. Built-In Shelves with Decor Display. If your living room has built-ins on both sides of the mantel, devote enough time and effort to coordinating the decor on the shelves and keep the mantel decor to a minimum. A large TV screen, a vintage painting, or a feature mirror will nicely cover the blank wall over the mantel.

Living Room with Green Walls and a Fireplace Mantel

via @sophia.at.home

28. Layered Frames. Skipping the artwork and layering empty frames is another popular mantel decorating idea. Paint them a bright color or create a weathered look, depending on what fits your room design. The arched window frame in the example below supports the attempt to work organic shapes into the decor.

Fireplace with River Stone Mantel and Weathered Frame

via @cottageonmainst

29. Bringing in Texture. Using different textures is a wonderful way to add visual interest to your living space, and this mantel is a perfect example of how to do just that. The wallpaper, brick fireplace, wooden wreath, and seasonal fresh flowers all bring different textures to the mantel.

Neutral Fireplace Mantel Decor

via @mrsnhome

30. Decor Extending to the Ceiling. A vaulted or coffered ceiling is a beautiful design feature that often gets lost amidst the rest of a room’s decor. To keep this from happening, use your fireplace mantel to draw peoples’ eyes up. Here the homeowner has used a clock placed above the mantel to catch your attention and bring it higher. This trick can also be used in rooms with regular ceilings to make the space seem taller.

Decorating Mantel with Symmetrical Display on the Sides

via @teratak_kampung217

Regardless of the chosen design, a fireplace mantel serves as a focal point for gathering and creating warm memories with your loved ones. Consider the overall room design aesthetic and the winning examples of fireplace mantel decor arrangement, and you are sure to hit the style that will complement and enhance your space.

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Juliei Moore
Juliei is a Boston-based interior designer and a lover of all things beautiful. When Juliei is not stepping up to a new home design challenge, she is trying out some easy recipes or creating cute DIY crafts with her children.

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