As discussed in our post “How to Choose the Right Mantel Size for Your Fireplace,” the mantel is one of the most important details of your fireplace. Much of the decision comes down to aesthetics, although there are some safety considerations as well. Once you’ve designed and installed your fireplace, however, it’s time for the fun part: decorating your mantel! In this post we’ll share some ideas and inspiration for making the most of your mantel, from creating a color scheme to playing with symmetry and themes.
Get Creative with Color
A simple way to decorate your fireplace mantel is to choose a color family. The easiest design element is to decorate with colors that will stand out against the color of you mantel. For example, if you have black marble fireplace, then you might want to choose very light colors or stark saturated colors. Against a white limestone fireplace, almost any color will provide a pop of color.
Of course for every rule of thumb, there are designers that break them with elegance. One look we've been following is using an entire soft palate throughout the room against including a white fireplace - either limestone as mentioned above or if budget permits, the ultimate - a Danby Marble Fireplace. This style of design allows for a room to have many more elements without seeming crowded.
Others choose a secondary color to carry throughout all the decore. If you have a blue vase that you’d like to feature, you can add other blue items in varying shades to accompany it, such as a photo in a blue frame, a set of blue candlesticks, and a small blue sculpture. Alternatively you can choose a neutral palette for your mantel décor and then add a pop of color that complements another part of the room. Try a series of white ceramic items, including a white vase with red flowers to match the red throw pillows on the sofa.
Have Fun with Height
If you have a lot of blank wall space above your mantel, you can display items of varying heights there to create to some interest. For example, lean a tall mirror against the wall and surround it with shorter potted plants. Or try interspersing tall candleholders with shorter framed photos. If you already have art or photographs hung on the wall above the mantel, use the mantel décor to complement them, such as a garland that resembles the vegetation in a watercolor landscape.
A simple, classic look for your mantel is a symmetrical design. You can achieve this by placing identical items on either side of your mantel, such as two matching sculptures with smaller identical items in between. Or you can use different items that resemble each other either in height or style; for instance, on the right side place two tall candlesticks, and on the left side place a stack of books of the same height. Whatever items you choose, the key is to create a balanced look between the right and left sides of the mantel.
If symmetry is not your thing, you might enjoy a fun asymmetrical design for your mantel - as we've done with this modern fireplace design. For example, try layering items of different sizes on the right side, such as framed photos, vases, or candles, and then place a single statement item on the left side. When layering items, the larger items should be placed in back with smaller items staggered in front so that everything is visible.
Try a Theme
Decorating your mantel according to a particular theme is a great way to reflect your personality in your space. If you love to travel, try displaying a number of framed photos, maps, or souvenirs from your trips. If you love the beach, an arrangement of vases filled with sand and seashells will remind you of your favorite vacation spot. Antiques, animals, and books are other great themes to explore when decorating your fireplace mantel.
Who says you have to have a cluttered mantel? If minimalism is more your style, keep it simple with only one or two items—or nothing at all! This will give your room a classic, clean look, and you’ll have way less dusting to do.
If you haven't already designed your dream fireplace mantel, shop a variety of our fireplace designs or design your own!
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