“I lingered most about the fireplace, as the most vital part of the house.” -Henry David Thoreau
Decorating a room with a fireplace means you have a built-in focal point for the room, and it can be both a blessing and a challenge. Put too many decor pieces on your mantel, and it will look crowded and overdone. Not enough decor, and it will look vacant and bare.
Your fireplace is a chance to draw the eye and create a beautiful display. These fireplace mantel ideas will help you get inspired. Once you choose a theme that appeals to you, look for pieces of different heights that you can layer. Don’t forget to add a bit of nature.
So which one of these mantel decor ideas appeals to you?
1. Clock Mantel Decor Ideas
The fireplace surround is the focal point of your room. So placing a large clock on or above the mantel is a natural decorating choice. To make this idea work, you need to choose a clock that is proportional to your fireplace and mantel sizes. This means that you’ll probably need a large clock.
You’ll then want to choose a clock styled to match the rest of the decor. You could choose a vintage, rustic, farmhouse, or modern clock. Depending on the clock you buy, you’ll either rest it on the mantel or mount it on the wall just above the mantel shelf.
The clock should be the central decorative object. To create a well-designed mantel, you need to create symmetry and balance. To achieve this, place other decor pieces in odd numbers on either side of the clock. This could be to vases with matching flower bouquets or candlesticks.
2. Contemporary Mantel Decor Ideas
Decorating a modern fireplace is all about restraint. Keep things clean and simple with the decor. You could even have a mantel with nothing on it. You’ll need another focal point in the room, however, because this can look quite bare.
If you have the wall space above your mantel, try hanging a large art piece that’s at least half the mantel’s width. Keep the frame and matte simple. If there is space on the mantel, you can place one item on either side of the art to frame the space. Keep these pieces smaller so they don’t distract from your art.
3. Cottage Mantel Decor Ideas
The term cottage doesn’t have to mean rustic. This is your chance to display your collection of vintage or collectible items. Porcelain or masonry jars are a perfect way to blend cottage chic with modern trends.
Locally woven baskets full of fresh flowers or greenery will liven up the space. Or if you live in hunting territory, you could have smaller antlers arranged on the mantel. If real antlers sound grotesque, you could embrace the modern trend of faux taxidermy. You can find sculptures for a wide variety of animals made out of resin, wire, or fabric.
4. Everyday Mantel Decor Ideas
While decorating your mantel for the holidays or seasons can be fun, it isn’t always practical. What would you do for August when there are no holidays and summer is ending, but it isn’t quite fall yet? Having a go-to everyday mantel decor setup is essential for this reason.
A mirror, artwork, or some other centralized piece is a perfect place to start. This will create a focal point and an anchor for you to build symmetry from.
Then frame your focal point with visually balanced decor on either side of your mantel. This could be lanterns, candles, or vases with foliage. Don’t try to do all of these ideas at once. Your mantel will look crowded and cluttered.
When choosing your decor pieces, stick with neutral colors in a style that will match the rest of your home. You don’t want to have a modern living room with country chic mantel decor.
5. Farmhouse Mantel Decor Ideas
A farmhouse living room mantel tends to have a bit more decor than the other styles on this list. This is an opportunity to layer multiple pieces to create an eclectic collection of items. The result should be a homey display that looks perfectly placed without being overly styled.
To create your farmhouse style, gather pieces of varying size and height. Try to keep with a color-uniform pallet to help tie everything together visually. Then balance the tall and short items. You could have one tall piece of decor in the middle and shorter decor pieces on either side. Or you could have two taller pieces on each end with varying shorter heights layered between them.
6. Mirror Mantel Decor Ideas
A mirror is an excellent choice for above your fireplace because it gives the illusion of increasing the room’s size. The trick to making this look work for your mantel is to choose the right mirror. Match the style of the mirror to the interior design theme you’ve chosen for your mantel and room.
A vintage room will look lovely with an ornate gold framed mirror. A farmhouse, country, or cottage fireplace might blend better with a mirror with a window frame over it. Modern fireplace mirror could have a simple frame with clean lines or skip the frame entirely.
Next, consider the size of your mirror; it needs to be proportional to your fireplace’s size and shape. An extra-wide fireplace will look better with a rectangular mirror rather than a square one. Choose a mirror that’s at least half of the mantel’s width so it doesn’t look too small.
Make sure your mirror reflects the actual room and not the ceiling or opposing blank wall. This will create visual interest.
7. Rustic Mantel Decor Ideas
Rustic mantels are similar in style to farmhouse and cottage, but a little more worn and weathered-looking. Visit antique and vintage stores for your decor pieces. Embrace the items that look well worn and have bumps and dings. They can look amazing against a stacked stone fireplace backdrop.
Look for old wood crates, milk jugs, salvaged window frames, or used metal tools. Then layer them with natural elements such as a wreath, garland, or fresh blooms. Hand-carved wood pieces can also create a rustic aesthetic. This could be handmade candlesticks or even small figurines.
8. Spring Mantel Decor Ideas
Spring is a time of new beginning and fresh perspective. Bring this newfound clarity to your mantel with bright white vases full of spring flowers and greenery. The brightly colored foliage will look beautiful with some pastel colored bird’s eggs. You could place a small nest and arrange the eggs in it. Or you could opt for a basket for something less rustic.
Finish your spring display with an inspirational message on a chalkboard or picture. Choose a message that inspires new beginnings or is spring related.
If you celebrate Easter, you could theme your springtime display around it. Include a few bunny statues. You could even create an Easter basket display to be the centerpiece of your mantel.
Finish your display by hanging a springtime wreath above the mantel.
9. Summer Mantel Decor Ideas
Transition your springtime mantel into summer by embracing the outdoors. The weather is warm, and this is the ideal time for outdoor activities. Bring a little of this inside by decorating your mantel with locally inspired outdoor features.
If you live somewhere near the water, try a nautical theme. You could place shells in a clear glass vase or bowl. Then artfully place driftwood, candles, sea glass, and a candle lantern. Place a large mirror behind all of it with a clean white frame trimmed with a rustic nautical line.
For those that don’t live near the water, consider a patriotic summertime display. Incorporate red, white, and blue into your fireplace mantel decor. You could place an American flag wall hanging made from reclaimed wood planks. The weathered boards give your display a rustic and farmhouse feel. For something a bit more glamorous, try silver or gold candle holders with red, white, and blue candles.
10. Fall Mantel Decor Ideas
When it comes to fall mantel decor, you have some options. You could choose to embrace fall decor that embraces the fall harvest. Or, celebrate Halloween with pumpkins, cobwebs, and spiders.
Either way, you’ll be right on theme with the season. Your fall mantel can express what you love about the season. If you decide to go with a fall harvest theme, a cornucopia will look beautiful as the focal point of your display. Fill it with hardy vegetables and seasonal fruit.
When looking for mantel decorations with a Halloween theme, don’t let yourself fall into a tacky or cheesy look. You don’t want your mantel to look like the seasonal Halloween store threw up. Instead, look for artful pieces that give the impression of spookiness. Try baroque candle holders, elegantly draped faux chains, black foliage, cobwebs, and vintage busts. This will give your mantel a spooky mansion feel.
11. Winter Mantel Decor Ideas
The most popular winter mantel decor ideas are a Christmas mantel or a winter wonderland theme. Both of these embrace the season by highlighting the things that we love the most.
A Christmas mantel is not complete without stockings. Choose one for each member of your family and then hang them from stocking hooks. You could then choose decor pieces that celebrate your version of Christmas.
Maybe you have a pair of mini Christmas trees on each end of the mantel, or a family of reindeer statues carefully placed throughout. You can’t go wrong with some garland and twinkle lights, either.
If you’re looking for something a little more seasonal and less holiday-specific, aim for a winter wonderland theme. You could have poinsettias in white, a white wreath, or some snowmen statues.
12. Vintage Mantel Decor Ideas
To create a vintage fireplace mantel, visit antique shops looking for elegant pieces. Stick to more upscale pieces, or you risk your fireplace looking more rustic than vintage. A mirror with a gilded frame is the perfect vintage centerpiece for your display.
Other pieces you can add for vintage flair are silver service trays or gold candlesticks. Stick with candles that are long and skinny. Then balance the metal with a vintage painting of a portrait or still life. Then you can place fresh flowers in a porcelain vase, pitcher, or other serving china.
13. White Mantel Decor Ideas
White will never go out of style, and using white mantel decor will ensure your fireplace has timeless style and elegance. It’ll also make it easier to decorate the rest of the room. If you don’t want the mantel to be the focal point, then consider using white as your decor theme.
When choosing white decor, try to choose different textures. This will help differentiate the decor and keep it from blending into a wall of white. Consider balancing the white with other neutrals. You could include wood or woven baskets. Another option is to place grains such as wheat in a vase instead of colorful flowers.
Mantel Decor FAQs
DIY my mantel decor?
Yes, you can! The best mantel decor displays are the ones that reflect your family’s personality and blend with the rest of the living room. If you’re crafty, displaying your artwork on the mantel is a perfect way to enjoy your hobby and decorate your mantel. You could place your painting or photography in a picture frame. Or you could use your pottery as a vase.
What if my fireplace isn’t in my living room?
You can still use these fireplace mantel ideas to decorate your fireplace. No matter what room your fireplace is in, it’s the focal point of the room. Decorate it as such. If you have more than one fireplace, you could get creative and have a different decor theme on each mantel.
Do I need to change the fireplace mantel decor with the seasons?
You don’t have to, but it’s nice to change the decor with the seasons. It adds a touch of festive flair to your home. If this sounds like too much work, you could always choose one or two holidays to tackle. This will limit the amount of work required to change your decor and the amount of space required to store it all when it’s not in use.