The mantle is the natural focal point in any room featuring a fireplace.
It is also one of the areas in a home that our customers find to be more difficult to decorate. The combination of space limitations, navigating the stonework, and the challenge of getting the look just right makes tackling mantle decorating a bit daunting.
We polled our design team and came up with a list of tips and tricks to take your mantle from an ordinary spot for collecting dust to an extraordinary place to express your unique style.
Read through the list and decide on the look that feels right for your home. It’s easy to combine the different approaches to really make your mantle pop!
Find décor with different shapes, textures, and sizes. This provides a visual contrast that increases interest. The mantle shown is set with a large wooden charger, a statue, two metal vases, and a beautiful kilim runner. There are complimentary tones and textures in each piece intermixed with contrasting colors and materials.
Quick tip: Don’t forget the backdrop! Each piece was carefully selected to highlight the colors of the stone in the fireplace without blending in too much. You don’t want your décor to get lost.
Finding a visual center point. Your décor and art choices should find balance. This doesn’t mean they have always be the exact same. You can use different items that have similar size and scale to match sides. The picture shown is the definition of a symmetrical setting. Notice how the large American Flag art is framed by two lamps with pine greens running the length to add a common foundation.
There is nothing quite like a big, bold piece of artwork to make a statement on a mantle. You can change the feel of the entire room with this one choice. The painting in the picture shown sets an immediate mood. Think through the feeling you want to generate in your space. Do you want it to be relaxed and fun? Choose something with a pop of color and a dash of whimsy. Look for peace and quiet? A calming nature themed art choice should do the trick.
Quick Tip: Notice how the red flowers laying across the mantle match the flowers in the girl’s hair. This is a conscious, yet subtle, choice that ties the different elements together.
One approach to decorating a mantle is to harness the power of visual harmony. You can choose a series of the same objects and repeat them across the mantle. The antlers in the photo are a perfect example. They keep common subject matter but also allow for a mixture in placement and setting. Also notice how they keep with the theme of the large elk antler chandelier without distracting from its beauty and its function as the room’s focal point.
Bringing a bit of the outdoors inside is one of the best ways to add color and atmosphere to your room. Florals and greens are easy to weave and intermix throughout the mantle’s decor. The photo really shows how greens can even be used as the feature element. The small clock adds the finishing touch and breaks up the pine sprigs and yellow berries just the right amount.
Quick Tip: Don’t forget us utilize all the wonderful options that florals and greens give you for changing the look of a room for the seasons. You can rotate spring flowers, summer greens, fall leaves, and winter pine boughs and pine cones and keep your décor the same. It’s amazing how new and fresh it can make a room feel.
Lamps, string lights, or sconces can create cozy warmth, even when the fireplace isn’t going. Make sure to be aware of how the light shade or sconce cover looks when the light is on and off. Also keep to lower wattages with lighting choices for mantles. The light shed should highlight the textures and colors of your complimentary décor. Lights that are too bright can create a washed out effect.
Quick Tip: If you have the chance when buildering or remodeling, place outlets on the left and right sides right above the top of the mantle. Another popular option, as the picture shows, is to place sconces on each side.
We hope you’re feeling ready to tackle your next mantle decorating and we would love to hear your questions, thoughts, or shared tips!