20 Fireplace Mantel Styling Ideas With Serious Flair
In the wintertime, a toasty fire is a thing of beauty. But even when a fireplace is unlit, it can act as a striking focal point and should be decorated accordingly. Click through for our top 20 fireplace mantel styling ideas.
Go symmetrical. In his library, designer James Davie went for an eye-pleasing symmetrical arrangement, anchored by a gilt Federal mirror to complement the formal tone of the room.
… Or work off-center. An asymmetrical arrangement is trickier to achieve, but offers an interesting look. Choose a central piece — in this case, the white-framed mirror — and layer pieces in front that have different heights and widths.
Choose a theme. In this historic Niagara-On-The-Lake house, an intricately milled mantel provides the perfect setting for a vessel-themed display. Two 19th-century Irish crystal compotes flank a still life by artist Bobbie Russon.
Define the color palette. In this upstate New York retreat, the tonal browns and golds unify a seemingly disparate collection of pictures, trinkets and signage and work with the greige tones of the fireplace surround.
Display found objects. The fireplace mantel is the perfect spot to display your beachcombing finds. At the Ontario cottage of the owners of Toronto design shop Mjölk, the fireplace shows off an assembled collection of interesting sticks.
… Or a collection. If you’re an avid collector, why not show off your treasured finds in a curated and organized manner on your mantel?
Light candles. During the harsh winter, there’s no such thing as too many candles! Bring some of the light from the fire up to the mantel with a style arrangement of classic glass votives and hurricane lanterns.
Play up the architecture. In TV exec Alix Jaffe’s L.A. home, the Moorish niche over the fireplace takes center stage and sets the tone for the decoration. Egyptian-inspired statues and a stark limestone mantel tie into the look.
Think simple. If you have an intricate fireplace or surround, like this rough-hewn stone one, it’s best to let that sing. Keep things uncomplicated with a sole piece, such as a graphic modern art or a model sailboat, depending on your style.
Go au naturel. A dramatic dark blue mantel and surround is softened with a garland of dried orange slices, gathered leaves and a wasp’s nest.
White it out. If you have a particularly special piece of art you’re dying to show off, painting out a fireplace’s surround and mantel will let it shine brightly. Add a few accessories to complete the look and keep it from feeling unfinished.
Create vignettes. If you have an eye for little treasures, corral them into little groups (odd numbers work best) and vary the levels and heights of the objects to accommodate the wandering eye.
Place art everywhere. This maximalist fireplace, inspired by the Bloomsbury Set, acts as a gallery wall for design editor Kai Ethier’s eclectic collection of creative pieces. The key to getting this look right is to find some common threads — the orange and blue shades of the pottery pieces, for example — and letting that be the undercurrent.
Keep things small. Play with proportions a bit: an imposing fireplace like this one needn’t be topped with equally grandiose artwork and accessories. A grouping of small butterfly prints and a smattering of objets is an unexpected choice but very welcome.
… Or go oversized. Alternatively, make a big statement and style your fireplace with oversized pieces. A mod convex mirror and bulbous vase strike just the right note.
Create zones. If you have an expansive mantelpiece, think about creating distinct zones. Here, some plush oversized cushions on one side of a low mantelpiece creates a sitting area while sculptural birch logs create a rustic moment on the other.
Switch it up. Designer Colette van den Thillart made the most of the grand scale of her fireplace with a towering mirror and an equally impressive rotating gallery of artwork. Even just changing the placement of a few stalwart pieces can keep things feeling new.
Think up! Instead of topping a mantel with the expected mirror or framed artwork, why not try a wall-mounted sculpture? This salvaged pine mantel gets an update thanks to a quirky wall-mounted ram’s head sculpture.
Go green. Make the most of the season’s bounty and display a sculptural vase full of fresh flowers or plants.
Keep it casual. Downplay the formal nature of a gilt frame by leaning it casually atop the mantel and paring it with a piece of modern art. Highlighting it with an articulating sconce adds to the glam setting.