How to Style a Fireplace Mantel

If you have a fireplace in your home like I do, you know that styling the mantel can be one of our biggest decorating challenges. The fireplace is often the focal point of a room, so bringing it to its full potential can enhance the entire space. But most mantels are only a few inches deep, so how can we pack a lot of style into that small space? Today I’m sharing four elements of a well-styled mantel.

1. Focal point

A strong focal point will draw attention and encourage the eye to linger on the mantel. A large mirror or piece of art can add drama to the look, and set the tone for the mantel or even the whole room. In the photo below, Mark D. Sikes uses a piece of art in a large black frame to anchor his design.

Image via House Beautiful. Design by Mark D. Sikes. Photography by Amy Neusinger.

2. Layers

Placing objects in front of one another adds depth and interest to the design. Here, Edie Wadsworth has leaned artwork and nestled objects together to create a three-dimensional display that keeps the eye moving. She even added a layer below the mantel by hanging a fun paper garland there.

Image via Edie Wadsworth.

3. Various heights

Using objects of various heights draws the eye up and gives an overall shape to the design. Emily Henderson is a master of styling, and her mantel deigns never disappoint. Here, she experiments with height by using everything from a tall ladder to a tiny shoe. The group of candles echoes the larger height pattern.

Image via Emily Henderson.

4. Balance

Balance can be achieved through symmetry, but also through asymmetry, as we see in the photo below. Anya from Elegantly Untamed uses symmetrical objects on the wall, but changes things up on the mantel. She disperses the visual weight of her objects to create a pleasing composition with perfect balance.

Image via Elegantly Untamed.

All of these mantels helped to inspire my own design:

I recently ordered that darling pineapple in gold foil from Riley Jean Creations on Etsy. Its green frame is another Etsy find from Signed & Numbered. The other items are things I’ve collected over the years. Now I just need some pretty birch logs in the fireplace, don’t you think?

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