Skip to content
How To Decorate A Mantel

How To Decorate A Mantel

How do you decorate a mantel? Is it really that complicated? The mantel is a shelf or ledge at the top of a fireplace, which holds decorative objects such as candles, figurines, and other items.

How To Decorate A Mantel

In addition, mantels come in various sizes, shapes, and designs. They can also be customized to fit your home decor.

Decorating a mantel is fun to add personality to your living room. It can be as simple as adding a candleholder or as elaborate as installing a chandelier.

The key is to choose items that will complement each other while making the visual impact you desire. 

Below are some tips for decorating a mantel.

Decorating Your Mantel: Tips

Start by finding out what size mantel you have. Are you using a traditional firebox-type mantel or an insert-style mantel?

If you have an insert, determine whether you want the mantel to stand alone or rest on a wall. You can customize this feature based on your available space.

Decide if you want a full mantel or a half mantel. Full mantels include everything from the base to where the mantel meets the ceiling.

Half mantels leave part of the mantel or incorporate lighting into their design. For example, a lighted mirror could serve as a half mantel.

Select your favorite style and color scheme for your mantel. Choose neutral colors such as white, cream, gray, and black.

This is because these colors work well with any decor. Try to keep materials consistent throughout your home.

This means choosing only one type of material for your mantel. For example, use only glass vases or just candlesticks.

Choose appropriate accents for your mantel. Place them away from the center of it, so they don't compete visually.

Use large accent pieces such as mirrors or vases. Smaller accents like pictures or framed artwork can go next to the mantel.

Add a finishing touch to your mantel. For example, add a light fixture to create ambiance or brighten dark corners. Or place a clock or seasonal object to make the mantel unique to your home.

Interior Design Tips

To design a focal point around your fireplace, try placing a larger piece of art that draws attention toward the hearth.

Keep in mind that the mantel should not dominate the room. Instead, let the furniture and accessories help define the area.

Furniture placement around the fireplace should flow naturally. Avoid crowding the furniture around the hearth.

Allow enough distance between the fireplace and furniture. This gives the space more breathing room.

If you're using an insert mantel, select a small piece of art that complements the room's decor.

For example, a painting might work well in a country home setting but would look too big in a contemporary setting.

Also, using a small piece of art makes it easier to move the item when cleaning up after guests.

When designing a tableau, consider including several elements. Mix different styles and patterns to give a cohesive whole.

In doing so, you'll keep visitors interested and increase the chances that you will sell your property.

Focal points must be kept clear and prominent. Select a focal point that shows the best view of the fireplace without dominating the room.

Once you've settled on a spot, ensure that all others in the room complement and support it.

Keep clutter around the fireplace to a minimum. Guests may feel uncomfortable sitting near piles of books.

Put personal items like blankets and throw pillows on chairs surrounding the fireplace. Be sure to remove these items before cleaning furniture and drapes.

Determine if you need a mantel at all. If you have a solid wall behind your fireplace, there is no real reason to build a mantel unless you are trying to add height to the room.

Otherwise, a mantel provides an excellent opportunity to display family photos, collectibles, or other memorabilia.

Use the smallest size mirror possible to maximize space under your mantel.

However, small mirrors can also reflect heat back onto the walls and ceilings, creating discomfort. Ideally, choose a mirror that reflects natural light and does not cast shadows.

Place candles away from the edge of the mantel to avoid hot wax dripping down the side. If this happens, clean up immediately to prevent damage to furnishings and draperies.

Warnings About Fireplace Safety

The chimney is an essential part of any fireplace. It carries smoke, fire, ashes, and sparks out of the house and into the atmosphere.

The chimney must be properly constructed and installed. Do not block the opening with anything.

Check the flue frequently for signs of leakage. Replace or repair damaged parts as soon as possible.

Never use lye-based products (like wood stoves) inside the fireplace. These products can cause severe burns. 

Be careful storing matches and lighters near the fireplace. They could easily blow into the flames, causing a fire.

How To Decorate A Mantel

Always leave children and pets far away during the operation of the stove. And never use the fireplace while smoking.

Smoking creates carbon monoxide, which may cause brain damage or death. Follow all fireplace safety rules.

Mantels come in many shapes and sizes. Choose one that fits into your style and budget. Then, with some creativity and imagination, you can make almost any style work for your home.

How To Decorate A Living Room

Mantels typically have two purposes: aesthetics and utility. While they may play a role in both categories, they are most often used solely for decorative value.

A mantel is a long horizontal shelf placed above a hearth or over a fireplace. Its primary purpose is to hold our homes' warmth, beauty, and history.

But, whether a new construction or a remodel, a mantel adds more than just aesthetic appeal; it serves an important function too.

As we now know, a mantel is a shelf that rests on top of a fireplace. Often, we picture a mantel being something special, maybe made of marble or stained glass.

But what about our everyday kitchen or living room? You don't necessarily need a mantel for every fireplace! However, there are still a few tips that apply to them all.

If you're looking to update your living spaces, consider adding a mantel.

This traditional element is easy to incorporate into any room and gives you a chance to showcase your art, favorite objects, keepsakes, or even photographs.

Living rooms are usually very casual and warm, so having a fireplace is essential.

Without it, a room feels cold. As a result, people tend to keep the fireplace going year-round in cold areas.

Don’t underestimate the power of a beautiful fireplace mantel. We all know how important the fireplace is to us, but we forget that it has an equally important place in our homes.

In fact, the fireplace mantel can help set the tone of your entire room, making it feel warmer or cozier.

Think about its height, width, and length when choosing a mantel design. When looking at photo examples, notice the distance between the baseboard and the front of the mantel.

It should be no higher than 1 foot from the floor.

Living Rooms Ideas

To decorate a living room mantel, start by finding the perfect piece of furniture. If you already own a couch, try placing it against a wall.

Try setting small tables around your couch. Place a lamp behind the couch to cast light on the tabletop.

5 Easy Ways to Update Your Home's Fireplace Mantel

Your fireplace mantel is probably one of the first things people see when entering your living room. And yet, it's not always clear what kind of mantel to choose.

Decorating a fireplace mantel can be daunting, but once you get started, the possibilities are endless.

First, start with the basics, such as lighting. Candles work well for this application since they aren't likely to fall.

They also provide soft lighting and create a cozy atmosphere. But if you want some extra drama, try using a chandelier instead.

Chandeliers look great in large areas like living rooms, dining rooms, and entryways.

The easiest way to give a fireplace mantel a facelift is to change the hardware. New-looking metal brackets and knobs will do wonders for your fireplace mantel. Look for hardware that matches your existing trim.

Choose a style that complements your decor. For example, simple, clean lines or ornamental designs would work best in a modern space.

You can make any mantel stand out and add new life to old pieces with a bit of creativity. Here are five ways to get creative with your mantels:

1. Add Texture

Using a variety of textures can really bring a room together. Consider using natural materials like rough brick or stone on one side and smooth wood or tile on the other.

Or use a contrasting pattern—like stripes or polka dots. Play up the texture within the mantel itself, too.

We also recommend using different color woods, including white oak, cherry, and mahogany.

Mantels are often used to showcase artwork, so consider adding something unexpected, like a sculpture or abstract painting. Make sure the art fits the theme of your room.

2. Go Bold

If you love bold patterns, paint the walls in your room a bright color to offset them. Then, cover the back of your mantel in the same way.

Finally, create a focal point with a piece of framed art. This technique is especially effective when paired with complementary colors.

For example, use shades of red and orange on one side of the mantel and blue and yellow on the other.

3. Use Different Materials

Go beyond just plain wood. Find unique materials at craft stores. Consider using glass, ceramic, wrought iron, steel, or even concrete. These are all attractive options for mantels.

4. Keep It Simple

Keep it simple if you're looking to spruce up an uninspired mantel. Remove all unnecessary clutter and accessories. Just focus on the frame of the mantel itself.

5. Use Colors From Elsewhere

There’s no need to stick with traditional hues. Instead, experiment with more daring choices from elsewhere in your home.

If you have a neutral room, play off of that with a colorful accent chair, rug, or throw pillow.


To conclude, a fireplace mantel can serve many purposes in your home. Use it as a decorative element, a statement piece, a conversation starter, or a centerpiece.

Whatever you choose, remember that it should reflect who you are and what makes you happy.

Previous article How To Decorate A Small Living Room With Sectional Couch