We should all be so lucky to have a fireplace and mantel to decorate. I know it’s tough to really know what belongs and what doesn’t, especially when you’re trying to decide on the right style. Once you decide on what design style works for you, you can figure out your fireplace mantel decor and decorate accordingly.
The easiest way to piece it together is to find one main element that is large and helps set the tone. From there you want to layer around this piece in varying size shapes and item types. What you use, and how you use it, will define its style. Oh and please remember, less is ALWAYS more!
Traits: The overall look is commonly symmetrical and balanced. Bright pops of colors paired some dark tones is key. Incorporate sleek and refined pieces that are very simple in style.
Elements: My favorite large pieces for a modern look, would be framed large scaled photographs. They don’t necessarily need to be mounted onto the wall. Having just one or two large pieces of art on the wall is perhaps all you need. If you do want accessories, sleek ceramics and vases and candles are a nice touch. I’d have them balance out the center piece on either side.
Traits: Imbalance is the way to go here. Use as many different colors and textures as you can possibly do. Of all the styles, this is one of the few where you can get away with having very little, or a whole lot of items on display. The choice is yours.
Elements: Great large pieces are antlers, bohemian styled mirrors, or some piece of art that you love. Make sure these framed pieces are just leaning against the wall, for a more relaxed setup. Accessorize with ceramics, books, feathers, and as many contrasting items as possible.
Traits: You can go symmetrical or asymmetrical if you wish. Incorporate rough rustic finishes. Natural elements are always the best way to achieve that rustic feel.
Elements: Antlers make for great large pieces of course. Even mirrors with a rough wood edge. Stay away from glossy anything. Large scale animal prints are always ideal, and can be mount it directly into the wall. Add smaller animal inspired prints or statues to accessorize. A small wooden figurine would do quite nicely.
Traits: Should be very symmetrical and balanced. It has to be simple and not over crowded. It’s common to see a lot of iron, gold, glass, and deep colors like a red or green.
Elements: Large framed mirrors and art are great here. Some of the best items to layer around it are clocks, vases, and flowers. Candle holders are a nice touch, but I would do one on either side of your center piece, or a group of 3 on one end. Small clusters are nice for a traditional fireplace.
Traits: This is often a charming way to display items that could be found around an old farmhouse. It looks very casual, so I’d say balance is best. Old pieces, that look worn or antique are key. Paint that looks like it’s been peeling off of various items is a common characteristic.
Elements: Finding an old window shutter, or framed chalkboard, makes for a perfect larger scale item. You can then add just about anything you find from a flea market that looks old. Antique picture frames, pottery, dishes, and wrought iron, are all beautiful country casual accessories.
Traits: Various items that come from around the world are beautiful for a fireplace mantle. If you’re a person who loves to travel, then this is the set up for you. You can keep things balanced or imbalanced, it is entirely up to what you have to display. I prefer asymmetrical, so that it exaggerates that no two pieces are alike. You have items in various shapes, finishes and scales. You can kind of do whatever you want, and the pieces will speak for themselves.
Elements: Make your most special pieces the most dominant. Whether its art, masks, vases, or a tapestry. Make your smaller pieces fill up around it, and make it look as though your filling up that mantle to simulate a small art display. Don’t follow the less is more rule here. Fill up that mantle with all of your gorgeous trinkets.
Traits: I say symmetrical, only because it makes things easier when you switch out the pieces every few months. The colors you use and the images you display are the most important element to getting a great seasonal mantle.
Elements: The easiest is mounting a beautiful framed mirror, and then simply change out the accessories according to the season. Art is a great way to enjoy the seasons. See ‘4 Ways To Make Your Home Seasonal’ for examples. Bring out those coordinating colors with candles and various elements. Make your fireplace become cozy and jolly for Christmas with holly and stockings. You want to make it easy, because otherwise your holidays begin to overlap, and you don’t want to forget and think it’s summer in the fall.