Top Tips for Decorating Fireplace Mantles

Is your Fireplace Mantle littered with family photos and knick-knacks, interspersed with an odd candlestick or vase?  Does it lack a sense of style or cohesion?  Are you uncertain how to arrange the space?

Fireplaces can be tough to decorate;   a wide, shallow shelf placed halfway up the wall with a big hole underneath makes for a rather awkward design element.  However, with a few basic decorating options in mind, this space can become the gorgeous focal point of any room.

Let a Wall Hanging Dominate the Space

The simplest way to add drama to the space above your fireplace is with a big, graphic piece of wall art.  In a room with a neutral palette, this is a great place to inject an unexpected punch of color…or in a room with an existing color scheme to highlight a bold accent color.   Leaving this as the sole accent piece highlights the drama.

Leaning Mirror Flanked by Vases:

Mirrors are a natural choice to hang over the fireplace; they reflect the light that is bouncing around the room from a roaring fire.  The don’t, however, tend to have enough ooomph to carry the area by themselves.  Want to use a mirror and retain a clean, modern look?   Lean a mirror against the wall, and place tall items of approximately the same size on each side of it.  Classic!


Think Outside the Box (Shaped Artwork):

Want to really shake things up?  Scrap the notion of traditional artwork altogether and use that blank wall space for a large stencil or subtle mural.  On the mantle beneath, place a symmetrical arrangement of three (five would work as well) items:  a lower center statement piece, and taller matching items on each side.  If you use five items, the two outside ones should be the tallest.

Square Artwork with Asymmetrical Decor:

While symmetrical mantle-scapes tend to be most pleasing to the eye (keep in mind symmetrical doesn’t mean pieces matching exactly, just that the general size and shape mirrors each other), it certainly isn’t a hard and fast rule.  Asymmetrical styling can be equally as visually appealing;  what matters most is that the two sides of the mantle have approximately the same volume of space taken up by the items.  For example, tall and narrow on one side, short and wide on the other.  They eye naturally reads this as “equal.”

Keep Function in Mind

Don’t forget function while considering form!  The fireplace is, after all, a source of heat and light; don’t place anything that could melt or become damaged from the heat on a mantle.  From a design perspective, keep in mind how things will look when a fire is lit; few things are more romantic than a fireplace aglow with fire and a mantle dancing with lit candles!

 How do you like to decorate around your fireplace?

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