Fireplace mantels are often the focal point of the rooms they reside in. Learn how to make the most of them with these mantel decor ideas. As with any home display, a fireplace mantel display needs a certain amount of balance and proportion. Don't just randomly place items. No matter what you put on it, keep the following tips in mind.
Fireplace Mantel Decorating Tips
These simple guidelines will help you to be thoughtful with your mantel decor decisions.
- Variation: Use items of different shapes and sizes. Start with taller items at the back and use smaller items as you work your way forward.
- Layering: Don't be afraid to layer items in front of each other—this creates depth. Remember, a mantel is not a photograph and people won't always be looking at it straight-on. Items in the foreground should overlap those in the back so that no item is obscured.
- Symmetry: The tried-and-true formula that always works is to put one large item in the middle (such as a bowl of flowers) and then flank each side with matching items (creating a mirror image).
- Odd Numbers: When using multiple items, always use an odd number of them. For instance, three candlesticks instead of two, or five bud vases instead of four. This goes for just about everything in decorating: when it comes to groups, odds are more interesting than evens.
- Elegance: For a formal look, anchor the mantel with matching items on each side. A pair of Staffordshire dog figurines, for example, always looks classic and polished.
- Connection: Try not to use a totally random assortment of items. Find items that complement each other either in color, style, or theme. The objects should connect to each other in some way.
- Proportion: Balance doesn't have to mean that all pieces match. Several lightweight items on one side can be balanced with one visually heavy item on the other.
- Accent Piece: To really create focus and call attention to a piece, place one large item in the center.
- Avoid Overcrowding: Don't put so many objects on the mantel that it ends up looking cluttered. Give the items breathing room or they'll get lost in the mess.
Some of these fireplace mantel ideas, particularly those dealing with balance and proportion, can seem confusing, but they're really not. Your eye will tell you if something doesn't work. Just keep experimenting until you find your mantel pleasing to look at. The really important thing to remember is that no display is permanent. You can always move things around and play with the setup.
Great Items for Fireplace Mantel Decorating
Don't know what to put on your mantel? Here are a few ideas:
- Picture frames
- Decorative boxes
- Framed prints, paintings, and mirrors (lean them against the back wall for a casual look, then layer smaller pieces in front of them)
- Decorative plates (on stands)
- Stacks of books
- Shadow boxes with interesting items mounted on them