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How to Decorate a Mantel: 12 Great Ideas

Although your mantel is one of the smallest fixtures in your home, it’s one of the best ways to spruce it up. There are many creative things you can do with it to make your home seem more tidy and welcoming.

If you’re wondering how to decorate a mantel to accomplish this end, you’ve come to the right place. This article will look at twelve of the best ways to decorate your mantel and how to choose the right option.

How to Decorate a Mantel

12 Ways to Decorate Your Mantel

1. Hang a Painting or Picture Above it

When learning how to decorate a mantel, it’s good not to overthink it. For example, one of the best and easiest ways to decorate your mantel is to hang a photo or wall art above it.

Typically, the wall above your mantel is barren and open, which makes it a great place to display something important to you. Whether that’s a valuable piece of art or a photo of a loved one, the mantel is a great place to hang it.

You can also line the surface of your mantel with photos and frames of loved ones and family members. This area is usually very exposed, which makes it a great place to show off the people that mean the most to you.

2. Line it With Candles

If you’re not the sentimental type that wants to line your mantel with photos, you can also adorn it with candles. The nice thing about candles is that they serve a decorative and ornamental purpose and provide a delightful aroma for your home.

Sziqiqi Vintage Bird Cage Decorative Candle Lantern Set of 2 Decorative Pedestal Candle Holders for Pillar Candle for Tabletop Wedding Centerpiece Fireplace Mantel Decor Distressed Black

In terms of decor, you can choose between a variety of options. There’s anything from decorative bird cage candle holders to vintage and classic candlesticks.

3. How to Decorate a Mantel with Plant Life

If you have a green thumb or like the idea of adding life to your home, lining your mantel with plants is a great option. Plants are also great for adding greenery, color, and beauty to your living or dining room.

While some prefer living plants, they’re more work and will eventually die if you don’t take care of them. As such, there’s nothing wrong with choosing artificial plants instead of living ones.

Artificial plants will accomplish your decorative goals while removing the extra work of caring for plants. However, living plants emit oxygen and life, which makes them preferable to many despite the extra work.

4. You Can’t Go Wrong With a TV

If you want the room containing your mantel to be functional and decorative, you should consider hanging a TV. TVs are an extra good idea if you and your family like to hang out while watching movies or catching important sporting events.

However, while TVs are a good idea if that’s something you enjoy, it’s important to choose a TV that’s the right size for your space. Choosing one that’s too big will fill the wall and make your room seem small, but choosing one that’s too small will make it look empty in a large space.

5. Contrast Colors

Sometimes, learning how to decorate a mantel means adding a color scheme rather than objects and physical decorations. For example, if your mantel is hanging above an old fireplace with a brick or rock wall, painting the wall is all you need to do.

If you go this route, you should choose a paint color that meshes well with the rest of the room. It doesn’t have to be the same color as a specific object, but it should flow well with the room.

6. Rotate Decorations

If you’re like me, you like to use decorations to get into the spirit of the season. Whether you’re into ChristmasThanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, or all of the above.

Fireplace Mantel Decorated for Christmas

Using a rotation of decorations is one of the best ways to learn how to decorate a mantel.

7. Vintage is Tough to Beat

Despite having a style name that’s old in meaning, vintage is always in and never goes out of date. Therefore, adorning your mantel with vintage decorations is an excellent option.

However, it’s essential to be deliberate when it comes to learning how to decorate a mantel in the vintage style. An old painting or frame here, a candle or lantern there, and a cute clock off to the side are often enough to give your home the warm, vintage touch it needs.

8 Modern and Fresh

If vintage isn’t your speed and you want to go in the opposite direction, modern and fresh is also an option. However, there’s a method to the madness when it comes to learning how to decorate a mantel that’s modern and fresh.

Modern Art on a Fireplace Mantel

In most cases, modern and fresh means sleek minimalism, where you carefully handpick each of your decorations. You also don’t want to clutter your mantel if modernity is the goal.

Modern also works best when you have a mantel that’s white, black, or another stark color. You can also modernize your mantel by hanging modern art or an eclectic mirror above it.

9. Showcase Your Natural Home

Another one of the best ways to learn how to decorate a mantel is to let the background do the talking. When you go this route, you’re going to focus more on the area around the mantel and less on the mantel itself.

This route works especially well if you have an old home with classic brick or stone walls. While you can always paint the brick and stone, you can also leave it in its natural state.

If you do this, however, it’s a good idea to clean it up and let it shine. You can also make the background stand out by adorning your mantel with sparse decorations that don’t take away from the background.

However, if you don’t put anything on your mantel, there’s a chance it will look too empty and take away from the background. Therefore, a few candles, photos, or festive decorations should do the trick.

10. Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

Few things will take your mantel from bland to spectacular quicker than finding the right mirror to hang above it. The great thing about learning how to decorate a mantel with a mirror is that they fit nearly any style.

You can choose a mirror with a modern design if clean and modern is your desire, or you can choose one with a rustic frame if you want to go old-school. Either way, the mirror acts as the tone-setter and the focal point of your mantel.

11. Show Off Your Collection

If you’re an avid collector of small objects such as stamps, knives, coins, snowglobes, or any other number of things, you’re probably proud of your collection. What better way to show your pride and display your collection to the world than by decorating your mantel with it?

Collection of Old Clocks

As long as you do it tastefully, learning how to decorate a mantel with your collection is a great option.

12. Go All Out

If you’re a bit of a DIYer and want to know how to decorate a mantel by going all out, this is the section for you. The sky’s the limit when it comes to your mantel, which means you can get as crazy as you want to.

For example, you can completely transform the wall on which the mantel is hanging or even add a second mantel. You can also hang faux brick or rock on the wall around the mantel if you currently have plain drywall.

Finally, you can combine multiple ideas from this article. If you and your family love the idea of a TV above the mantel, that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate the actual mantel with photos, candles, and other objects.

In most cases, less is more when learning how to decorate a mantel. However, when you do it right, going all out is the best option.

How to Decorate a Mantel so it Works for Your Space

While there are seemingly endless options for learning how to decorate a mantel, here are three things to keep in mind.

Go With the Grain, Not Against It

Rule number one for learning how to decorate a mantel is to go with the grain and not against it. Going with the grain means that it’s important to choose mantel decor that meshes well with the rest of your home.

For example, you don’t want a modern mantel if the rest of your home has a vintage or nautical theme. Your mantel and the wall behind it will stick out like a sore thumb and won’t have the aura you’re going for.

Go With Your Passions

Rule number two for how to decorate a mantel is to choose pieces that you’re passionate about. If you love the vintage, rustic, or farmhouse style, don’t choose an alternative just because it might not be the “in thing” for your location.

Fireplace Mantel Decorated with Natural Items

If you love your mantel decor, there’s a good chance that others will as well.

Go With a Focal Piece and Smaller Complementary Pieces

One of the best and easiest ways to decorate a mantel is to choose something as your focal point and add complementary pieces to it. Your focal point could be a TV, a painting, a mirror, or even the wall itself.

Final Thoughts About How to Decorate a Mantel

As you can see, there are plenty of options and things to keep in mind when learning how to decorate a mantel. However, if you choose one of the options on this list and keep our decorating guide in mind, you’re sure to have a mantel that stands out for the right reasons.

For more fun decorating ideas, check out our other decorating pages!

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