How to Style a Fireplace Mantel

Your fireplace is typically the focal point of your room. So, what do you put on it? How do you make it look good and incorporate your own personal style? Here are a few tips to help you style your mantel.


Think about how your eye moves when you look at your mantel. If everything is at the same height, there’s not a lot of visual movement.

Here’s a few things you can do to create movement:

Add books to make something taller.
Add a faux or real flowers/branches.
Use short and tall items.


This goes hand in hand with visual movement. Be sure you have pieces of all different heights. If you’re going for the symmetrical look, it’s ok to have similar objects at the same height (on both sides).


Adding smaller objects in front of larger objects creates layers on your mantel.

Here’s some examples of smaller objects you could use:

Small paintings
Small vase with flowers/greenery
Meaningful objects

Over the years, I’ve tried many different mantel styles. You can make them as ‘busy’ or ‘simple’ as you like. Here’s a few examples.

Let’s break this down:

The red berry wreath is the focal point at the center. I have varying heights with the candlesticks, greenery, branches, etc. I added the red mini berry branches for some extra visual movement and to bring in the red color somewhere else. And I also layered a ton of objects.

Let’s break it down:

Varying heights and visual movement with the candlesticks, faux leaves, greenery and a picture. Layering with the greenery, glass jars and candlesticks. Normally I wouldn’t do a picture that small as my ‘center focal point’. But, because I love the photo and the frame I made it work with the other things around it.

I’m digging symmetry right now. I like when things balance each other out. But that doesn’t mean I can’t mix it up once in a while!

One more example - this one is my aunt’s mantel. Using the three tips from above (visual movement, varying heights and layering), I’d say she did a great job!

Let’s break it down:

I like how she used symmetry with the shutters! The center focal point stands out and is layered with the window and wreath. She added height variation by using books to make the little vase with flowers taller. She also layered with a smaller object on the left and added some faux greenery for added interest and visual movement. I also like how she tied the white in, in multiple places. Great Job, Denise!

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