19 Dreamy Fireplace Mantel Ideas

updated 3 days ago
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Living room with dark green walls, chandelier, ornate fireplace with candles, natural textile rug, European style furnishings
Credit: Julia Arceri

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home (or you’ve implemented a faux fireplace), you know just how much fun it is to style your mantel with new and different decor whenever the mood strikes. Whether you want to decorate it for the holidays, to welcome a new season, or to use it as a spot to showcase your favorite art or collectibles, there’s just something so satisfying about arranging and rearranging until you get it just right. 

 If you’re a fiend for finding that perfect look for your mantel, you’ve come to the right place! Our roundup of 19 fireplace mantel ideas will have you booking it to the craft or thrift store right away. 

1. Make it symmetrical.

Not only does decorating symmetrically bring balance into your space, but it also makes it look tidy (even when it’s not). In this historic Louisville home, the owners topped their fireplace mantel with simple potted plants — one on either side. An oval mirror above the mantel along with framed photos on either side enhance the balanced look.

Credit: Rachel Manns

2. Go for an eclectic look.

The owner renovated London home went with an industrial look, with lots of grays and blacks. To liven up the fireplace area, they added eclectic and colorful trinkets, like a toy wolf and a Russian doll, on top of the mantel. A colorful abstract art piece hanging above the fireplace ties it all together.

Credit: Julia Arceri

3. Take inspiration from European design.

Walking into this dreamy Houston home is like walking into a fairytale — it’s absolutely dripping with old world charm. The focal point of the house’s “green room” is an old ornate fireplace mantel. Sitting on top are candlesticks, modern vases filled with greenery, and a vintage mirror. The non-working firebox is filled with white pillar candles, which only add to the charm.

4. Fill it with personality.

Fireplace mantels are like blank canvases just waiting to be decorated. Use it to your advantage and fill it with your favorite trinkets to make the space your own. The mantel in this colorful London home is a great example.

5. Set your TV on top.

Placing your TV above your fireplace is a dividing decor choice — some designers hate it, others think it’s perfectly fine (especially when space is limited). Instead of mounting their TV on the wall above their fireplace, Anne and Matt Thomas decided to set their TV on top of the mantel in their eclectic Philadelphia row home. Shelves holding books and decor are on either side, adding interest to the space.

6. Extend the mantel.

This Chicago house features an old brick fireplace painted a bright white. The fireplace mantel extends to hit the walls of the room on either side, making room to showcase a collection of books and vinyl records next to the fireplace. The mantel itself holds minimal decorations, with a few plants and stacks of books throughout.

7. Store your book collection.

The fireplace in this Chicago house is a showstopper. Decor is minimal, but a coat of purple paint does all the heavy lifting to make it pop. The mantel decor is simple, too — a row of books spans the length of the bright white piece. Use your fireplace mantel to display your favorite reads.

Credit: Erin Derby

8. Modernize your mantel.

When considering fireplace mantel ideas, think about your design style and commit to it. If your space has a modern vibe, like this Brooklyn apartment does, opt for modern decor that gives your home a cohesive look. We especially love the organic-shaped mirror used here that adds a layer of creativity to the space.

Credit: Erin Derby

9. Strive for simplicity.

Fireplaces are a focal point all on their own, so they don’t need a ton of help in the decor apartment, especially if you’re going for a minimalist look. The mantel in this historic New York home is simple — the minimal decorations allow the big, classic fireplace to shine.

10. Opt for clean and modern.

A few pieces of chic artwork and touches of gold make the mantel in this sleek West Hollywood abode look picture-perfect. This set up also creates balance throughout the rest of the room, since the shades match the rest of the space’s palette.

11. Rustic done right.

Exposed brick and lots of charming old wood are part of what makes this stunning New Orleans home the gem that it is. A few small but intentional decorative touches added to the mantel only make it that much more jaw-dropping, letting the interesting architecture speak for itself.

12. Be selective.

Blogger Bre Bertolini opted for simple boho mantel decor in her home. She installed the shiplap backing above and below the mantel herself, and by keeping decorative accessories to a minimum, the walls truly shine. All you really need on a minimalist mantel is a few thoughtfully placed trinkets — a small stack of books, a vase, a candle. If items echo the rest of the colors in your room, these pieces can help tie the whole space together while adding a touch of personality.

13. Create a Scandi vibe.

Blogger Jessica Nickerson decorated her mantel with neutral pieces that she hoped would give off a Scandinavian vibe, and this composition certainly delivers. The final display is warm and welcoming without being overpowering. A stack of books always makes for easy, affordable decor — just raid your shelves and pick out a few titles that speak to you. You can also grab branches and greenery from your backyard (if you have one), and create different levels in your design scheme by using books to prop different pieces up at different heights.

Credit: Andrew Bui

14. Keep it utilitarian.

In a small space, sometimes less is more. This renter in this Brooklyn studio apartment mounted a TV above her fireplace and then kept the mantel decor sparse, only placing a lamp and plant on top of it. The whole look is very mid-century modern and streamlined — but not sterile because of the soothing pops of green and blue these couple of pieces add.

Credit: Melissa

15. Introduce playful touches.

Mantels aren’t just for living rooms — many bedrooms feature them, too! Blogger Melissa of Winter Daisy designed the most darling display in her client’s son’s nursery, complete with an adorable pennant and some space-themed accessories to match the room’s theme. The end result couldn’t look more chic. You could definitely execute this sort of idea in an adult room as well with more sophisticated pieces and equally graphic artwork.

16. Layer favorite prints.

Hanging or leaning artwork above a mantel is a popular choice, and you really can’t go wrong when it comes to styling out this setup. Blogger Sarah Gibson decided to layer together three different art pieces to create a cohesive, modern display, and we love this idea as an alternative to showcasing just one large piece. For best results, be sure to vary the size of pieces and the finish of your frames, but make sure there’s one common thread between what you display so the look feels cohesive. Here, it’s the use of black that helps all of these pieces hang together.

Credit: Jennifer Griffin

17. Style your succulents.

We love displaying succulents all over the house — they’re affordable, add a little bit of color and life to a spot, and look fantastic when grouped together or on their own. Blogger Jennifer Griffin used a collection of succulents to liven up her outdoor mantel, and the little line of plants, as well as their stunning blue pots, go a long way in sprucing up this space.

Credit: Erin Derby

18. Or create a mini jungle.

The row of plants idea works well indoors, too! A little jungle is on full display in this Brooklyn apartment, which helps to create a calming, natural feel that’s well-removed from the hustle and bustle of city life.

19. Round up a collection.

A mantel can be an excellent place to display a collection, as seen in this Chicago home. Whether you’re partial to pottery, sculptures, vases, or you name it, go to town. Your favorite pieces deserve to be arranged front and center. Just make sure that everything you choose is small enough as to not overwhelm the mantel. This area is only so big, after all.