If you've got a fireplace, chances are you have a mantel, and chances are it's got the potential to be a focal point for whatever room it lives in. It's a logical place in your home to spend design energy on with winter weather cooling temperatures; focusing on your fireplace adds both actual and visual warmth to a home. If you want to maximize that potential — and create a fireplace that screams "look at me!" you've got quite a lot of decorative options. Here are six of our favorites.
1. Paint it a bold color or pattern
Pick a favorite color, prime that wood (or whatever material it might be) and slap a bold hue all over the mantel. Or, get clever and paint it a bold pattern or be more subtle, and just paint the edges. Play with the finish — go for a really matte or glossy finish to really grab attention.
2. Add height
Grab some branches or tall flowers for a vase. Lean or hang a very narrow or big art piece or mirror above it. Adding height to a mantel won't just be a way to grab attention, it'll also help lengthen your space and maybe even make your ceilings feel a bit taller.
Since it can oftentimes be a centerpiece for the whole room, layering a mantel is an easy way to make a room feel full, sophisticated and even bohemian. So do a lot of layering of art pieces on top of each other, but also add in interesting plants, too. Or any objects that have meaning to you. It's not about making it look cluttered, but full and interesting.
4. Hang something from it
Banners and garlands aren't just for the holiday season (though they do look particularly nice these times of the year); you can bring a little cheer to your home all year long by hanging them from your mantel. But don't forget about plants with fun hanging vines; they also make for great things to hang from a mantel.
5. Leave it minimal
Let the material of your fireplace be the showstopper by keeping a very minimal mantel. This idea usually works best when the mantel is of a shape or style that is very distinctive, either a big rough wood slab or a noticeably sleek straight line. But, not doing a lot to your mantel can be just as powerful as filling it up, too.
6. Add some light
Candles are a natural choice. So are tall, narrow lamps. But also think about flanking your mantel with two bold hanging pendant lights. Or weave a string of lights through your decor. Anyway you do it, light will be an attention-grabber.