New & Old Ideas for Styling Your Fireplace

New & Old Ideas for Styling Your Fireplace

Nancy Mitchell
Nov 9, 2012

If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace, you're probably thinking about it a little more now that cold weather is setting in. Maybe your fireplace, like mine, could use a little adornment. A fireplace tends to be a focal point in a room, so whatever you put up there is going to get a lot of attention. Here are some of our favorite ideas.

So when it comes to the fireplace, there are really two schools of thought. The more traditional way to style your fireplace is to hang (or prop) one big thing, like a mirror or a painting, above the fireplace. Sometimes the thing hanging above the fireplace stands alone, and sometimes it's flanked by objects on either side (possibly mimicking the andirons below), or maybe accompanied by a row of objects that sit on the mantel. Either way, having one, large focal point above the mantel, in a more or less symmetrical arrangement, creates a more formal feel. It draws the eye. It says, Hey, look at me. I'm a fireplace.

2. A sunburst mirror, flanked by two statues, is very traditional. From Lonny.
3. A painting flanked by two lamps makes a strong statement. From Lonny.
4. Try a single, bold, abstract painting, like in the home of Anna Spiro of Absolutely Beautiful Things.
5. Lots going on here, but the strict symmetry keeps things very formal. Interior from Lonny.

6. The art and colors are cheeky, but the arrangement (two chairs flanking the fireplace, one large piece of art above) is still quite formal. From Lonny.
7. An African juju hat makes for a great focal point above a fireplace. The symmetrical arrangement of the other objects on the mantel keeps the attention on the feathered hat and emphasizes the fireplace. Luc Remond via CCSR Interior Design.
8. Stacking multiple elements in a row above the fireplace, as seen in this interior from Lonny, is a nice way to emphasize the fireplace without being too well-mannered.
9. A new twist on the traditional arrangement, with an oversized photograh and two potted plants. Skona Hem via Being Brazen.
10. From Cole & Son, a painting on the mantel flanked by colorful vases. Matching the back of the fireplace to the wallpaper on the wall is a fun solution for non-working fireplaces.

But what if you want to break free from convention and do something entirely different with your mantel? In the new school of thought, symmetry is out the window, and pretty much anything goes. Having an asymmetrical arrangement of objects above your fireplace will tend to de-emphasize the fireplace, making it blend more into the rest of the room.

1. An informal, asymmetrical arrangement from Lonny.
2. From Brooklyn Bride: a gallery wall of favorite objects, hung on the wall and framed. The cheerful yellow and cheerful faux fire make the most of a non working fireplace.
3. Try a collection of quirky lamps. Abigail Ahern via Freshome.
4. In this interior by Rita Konig, a gallery wall extends over and around the fireplace, making the fireplace just another element in the composition instead of the main event.
5. Try three art pieces instead of one. From Decor8.

6. A collection of similarly sized objects can take the place of a single larger piece. Poetic Home via Design*Sponge.
7. Wallpapering the fireplace wall emphasized the fireplace; now the objects on the mantel can be arranged more freely. From Brad & Kendra's South End Drama.
8. A pleasingly eclectic jumble of fireplace-topping things, as seen in Rue.
9. Mirrors! Photos! Orchids! Shoes! Lovely and layered in the Paris apartment of Ines de la Fressange, as seen on The Selby.
10. Modern and asymmetrical from Desire to Inspire.

11. In Roger's Carefully Curated London home, a row of vases in the same color as the wall and mantel lends a sculptural feel. The stacked wood is a lovely, cozy-looking solution for non-working fireplaces, too.
12. A giant bulletin board over the fireplace is fun and ever-changing. As seen in the Australian home of Lucy Fenton, from HomeLife magazine.
13. This sort of straddles the line between the two styles. Having two paintings instead of one keeps the arrangement from being super formal, but there's still a feeling of symmetry in the two paintings, two chairs, and two coral sconces flanking the fireplace wall. As seen in Lonny.
14. The delicate coral keeps this arrangement from being too formal. From Matchbook Mag.
15. Gloria Vanderbilt's fireplace is the most eclectic we've seen, but somehow it works. Love the giant quartz in front of the fire. From Dwell Studio.

Style Inspiration: Dressing Up Your Mantel

(Images: as linked above)

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