26 Mantel Decor Ideas That Make Your Fireplace a Focal Point

built-in shelving with decor and black fireplace
Photo: Helen Norman

With the right mantel decor, your fireplace will stand out prominently as the focal point of a room. Try one of these fireplace mantel ideas that combine artwork, mirrors, vases, and other accents to transform a lackluster hearth into the center of attention.

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Painted Mantel Ideas

Fireplace with candles and plant
Stacy Goldberg

Accentuate your fireplace's features by painting the brick surround, mantel, wall, and trim the same color. An all-over paint job will help emphasize the molding and other details while creating a cohesive backdrop for mantel decor. The gray paint color used here stands out crisply against warm white walls, while showcasing a display of candlesticks, greenery, and artwork.

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Simple Mantel Decorating Ideas

Living room with wooden coffee table and white furniture
David Land

If you're lucky to have a mantel with character, let the mantel be the star by minimizing your accessories. Fill the wall space with a simple mirror and just a few well-placed objects. Decorative accents like glass vases and hurricane candle holders will fade into the background, keeping the emphasis on the mantel itself.

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Overlapping Mantel Decor

built-in shelving with decor and black fireplace
Helen Norman

Overlap artwork to make your mantel stand out. The key is to make sure the pieces vary in height and width. Here, a colorful map becomes a unifying backdrop while a framed print and painting overlap one another. The hues in the mantel decor are repeated on books carefully arranged by color on the built-in shelves.

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Contrasting Mantel Colors

dark painted wall above fireplace with red and blue décor
David A. Land

To turn an ordinary fireplace into a focal point, paint the wall above the mantel a hue that contrasts with the room's main wall color. Base the color on another element within the room for a cohesive look. Here, the mantel area's blue was matched to the stone on the fireplace surround.

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Quick Mantel Makeover

artwork on fireplace mantel
Werner Straube

For a fast fireplace mantel refresh, gather items you already own to quickly swap out your mantel decor. Items like potted houseplants, colorful vases, and vintage collectibles can easily turn a plain mantel into something special. Be sure to vary the size and scale of the objects to create a balanced display. Bonus: Create easy DIY artwork out of scrap plywood and spray paint.

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Mantel Decor for Visual Contrast

blue living room payphone art on fireplace mantel
Annie Schlechter

Emphasize a room's height by displaying a tall frame, mirror, or art piece on your mantel. Choose an object that contrasts with the mantel for even more impact. Here, a framed painting with a black background stands out against deep blue walls. The piece's large, narrow frame draws the eye up toward the blue-painted ceiling.

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DIY Fireplace Mantel

large open great room brick fireplace
Paul Dyer

Have a fireplace but no mantel? Create a fireplace mantel made with a few supplies from the home improvement store. Start with a wood beam that matches the width of your fireplace surround. For a rustic look, stain the wood to create a distressed finish. Mount the mantel above the fireplace using a masonry drill bit and lag bolts.

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Easy Mantel Decorating

fireplace mantle world portraits
Michael Partenio

In lieu of an oversized piece of art, choose three coordinating frames for a more budget-friendly mantel decorating idea. This set of prints displays a world map in three parts, forming an eye-catching display that stretches across most of the mantel. A few glass vases and votive candle holders punctuate the arrangement.

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Maximalist Mantel Decor

mantel decor framed art blue fireplace
David A Land

Fireplace mantel decorating ideas that eschew minimalism and pull out all the stops are fun but require a bit of strategy and know-how. Scale is key: Pick items that fill the space and are relative to one another. Here, a large piece of art dramatically emphasizes the height of the room, while two medium artworks properly fill out the arrangement. Multiple large pieces might have competed with each other, and smaller pieces would have created an imbalance. Establishing a theme, such as a common thread of color, unites the different elements.

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Off-Balance Mantel Decorating Ideas

mantel decor asymmetrical design
Anthony Masterson

An asymmetrical mantel arrangement feels cheeky and breezy, but it can also be a subtle and smart design strategy. By arranging the mantel's artwork on the left, the eye is naturally drawn to the peppy sofa pillows on the left side of the fireplace. Simple accessories on the other side keep the focus on the mantel's star artwork.

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Coordinated Mantel Accessories

mantel decor statement mirror
Stacey Brandford

In a neutral living room, use accessories that pull from colors found elsewhere. Here, blue and yellow vases pick up hues used on the sofa while the brown wood mirror frame repeats the finish of the floor, furniture, and shelves. The result is a mantel arrangement that feels right at home and doesn't overshadow the charming dentil molding on the mantel.

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Elegant Fireplace Mantel Ideas

mantel decor art deco-influenced wallpaper
Sarah Dorio

Elegant mantel decorating ideas rely on constraint and thoughtful consideration of every detail. In this classic living room, a striking flourish of Art Deco-influenced wallpaper is the wow element. Everything else hangs back but holds its own. Delftware-like vases bookend the mantel for a pop of color.

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Mix-and-Matched Mantel Decor

mantel decor eclectic design
Adam Albright

For an eclectic, personalized look, mix and match fireplace mantel decorating ideas across styles. Here, a bold contemporary painting adds color and balances the traditional styling of the white fireplace. Simple accessories keep the focus on the striking artwork.

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Coordinated Mantel Art

Armchair by fireplace
John Bessler 

Consider how art above the mantel relates to the mantel and fireplace, both in terms of style and size. For a cohesive style, pair like with like. The size of your art should proportionately fill the space. If a piece is too small, arrange it with a few other hanging pieces. Here, a traditional mantelpiece plays against an abstract splatter-painted piece, which features a neutral backdrop that ties in with the stone fireplace surround. The canvas stretches close to the ceiling and doesn't read as too small.

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Layered Mantel Decor

brick mantel with picture frames decor flowers
Laura Moss

Skip the fancy artwork and let fun frames shine with this mantel decorating idea for every day. Simply layer several empty frames of various sizes and finishes on your mantel shelf. Complete the look with a few accessories—even a vintage croquet mallet will do—and finish with a flourish of flowers or greenery.

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Soothing Fireplace Mantel Decor

mantel decor large floral arrangement
Greg Scheidemann

The right mix of accessories can enhance a simple mantel. For an easy fireplace mantel decorating idea, hang a mirror in the middle and a sconce on either side. Anchor the mantel with a larger vase in front of the mirror and fill in with smaller accessories, such as vases, candlesticks, and decorative objects. Pick up on colors and materials found elsewhere in the room. Here, a mix of white, blue, and gold pieces reflect the room's soothing palette. Vary the height and visual weight of items to easily fashion a well-dressed mantel.

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Traditional Mantel Decor

mantel decor symmetrical arrangement
Michael Partenio

Symmetrical arrangements project a classic order. Use the approach as an elegant mantel decorating idea for instant visual appeal. Start with a pair of wall sconces, one mounted on each side of the fireplace, and place a round mirror in the middle. Use similarly shaped objects on the mantel to maintain the orderly look. Here, tapered, footed vases mimic the shape of the candle sconces on the wall.

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Fireplace Mantel Lighting Ideas

mantel decor mirror with sconces
Kim Cornelison

Industrial-style sconces give this mantel definition and a stylish source of light. A round mirror provides contrast to the abundance of straight lines throughout the room. The rustic reclaimed-wood mantel is perfect for displaying a few selective accessories. When there isn't much space between the mantel and ceiling, focus on accessorizing with just a few smaller pieces, rather than overwhelming the space with mantel decor.

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Statement Mantel Art

mantel decor large sheep painting
Robert Brinson

A large, striking painting transforms this timeworn mantel for a look that embodies both country and modern fireplace mantel ideas. Neutral-toned items, including a brown jug, a small basket, and found objects, let the painting be the center of attention while still making the mantel feel complete. The mix of textures within the ensemble adds dimension to the monochromatic color palette.

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Fireplace Mantel Solutions for TVs

mantel decor flat panel tv
Michael Partenio

Flat-panel TVs often naturally find a home above a fireplace, but the look can disrupt the fireplace's decorative facade. Reclaim your mantel's appearance by recessing the unit into the wall behind the fireplace and enclosing it with bifold doors. Here, the doors are clad in beaded board to match the coffered ceiling.

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Fireplace Molding Details

mantel decor white china
Werner Straube

Add character to your fireplace wall with molding. Paint molding pieces the same color as the wall and install them in rectangular shapes that fill the space around your fireplace. In this living room, one large rectangle frames the space above the mantel, while a narrow rectangle on either side of the fireplace fills the space and draws the eye upward.

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Fireplace Mantel Accent Wall

mantel decor gold sun mirror
Robert Brinson

Dress up a cookie-cutter fireplace by painting the surrounding wall a strong and striking color. In this living room, a steely midnight blue wall elevates an average white fireplace. When mixed with a gold sunburst mirror, the mantel becomes the center of attention. By adding simple accessories, like candlesticks and matching deer figurines, the mantel feels personalized.

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Decorating a Fireplace with Built-Ins

mantel decor large abstract canvas painting
Sarah Dorio

Consider your entire fireplace wall when designing your mantel. If your fireplace is flanked by built-ins, consider how the look of the built-ins relates to the mantel. In this living room, the objects on display in the built-ins coordinate with the colors of the abstract painting above the fireplace.

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Mantel Styling Tips

mantel decor tilted mirror
Ray Kachatorian

Play with objects of different heights when decorating your mantel. Here, tall, wispy branches draw the eye upward while books set vertically and horizontally emphasize the simple, sleek molding. A large, horizontal mirror with a gilded frame adds character to the mantel space.

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Affordable Fireplace Mantel Update

mantel decor wall clock decal
Michael Partenio

For an affordable mantel artwork update, try a decal to add visual interest without the cost of a gallery piece. When picking out a decal, consider the size of the wall above your mantel and the width of the fireplace so you choose a design that isn't too small or too large. Here, a black clock detail on a white wall maintains an air of cool sophistication, which is maintained in the mantel's display of black candlesticks and white candles. A few well-placed books add subtle dimension, while a vase of yellow flowers provides restrained pop.

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Symmetrical Mantel Decor

mantel decor wildlife art
Michael Partenio

Use the concept of symmetry to guide your fireplace mantel decorating ideas. Start with a large object in the center (here, a sculptural piece of driftwood), then place pairs of objects on either side. They don't have to be identical, just related. For example, two different terra-cotta pots still look like they belong together. Remember that symmetry doesn't have to mean stiff; the organic shapes of branches and seedpods keep this arrangement casual.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does it cost to renovate a fireplace mantel?

    The scope and cost of a fireplace renovation can vary great depending on many factors, including the original state of your fireplace and your intended plans. In general, you can expect to spend anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000 to renovate your fireplace mantel.

  • How do I mount my tv above my fireplace mantel?

    To mount your fireplace above your mantel, you'll want to rely on sturdy metal mounting hardware to securely attach the device to the studs in your wall. A television should always be hung directly into the studs, and should be situated at least 12 inches above the mantel to keep it safe from the heat of the fireplace.

  • What's the most expensive style of fireplace mantel?

    The most expensive styles of fireplace mantels are typically made from marble or wood, and often feature ornate carvings that require a skilled professional to install and achieve.

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