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35 Mantel Décor Ideas That Look Amazing in Any Space

A marble fireplace lined with mismatched metal candlesticks and a large ornate mirror

Katie LeClercq

A fireplace is a natural focal point in any room, so how you decorate your mantel really matters. The space is versatile enough to house all kinds of décor—like large-scale artwork, seasonal items, and tokens from your travels. And while all those options make it hard to go wrong, they can also be overwhelming to sift through.

To help you figure out how to decorate the space above your fireplace, we’ve rounded up 35 mantel decorating ideas worth bookmarking. Our favorites suit mantels of all sizes and styles, so you’re bound to find a few worth trying in your space.

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Hang Some Truly Massive Artwork

A living room with leather furniture, a sleek white fireplace, and a large work of abstract art hung above the mantel

Devon Grace Interiors

One classic way to dress up your fireplace? Leave your mantel bare—and hang some art above it. Make a statement with a massive piece that highlights how high your ceilings are. Or switch up your palette with a painting that brings new colors into your space.

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Mix and Match Candlesticks

A marble fireplace lined with mismatched metal candlesticks and a large ornate mirror

Katie LeClercq

Putting candlesticks above your fireplace may seem like overkill, but the cozy touch will instantly make your fireplace more elegant. Keep things interesting by choosing candlesticks in different sizes, shapes, and colors. And snag some equally varied taper candles, while you’re at it.

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Build Cabinets That Look Like Art

A living room with olive green shelves, an ornate wooden fireplace, and colorful built-in cabinets that look like works of art

Ashley Montgomery Design

Lots of mantels are topped with built-in cabinetry, and with a little creativity, your cabinets can look as stunning as the fireplace below them. Paint your cabinets a pretty color, invest in fresh hardware, or frame them like a work of art.

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Install Some Striking Light Fixtures

A white fireplace topped with sparse decor and two matching sconces

Rikki Snyder

One underrated way to decorate your mantel? Install sconces above it. While the fixtures are often used to frame a decorated mantel, they look just as good above it—where they can shine light on all the pieces you’ve decided to showcase.

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Line Your Mantel With Books

A maximalist living room with a wooden fireplace lined with books, bookends, and sculptures

Rikki Snyder

Turn your mantel into a library by lining it with books. Stick to a few favorites you always want within reach, and complement them with classic decorative items, like statuesque bookends and sculptures you’d display on your desk.

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Transform the Room With a TV

A contemporary living room with a marble fireplace, a wall-mounted TV, and small mantel decor that doesn't obstruct the TV

Tara Kantor Interiors

There’s no getting around it: TVs transform any room you put them in. So if you’re ready to turn your living room into a movie theater, hang a TV above your fireplace—and line your mantel with décor that’s too short to obstruct your view.

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Display Your Favorite Sculpture

A tiled fireplace topped with a small graphic sculpture and two wall-mounted woven baskets

Brophy Interiors

Art can take many forms, so enjoy all the options at your disposal when decorating your mantel. If you can’t find a painting or poster to hang above your fireplace, expand your search to include other kinds of art.

A single sculpture can make an impact when placed atop your mantel—even if it’s much smaller than the art you’ve seen take on the task.

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Fill a Vase with Pretty Branches

A living room with organic modern furniture, woven accents, and a wooden mantel topped with a ceramic vase of large branches

Amy Bartlam

Flower-filled vases put the finishing touches on any space. But if you don’t want to replace the flora above your fireplace every other week, fill your vases with sprawling branches or dried bouquets, instead.

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Create a Leaning Art Gallery

A dining room with a long fireplace mantel topped with layered, propped up art

Devon Grace Interiors

Hanging art above your fireplace isn’t your only option. If your mantel is extra-long, you can create a leaning art gallery—propping photos, prints, and paintings along your mantel and against your wall. 

10 of 35

Color-Coordinate Your Set-Up

A white fireplace mantel lined with brown vases and a large gold ornate mirror

Ashley Montgomery Design

Your mantel décor scheme doesn’t need its own palette, but designating one can make decorating easier. Once you’ve found a piece of décor worth displaying on your mantel, stock up on other pieces in similar shades.

Mix and match different decorative items, or curate within a single category of décor. Your monochromatic display will make a statement either way. 

11 of 35

Make a Mini-Mantel Garden

A sleek black fireplace positioned in front of a window and decorated with houseplants

Devon Grace Interiors

If your fireplace lives inside a light-filled room, take advantage, and line your mantel with plants. It’s rare to see pops of lush greenery above a fireplace. Your mini-mantel garden is sure to turn heads, even if it boasts just a few plants.

12 of 35

Split Your Décor Scheme Into Thirds

A large wooden mantel decorated in thirds: vases on the left, a large mirror in the middle, and candlesticks and a small painting on the right

Ashley Montgomery Design

Want to simplify your mantel decorating process? Divide your mantel into thirds, and outfit each third with different décor. Sticking your largest piece in the middle is usually a safe bet. Then, you can stock the outer thirds with smaller items, like plant-filled vases, candlesticks, or little works of art.

13 of 35

Set the Scene With a Moody Photograph

A home office with a large wooden desk, a woven rug, and a marble fireplace decorated with a landscape photograph

Bespoke Only

If abstract paintings and graphic posters simply aren’t your thing, decorate your mantel with a photograph, instead. Pay attention to the contents and the colors of the photo—and make sure it sets the right mood in your space.

Photos can be playful, calming, uplifting, or dramatic, so consider the atmosphere you’re trying to cultivate and pick the right photo for the job.

14 of 35

Layer Art Over a Statement Mirror

A white fireplace topped with a framed photograph layered over a large ornate mirror

Pure Salt Interiors

When hanging stuff on your walls, layering isn’t really feasible. But it’s a viable option when you’re propping stuff on your mantel. If you’re struggling to choose between two striking pieces, put both on your mantel—and layer one over the other. Just make sure to keep the smaller piece in front of the bigger one. That way, both statement-makers get room to shine.

15 of 35

Make a Home for Your Ceramics

A bedroom with a large bed, a woven chandelier, and a tile-lined fireplace topped with two ceramic vases

Amy Bartlam

Ceramics can be incredibly beautiful, but there’s rarely a clear place to put them. Enter: your mantel. The above-fireplace shelf is an ideal place to showcase stunning ceramics, so line your mantel with pretty pottery, or slide a couple of key pieces to one side of the shelf.

16 of 35

Display Your Favorite Knick Knacks

A living room with yellow walls, wooden bookshelves, and a marble fireplace lined with knick knacks

Bespoke Only

The best-decorated mantels aren’t just shelves—they’re bonafide mini-museums. Don't be afraid to use yours to showcase your favorite souvenirs or knick-knacks. The pretty wares are sure to dress up your fireplace, plus, they’ll double as conversation starters, giving you plenty to talk about every time you host houseguests.

17 of 35

Match Your Mat Board to Your Mantel

A black living room with an ornate white mantel topped with two framed photographs, both of which are bordered by white mat board

Bespoke Only

Displaying art along your mantel? Choose your mat board with care. Mat board is the thick paper that sits between your artwork and your picture frames, and it comes in a range of different colors. Of course, you’ll want a color that complements the artwork you’re framing. But if the color also matches your mantel, you’ll be in for a truly stunning set-up.

18 of 35

Spread Out Your Décor

A living room with modern furniture, large-scale art, and a sleek black mantel topped with small pieces of decor on either end

Ashley Montgomery Design

Spreading décor across your mantel is a classic choice—but it’s not your only option. By sticking a pop of décor on either side of your mantel, you can play with negative space in a way that’s truly eye-catching.

19 of 35

Find a Mirror That Brings the Room Together

A black living room fireplace topped with books, decor, and a large gold mirror framed by sconces

Becca Interiors

When it comes to mantel décor, mirrors are one of the most classic options around—and with good reason. Mirrors make spaces feel brighter and more open. And since they come in a range of styles, you can find an option that brings your space together—or that adds some contrast to your décor scheme.

20 of 35

Place Your Art Off-Center

A large living room with coastal furniture, woven accents, and a white fireplace topped with slightly off-center art

Calimia Home

It’s completely reasonable to center art on your mantel. But if you want to make a statement, play with asymmetry, instead. For a dramatic look, slide the art to one end of your mantel. Or subtly draw the eye by placing your art slightly off-center.

21 of 35

Showcase the Changing Seasons

A living room filled with neutral ceramics, woven accents, and a small white pumpkin sitting on the mantel

Finding Lovely

When the seasons change or a holiday approaches, decorating is top of mind. And your mantel is a great place to showcase your favorite festive finds. Line the shelf with pretty pieces that get you in the seasonal spirit. Or nod to the time of year with a single pop of décor.

22 of 35

Give Your Décor a Height Limit

A bedroom fireplace topped with short pieces of decor, like candle sticks and decorative baubles

Katie LeClercq

Mantel décor can be large and imposing. So one simple way to make a statement? Stick with short décor. Stock up on decorative items within a given height range, and let the negative space above them become the star of the show.

23 of 35

Pair a Light Mantel With Dark Décor

A light blue living room with a white mantel topped with black decor

Bespoke Only

Not sure what décor to stock up on? Use your mantel as a starting point. Snag décor that matches mantel—or add contrast by doing the opposite. After all, dark décor looks great on top of a light mantel, and light décor looks just as lovely on a dark one.

24 of 35

Build in an Entertainment Center

A modern living room with leather furniture, a marble fireplace, and a built-in entertainment center

Devon Grace Interiors

If you want to go a step beyond a wall-mounted TV, build a full-blown entertainment center above your mantel. Add a built-in that frames your TV, install a sound bar above your mantel, and add enough cozy seating to make fireside movie nights a regular occurrence.

25 of 35

Decorate Symmetrically

A cement fireplace topped with symmetrical decor: a mirror in the center, candlesticks on either side, and matching mirror-framing sconces

Jessica Nelson Design

Stocking up on mantel décor is one thing—and laying out that décor is another. When in doubt, decorate symmetrically. Create a focal point in the center of your mantel. Then, divide the rest of your décor into pairs and frame your centerpiece with those pairs.

26 of 35

Turn Literature Into Art

A bathroom with a black tub, a beaded chandelier, and an ornate white fireplace topped with an illustration and a framed work of writing

Pure Salt Interiors

Running low on art worth displaying above your fireplace? Frame a passage from your favorite book, a poem from your favorite collection, or a letter from a friend—and display it on your mantel like art.

27 of 35

Stick Décor on One Side of Your Mantel

A modern living room with upholstered furniture, a cement fireplace, and a wooden mantel topped with three off-center candlesticks

Devon Grace Interiors

If your mantel décor scheme is comprised of just a few small pieces, slide them to one end of your mantel. This asymmetrical approach is sure to draw the eye. Plus, it’ll keep your décor from getting overshadowed by the negative space around it.

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Invest in a Striking Poster

A sitting room with velvet chairs, a marble fireplace, and a large framed poster

Studio Peake

Fireplaces are often topped with sprawling paintings or ornate mirrors. But posters are great picks, too. So frame a poster from your favorite concert—or a print by your favorite artist—and proudly display it above your mantel.

29 of 35

Mix and Match Decorative Items

A white brick fireplace with a long wooden mantel decorated with art, candlesticks, books, and plants

Jessica Nelson Design

Don’t be afraid to mix and match on your mantel. Art, candlesticks, plants, and books can all live alongside each other in harmony—especially if they share similar colors and motifs.

30 of 35

Add Asymmetry With a Single Plant

A black fireplace decorated with two matching paintings and a single plant

Mindy Gayer Design

Take your mantel décor scheme from simple to statement-making with a single pop of asymmetry. Start by placing your décor symmetrically. Then, stick a single plant on one end of your mantel. The off-kilter touch will make your display more eye-catching—without requiring much effort from you.

31 of 35

Frame Your Focal Point With Décor

A living room with upholstered walls, a tile-lined fireplace, and a wall-mounted work of art framed by two pieces of mantel decor

Studio Peake

Once you’ve mounted a painting over your fireplace, you might wonder what to put on your mantel. Should you leave it bare and risk a boring décor scheme, or line it with décor and risk visual clutter? Try splitting the difference, instead. By placing a decorative item on each end of your mantel, you can frame your painting—complementing, instead of competing.

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Play With Scale

A living room with a marble fireplace topped by a large abstract painting and two tiny vases

Katie Hodges Design

One fun way to dress up your mantel? Switch up your décor sizes—and do so dramatically. Hang a massive painting over your fireplace, and line your mantel with tiny vases. The contrast will make a statement that’s both bold and playful, leaving you with a personality-packed mantel.

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Keep Your Mantel Décor Minimal

A minimal fireplace decorated with a sleek wall-mounted mirror and a small piece of coral

Reagen Taylor Photography

There’s no need to overthink your mantel décor scheme. Once you’ve placed something on your mantel and hung something on your wall, call it a day. A minimalist set-up can be just as eye-catching as a maximalist one.

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Snag a Pair of Matching Artworks

A living room fireplace topped with a set of near-matching paintings and a few small vases

Jessica Nelson Design

Simplify your decorating process by snagging a pair of matching artworks and placing both on your mantel. The decorative duet should leave your mantel feeling thoroughly dressed up. And you can always layer in smaller pops of décor as you see fit.

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Echo the Rest of the Room

A light pink living room with a white fireplace topped with pieces of woven, circular, and neutral decor that echo other decorative elements in the room

Calimia Home

Not sure how to decorate your mantel? Take cues from the rest of the room. Echo the colors, shapes, and motifs that already inhabit your space, and let those form the basis of your mantel décor scheme.

Originally written by
Hadley Mendelsohn
Hadley Mendelsohn was the Associate Editor at MyDomaine for two and a half years before joining the House Beautiful team as the Design Editor. She covered a wide range of topics including interior design, beauty, and more.