Modern Mantel Décor Ideas to Ready Your Space for Fall

KATIE HACKWORTH

KATIE HACKWORTH

Fall is upon us, and with it comes an array of décor ideas to get your space ready for the season. While it's bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, autumn also brings plenty of opportunity for design. Changing weather makes for the perfect time to spruce up your home with cozy, stylish décor vignettes that make nesting more enticing. Take the fireplace, for example: For homes that feature one, it's not only the perfect place for entertaining or a quiet night in, but its mantel offers up an opportunity for style.

The mantel of a fireplace can be the ideal place to create a focal point in your home. It's versatile enough to showcase large-scale artwork, decorative objects, and seasonal décor. Don't be afraid to experiment with different looks to discover what works best for your space.

Read on to explore modern mantel décor ideas, from styling hearths to topping the fireplace with a fall-inspired design.

01 of 20

Embrace Fall Colors

ASHLEY MONTGOMERY DESIGN

ASHLEY MONTGOMERY DESIGN

While we're in love with this color scheme year-round, it's also a great inspiration for changing up your décor with the seasons. This living room incorporates fall colors on the mantel and throughout the space, with dark browns, burnt oranges, and antique brass materials. Pair fall tones with cozy textiles for an inviting space that'll keep you cozy no matter how chilly it feels outside.

02 of 20

Be Inspired by the Harvest

FINDING LOVELY

FINDING LOVELY

When it was time for this designer to style the space for fall, she embraced staples of the harvest in a modern, airy way. With white gourds and pumpkin decorations, autumn-inspired décor is layered throughout the room from the mantel to the coffee table. Soft colors complement woven baskets and plush throw pillows, while minimal decorative accents like dried flowers pair with harvest plants for a simple-but-seasonal vibe.

If you're planning to keep your harvest décor around for a few months, opt for faux gourds and decorations that won't start to go bad as they age.

03 of 20

Stack Logs

KATIE HACKWORTH

KATIE HACKWORTH

Even if your fireplace isn't functional (which renters and apartment-dwellers know all too well), outdoor logs for the fire pit can make a great fall-inspired statement when brought inside. If you can't light up a fire, displaying excess logs inside the fireplace during the cooler months adds a touch of warmth in color and texture. Two leather accent chairs extend the feeling with underlying red and orange tones, while a large mirror on the mantel reflects light throughout the room.

04 of 20

Decorate Low

VANESSA LENTINE ; DESIGN: MINDY GAYER

VANESSA LENTINE ; DESIGN: MINDY GAYER

When your mantel is minimal, decorating the fireplace around the floor space creates opportunity for changing your style with the seasons while keeping it simple. In this living room, a basket filled with fresh-cut wood begs the guests to light a fire, while a woven ottoman is topped with a sleek vase of dried leaves. Darker hues in the room's cabinetry bring out the colors of the season with soft linen throw pillows on the built-in bench.

05 of 20

Opt for Large-Scale Artwork

HOUSE 9

HOUSE 9

If your space has gorgeous architectural bones like high ceilings and an elaborate fireplace, play them up with large-scale artwork. Rather than opting for little clusters of many decorative objects, opt for one statement piece paired with a few special accents. An adjacent piece of décor with deep red hues brings out the fall colors, while a woven basket and wood floors add a cozy vibe to the space. Paired with cooler tones in the gray walls and upholstered bench, this room feels like autumn no matter the season.

06 of 20

Go Rustic

MILK AND HONEY LIFE

MILK AND HONEY LIFE

If your fireplace is lacking a mantel entirely, there are still plenty of ways to bring autumn-inspired décor into your space. In this living room, accents like soft wood furniture, stacks of textured firewood, and a tall candle make the space feel as inviting as it is rustic. Plus, who can resist a cinnamon broom that fills the air with delicious scents? Pair it with fall candle scents like apple pie or pumpkin spice for a blend that works together to make your home smell like a freshly-baked pie.

07 of 20

Offset With Tall Greenery

KATIE HACKWORTH

KATIE HACKWORTH

Here's another strong case for large-scale artwork and an accompanying indoor tree. Each fall, the nights get colder and outdoor plants have to come inside—so displaying that lush greenery as a focal point in your living room adds visual height alongside the fireplace and artwork. It's also helpful to lean framed pieces casually against the wall on the mantel: Though it's a neat choice for purely aesthetic reasons, it's also a great décor solution for a rental if you're worried about drilling into the walls.

08 of 20

Extend Your Space With Mirrors

AMY BARTLAM

AMY BARTLAM

Rather than placing large-scale artwork on the mantel, consider a bold mirror. This can create the illusion of a bigger space for an airier, more open environment. The simple use of small plants and sconce lighting keeps the space feeling clean, while the stems of leaves add a fall-inspired feeling to the room.

09 of 20

Turn Less Into More

ANN LIVING

ANN LIVING

If an array of small items isn't your style, opt for one big-ticket item above the fireplace. There's nothing like a cabin vibe to make a space feel like fall, and this room cleverly pairs a faux deer mounted on the wall with the coziest accents. Plenty of natural wood tones, a thick blanket, and textured leaves are the perfect backdrop for a roaring fire.

10 of 20

Be Classic

ASHLEY MONTGOMERY DESIGN

ASHLEY MONTGOMERY DESIGN

If your style is more modern and formal, choose items that speak to those qualities. This living room has several unexpected elements that keep things interesting, yet each item works well together for a cohesive whole. Yellow dried flowers staged in an elegant vase bring out the colors of changing leaves, while minimal wooden décor adds a natural effect. Styled with fur throws, warm leather chairs, and a cozy plush rug, this living room is perfect for chilly nights spent inside.

11 of 20

Get Creative With Shiplap

AMY BARTLAM

AMY BARTLAM

We love how the picture frames and décor resting on the mantel in this space are casually propped up and leaning against the wall. It creates a more lived-in, relaxed vibe, while shiplap covers the space above the fireplace. Wooden elements have a fall vibe year-round, so if you're a lover of the cooler seasons, make your space feel rustic-inspired by incorporating pieces like shiplap into the permanent design.

12 of 20

Make It Modern

CORNER HOUSE CREATIVES

CORNER HOUSE CREATIVES

If you want to give your space a more modern twist, sometimes all it takes is an artful decorative object. This rounded vase reflects the avant-garde objects and furniture throughout the space. The mantel is an ideal spot to display taller objects: It frees up surface area on the coffee table for entertaining guests, and doesn't block any views of the room when it's up against the wall. 

13 of 20

Display Small Plants

DWELL AWARE

DWELL AWARE

The mantel is the perfect place to put your smaller plants and florals on display. Fresh plants will liven up the space and contribute more character—and this living room keeps it simple with inviting, leafy plants to complement the organic feel of the space. In the fall, dress up the room with natural-toned artwork and furry blankets for a warm, cozy vibe.

14 of 20

Keep It Simple

BECCA INTERIORS

BECCA INTERIORS

When the design of your fireplace itself is as striking as this one, don't go overboard on mantel décor. Not only will it ensure a clean, sophisticated aesthetic, but it'll also keep the eye focused on the other statement pieces throughout the room, like these matching double sconces and natural wood molding. Simple dried flowers framed on the mantel bring out the fall feelings as plants die down for the season, while textured logs add a stylish flair and cabin vibes.

15 of 20

Layer Candles

AMY BARTLAM

AMY BARTLAM

Nothing says cozy like an arrangement of candles, with dim flickering light that makes us want to curl up with a great book. If your fireplace isn't functional, it can still bear a flame: By layering a set of candles, this room has plenty of warmth to complement its inviting design. A brick backing on the fireplace opening adds texture to the space, while a white-framed painting blends into the upper wall.

For a candle display that can be lit anytime, place a metal tray beneath the arrangement for easy lighting that doesn't drip down onto the fireplace floor.

16 of 20

Highlight Architectural Details

HOUSE SPRUCING

HOUSE SPRUCING

If you've been blessed with high ceilings like these, it's hard to focus anywhere but up. But this designer cleverly matched fireplace décor with the architecture's beams, using the same wood tones in candelabras as the mantel. Decorations on the floor of the fireplace increase the earthy feel of the room, while warm leather furniture ties it together for an autumn farmhouse vibe.

17 of 20

Upgrade Your Mantel

JESSICA NELSON

JESSICA NELSON

If your fireplace doesn't already have a mantel, the changing weather makes for the perfect time to make a rustic wooden display. Rustic and fall seasonal designs go hand-in-hand, so get creative by building a mantel shelf from worn wood to attach to the upper wall. When it starts getting colder, swap out green plants for seasonal species that change colors with the weather, and incorporate warm textures in throw pillows and surrounding décor.

18 of 20

Try a Fresh Face

EMILY STARR

M STARR

If you're going for a totally different look, give your fireplace a fresh face with a new coat of paint. Darker colors incorporate the fall vibe, so stick to hues like deep blues, forest green, or burnt oranges and reds. Paint the mantel the same color as the rest of the trim for a cohesive look, and use decorative pieces on the shelf that highlight the accent color.

19 of 20

Bring Out the Garlands

KG DESIGNS

KG DESIGNS

For a modern minimalist style, accent your mantel with seasonal garlands. Bring softness to the space with tassels, or for a DIY project, pick flowers outside as they start changing colors and dry the blooms to hang from a decorative beaded string. Be sure to incorporate plenty of variety in textures to add personality to a minimally-styled room.

20 of 20

Be Natural

VANESSA LENTINE ; DESIGN: MINDY GAYER

VANESSA LENTINE ; DESIGN: MINDY GAYER

For a warm, clean design that lasts through the seasons, add natural wood slats to the wall space around your fireplace. In this living room, the designer extended the look to the backing of built-in shelving, and matched the tone to ceiling beams. Rather than decorating the mantel, use the floor space to your advantage each season by switching out dried flowers for fall-colored stems of leaves and textured fabrics.

Related Stories