20 Fab Fireplace Mantels: Designer Tricks for Your Living Room's Focal Point

Put the spotlight on your fireplace by styling your mantel like a pro. Follow these decorating tips for recreating these 20 stunning mantels.
By: Chelsey Bowen

Photo By: Zeke Ruelas via Style by Emily Henderson

Photo By: Stephanie Rau / Getty Images ©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: David Owen Strongman/Getty Images

Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Farrow and Ball, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/ Getty Images © 2013, HGTV/ Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Stacey Brandford Photography

Photo By: JWT Associates

Photo By: Frank Paul Perez

Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Farrow and Ball, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)

Photo By: Red Egg Design Group

When in Doubt, Layer

Graphic wallpaper creates a bold backdrop for this vignette where layered accessories are more visually appealing than if the same group of items had been simply lined up. To get the look, start with tall artwork in the back, topped by smaller framed pieces in front. Add a stack of books, accessories and a touch of greenery to bring life (literally) to your display.

Be Playful

Look for unusual items to mix in with artwork and books. Here, designer Emily Henderson collects brightly colored arrows in a glass cylinder and adds a diminutive shoe and doll-size ladder for a touch of playfulness. 

From: Emily Henderson and Emily Henderson

Vintage Meets Contemporary

Antique books paired with sleek white vases full of grasses weave together old and new. Use a stack of books to elevate an item so there's a range of heights in your design. 

Create a Focal Point

Consider the room as a whole when decorating your mantel. This living room is full of color and pattern so the mantel features clean, simple decorations. A large octagonal mirror not only centers the fireplace, but also acts as an anchor for the whole living room. Simple vases and flowers complete the look. 

Take a Casual Approach

Art draws your eye to the mantel and takes up more visual real estate than a lot of smaller objects. Also, by leaning the art against the wall, you create a more relaxed, lived-in look. Long stems of cut flowers take advantage of the room's tall ceilings and add height to the display. 

Show Off a Collection

Mantels are a great place to showcase favorite objects, such as a collection of dishware. Hang vintage plates on the wall, then arrange smaller pieces on the mantel, using a variety of sizes and shapes. To add extra color to this mantel, green liquid is added to apothecary jars.

Make It Personal

Family photos are the perfect way to personalize any space. Here, designer Joanna Gaines added a black-and-white family photo to keep with the space's neutral theme. A few colorful vases add a bit of pop. 

From: Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

Be Bold

Designer Sarah Richardson livens up the area above this mantel with a kicky tone-on-tone striped turquoise wallpaper. Artwork hung asymmetrically, balanced by a grouping of colorful pottery, adds more visual interest and a more contemporary feel.  

Light It Up

Lighting is such an important part of any living space and needs to serve both task and ambient needs. Here, lantern-style sconces add beautiful accent lighting to the reclaimed barn wood overmantel. If the area above your mantel isn't already wired, call in an electrician, or simply place lanterns fitted with battery-operated votives on either side of the mantel for a similar effect.  

Branch Out

Adding a natural element to your mantel creates a more inviting display and adds that spark of life. Best of all: Cut branches are free — just head outdoors with clippers in hand to create a dramatic statement that will last longer than fresh-cut flowers. 

Enhance Your Style

Look to the style of your fireplace for inspiration. To complement this fireplace's rustic style, designer Joanna Gaines added a collection of old books, a vintage botanical print and vases filled with fresh-cut flowers.  

Use Framed Artwork

Instead of one large framed piece of artwork, create the same impact with a collection of smaller pieces Here, four pieces are framed exactly the same and then hung as one big piece of art. Pretty vases and candlesticks finish out the look.

Incorporate Shelves

Make a new addition look like an always-been-there architectural element by surrounding it with built-in shelves. Designer Mary Jo Fiorella tops this modern gas fireplace with a long, rustic wood mantel and flanks it with floating shelves to provide plenty of display space.   

Keep It Simple

A beautiful mantel doesn't have to include tons and tons of accessories; sometimes, simple is best. Designer Ana Donohue adds just a few elements to this floating wooden mantel for a look that's effortless and chic. 

Think Outside the Box

Instead of an arrangement of accessories, create an unexpected design on the wall above the mantel. Designer Darlene Molnar makes a large clock using an eclectic mix of numbers in this contemporary living room. 

Put Treasures on Display

Scour your closets for beautiful yet meaningful pieces. Here, the homeowner is able to create a striking display while showcasing his polo accomplishments.

Scale is Key

Take your living room's height into consideration — in a vaulted room, small items might get lost, while large objects will overpower a small space. Here, an antique window frame and magnolia wreath sits on top of painted white shiplap wood siding. Tall distressed blue candlesticks help balance and add height to the display. 

Have Fun With Color

In this all-white living room, a rainbow of colors is used to draw the eye to the mantel. The playful touches of striped artwork and a row of colorful pom poms adds just the right amount of pop.  

Pick a Palette

Limit your color choices to create a cohesive look. A color scheme of white, gray and sand allows a mix of accessories to look unified. Add in a mirror to help the space appear larger and bounce light around the room. 

Celebrate the Seasons

Empty antique frames create a versatile backdrop that's easy to switch out for each season. Trade the pumpkins and small wreath for a fresh herb wreath and colorful flowers for spring, seashells and driftwood for summer and greenery and twinkle lights for winter.