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40 Tips for Decorating Your Fireplace Mantel Year 'Round

A natural focal point, the mantel deserves to be the star of any space lucky enough to have a fireplace. Whether your style leans toward minimal and modern or oh-so-traditional, the mantel is the perfect eye-level spot for showcasing your uniquely personal style.

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Photo: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith. From: H. Camille Smith.

Fireplace Fabulous Mantel Ideas

Although humans harnessed the power of fire over a million years ago, fireplaces with an attached mantel are a more modern invention with known examples as early as the Middle Ages. Also referred to as a mantelpiece or chimneypiece, this decorative framework can be as simple as a rough-hewn wood shelf or as elaborate as carved stone that stretches to the ceiling. Whether your mantel falls into the simple or elaborate category (or somewhere in between), keep reading for our tips for making the most of your fireplace's focal point year-round. Plus, get our best mantel decorating ideas for Christmas.

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Photo: Emily Followill. From: James Farmer.

Make an Antique Wood Mantel Shine

For more than a century and a half (since 1845), this heart-pine mantel has warmed up the surrounding study and acted as the room's elegant anchor. A focal point this stylish needs little embellishment, so designer James Farmer adorned it with just a pair of large vases filled with backyard magnolia cuttings. Take a tour of this stunning Southern estate, below.

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Photo: Christopher Dibble

Or, Paint the Brick and Style Simply

In this charming Craftsman bungalow, the living room's fireplace surround and mantel got a 21st century refresh with a coat of bright white paint. Styled simply with a pair of graphic framed prints, hand-carved wooden candlesticks and a vase filled with dried pampas blooms, the living room has a laid-back look that's oh-so livable. Take a tour of this sunny cottage where Cali cool meets Scandi sensibilities, below.

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Photo: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith. From: H. Camille Smith.

Go a Little Bit Country

Farmhouse style continues to be a popular choice for cozying up any area of your home — kitchen, bedroom, dining room and even ... the mantel. Just pair thrifted finds, like a vintage spatterware platter with an equally aged spongeware pitcher, blue glass salt shaker and ceramic salt cellar — all filled with backyard blooms. Add in a favorite book on country style and a weathered winnowing basket for a mantel that's farmhouse fresh. Get more farmhouse style pointers, below.

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