15 Mantels That Do It Right

These mantels make year-round decorating look easy.

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During the holidays, fireplace mantel decor seems to be at an all-time high. But what should you do during the rest of the year? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite mantel decor ideas that will work like a charm all year-round.

One Color Family

Neutral Living Room With White and Turquoise Fireplace Surround

White and Turquoise Fireplace From Sarah Sees Potential

As seen on season 1 of Sarah Sees Potential, Sarah transformed a dark and dated brick fireplace into a gorgeous focal point. The fireplace's crumbling brick was stripped and replaced with white mosaic tile and a custom-built mantel. Striped turquoise wallpaper was added to the surround to draw the eyes up and brighten the space.

Photo by: Stacey Brandford Photography

Stacey Brandford Photography

If you’re having trouble figuring out what type of decor you’d like to display on your mantel, try sticking to one color. This is a great way to take off the pressure when trying to pick out a curated collection of items. When sticking to one color, you can even stick to one type of item, such as the simple collection of vases displayed above.

Natural Elements

Modern Fireplace

Stylish Wood and Modern Fireplace in Living Room

This stylish fireplace is a beautiful accessory for this modern living room space. The sleek wood surround and modern decor provide a stunning focal point in this living room.

Photo by: Amy Lau Design

Amy Lau Design

Instead of choosing a single color, choose a theme when picking out items to display on your mantel. This works especially well if you favor a simpler mantel or if you’re trying to create a more zen feeling in your home.

Art as the Centerpiece

Dramatic Fireplace Mantel in Neutral Traditional Living Room

Dramatic Fireplace Mantel in Neutral Traditional Living Room

A dramatic mantel soars above the fireplace in this traditional living room. Built-in bookshelves complement the mantel's design and proudly display the family's treasures. Accents of blue subtly unify the neutral space.

From: Ann Wisniewski

Photo by: Ann Wisniewski

Ann Wisniewski

Another very simple mantel solution is to choose one bold piece of art as your centerpiece. With a favorite piece of art on display, there is no need for any additional items. In fact, sometimes a cluttered mantel can take away from the focus of the art.

Mantel/Shelf Combo

Living Room Fireplace With Wood Mantel and Built-in Shelving

Modern Living Room Fireplace With Rough-Hewn Mantel and Shelves

A bump-out fireplace is made to look built-in with the addition of a timber-beam mantel and a set of side shelves. The rough-hewn timber mantel extends past the fireplace to give the room a gorgeous focal point and provide a surface to display artwork and glassware.

Photo by: Frank Paul Perez

Frank Paul Perez

I love the approach of extending a mantel to coordinate with the rest of the decor in your space. In this case, the long, chunky wood mantel extends beyond the fireplace to coordinate with open shelving off to the side. The decor works so well together, you almost don’t even notice the TV above the fireplace.

Show Off a Collection

White Bedroom With Exposed Beams

Farmhouse Bedroom With Exposed Beams

The main bedroom in the farmhouse is crisp and white. It's exposed beams and walls painted in chalky white, antique French linens and furniture upholstered in vintage menswear fabric add to the soft look.

If you have a collection or two, your mantel is a great spot to show it off. These silhouette cutouts work well together simply lined against the wall on top of this bedroom mantel.

Layered Art

Beige sitting room with contemporary yellow chair and white molding.

Neutral Living Room With Intricate White Wall Molding

A bright yellow chair adds a bold pop of color to this beige room. The stone fireplace mantel displays various artwork for additional color. Intricate white molding on the walls brings visual interest to the space reminiscent of ancient Greek architecture.

Gallery walls can often feel a bit overwhelming to put together, however, a great solution is to layer your art on top of your mantel. Hang one piece and lean the other to create a more casual look. This approach is also great, as you can easily switch up the art whenever you're looking for a change.

Minimal Decor

White fireplace with a mantel extended to the ceiling

Modern Living Room Fireplace

HGTV fan Remodelando la Casa wanted to add height to her living room, so she extended her fireplace mantel to the ceiling. She kept the mantel accessories to a minimum to open up the space, but she added a signature piece of art as a bold focal point.

Photo by: HGTV fan Remodelando la Casa

HGTV fan Remodelando la Casa

Sometimes less is more when it comes to mantel decorating. In this example, two simple candles and a vase of flowers are paired with one graphic piece of art which, again, really allows the painting to take center stage.

Metallic Details

Traditional, Gray Sitting Room With Tan Chairs, Glossy Black Fireplace

Traditional, Gray Living Space With Glossy Black Fireplace

A pair of soft tan chairs create a cozy seating area next to a traditional fireplace. The mantel is painted a glossy black for a more updated look, while simple white vases, artwork and a gold oval mirror evokes classic styling.

Photo by: Brooke Inabnett

Brooke Inabnett

Gold candlesticks pair seamlessly with a big, gold mirror in this example. Simple white decorations don’t take any of the focus away from the metallics. You can choose to use one type of metal or mix metals (like brass and silver) for a more modern look.

Built-In Shelves

Neutral Coastal Living Room

Neutral Coastal Living Room With Fireplace

On either side of the fireplace, built-in shelves become the perfect home for a collection of ocean-inspired artwork, photos and a planter. The light colored wood matches that of the mantel and the sofas to create a unified look.

Photo by: Photographer: Jeri Koegel

Photographer: Jeri Koegel

Depending on the setup of your room, sometimes necessity dictates that your mantel is “decorated” with a large TV. In cases where the TV is your focal point, you can work with it by using the area next to the fireplace to decorate. The setup above includes built-in shelves and cabinets that allow for some additional decor. If you have a similar room, try not to load up the shelves with too much so your space can avoid feeling too busy.

Vintage Decor

Transitional Living Room

Transitional Living Room with Rustic Touches

A hammered metal coffee table and brick fireplace are warm touches in this all-white family space. Rustic accessories decorate the mantel, adding to the room's homey, casual vibe.

Photo by: Kristen Forgione

Kristen Forgione

If you’re a vintage lover, your mantel is the perfect spot to display some of your thrifty favorites. No matter what style of vintage you favor, you can usually make your items work together. Keep things at varying heights, and don’t’ be afraid to use your entire horizontal space.

A Bare Mantel

Off-center Fireplace with Wood Mantel

Modern Living Room with High Ceilings, Exposed Beams and Limestone Fireplace Surround

Who says modern style can't be nuanced, comfortable and bright? This living room is livened up with wood plank ceilings painted white, contrasting exposed beams, a rich wood mantel and varying pattern upholstered chairs. The fireplace is the highlight of the space, sitting off-center in a classy limestone surround.

Photo by: Craig Jones

Craig Jones

For a bold fireplace mantel, remember that you have the freedom to “decorate” with nothing at all. In the photo above, the channeled wood mixed in with the dark color of the fireplace is so spectacular, it honestly doesn’t need any decor at all.

Using a Large Mirror

Traditional Black Fireplace With Light Marble Mantel

Eclectic Living Space Features Vintage Marble Mantel

A vintage marble mantel makes a striking statement in this eclectic living space. The mantel provides contrast against the black fireplace and also helps the dark fireplace to blend better with the neutral walls.

Photo by: John Dolan Photography

John Dolan Photography

Another great fireplace mantel trick is to use a large mirror. This works especially well in a smaller space that you’d like to make look a bit larger. Before deciding on a mirror, however, test it out in the spot you’d like to place it, as you want to ensure that there are no weird reflections.

Bright Colors + Some Kitsch

White Brick Fireplace in Midcentury Modern Living Space

Midcentury Modern Family Room With Painted Brick Wall

The exposed brick wall and fireplace were painted white to create a fresh backdrop for this midcentury modern family room. Colorful accessories decorate the mantel and wall, adding personality and pizzazz.

Photo by: Red Egg Design Group

Red Egg Design Group

Don’t be afraid of a little bit of color on your mantel! This is a great example of how you can easily get creative with your space. Using the bright colors of the art as a starting point, this mantel was decorated with a simple pompom garland.

Go Black + White

Contemporary White Living Room With Silver Fireplace Surround

Metallic Fireplace Surround Dazzles in White Living Room

A metallic fireplace surround is the shining star in this bright white living room. A black mantel and coffee table offer contrast, and clean lines keep the look current and contemporary. Built-in shelving flanks the fireplace and TV, doubling as storage and display space.

Photo by: Sarah Deragon

Sarah Deragon

No matter what color schemes you have going on in your home, sticking to a simple black-and-white palette always works. In this example, the neutral space is complemented with a few graphic art pieces and some simple decor. A subtle pop of color comes from the green plant on the shelf.

Five-Level Mantel

White Modern Living Room With Gray Fireplace & Oak Floor

Bright & Cozy Modern Living Room

Four large windows fill this living room with plenty of natural light and frame the modern fireplace. Charcoal gray limestone surrounds the fireplace, while above the mantel, painted gray brick provides the backdrop for four floating shelves. Light oak flooring and a mix of modern furnishings complete the design.

Photo by: Eisner Design

Eisner Design

If you have high ceilings, don’t be afraid to take your mantel onward and upward, like in the example above. This simple wood mantel is “topped off” with some additional coordinating shelving, each of which features some decor. Keep in mind that for setups like this, it’s not easy to switch out your decorative items, so make sure you love everything that you're displaying on your higher shelves.

Year-Round Mantel Decor

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