The mantel over the fireplace may be one of the most coveted decorating spots in the whole house. Yet faced with such a perfect blank canvas to dress up, the prospect can become a little overwhelming. Don’t get in over your head when decorating your fireplace mantel. Taking a restrained approach is always a better idea. Keep in mind you can always change up your mantel easily, trying something new with each changing season. These 8 ideas are easy to accomplish with decorations you likely already have around the house.
The mantel is the perfect place for adding more lighting to the room. Instead of sticking to basic fixtures that are more for function than flash, looking for centerpiece lamps that make a strong statement. From faux candelabras with figurative bulbs to globe lights with hand-blown shades, adding lighting is one od the best fireplace mantel decorations that you can choose. If you don’t want to make the lighting the focus of attention, consider a purpose-made mantel light that shines upward to subtly illuminate your other art or decorations.
Live or Faux Plants
A little greenery is perfect for living up the look of a modern or painted mantel in particular. Faux plants are easier to care for, especially if the mantel is far from a window to provide at least a little filtered light. However, there are a few varieties of live plants that can thrive on a wall shelf even without natural light. Try a mix of both live and faux
Instead of confining the kids’ artwork and family portraits to the refrigerator or the halls, try setting up the family gallery as part of your fireplace mantel decorations. Set up exhibitions of similarly themed pieces, such as a collection of holiday portraits over the years or art on a theme from every family member. Not only will this give your fireplace a personal touch that is immediately welcoming to guests, but it’ll also make everyone feel involved and represented in the home’s décor. Few opportunities arise naturally like this in the home, especially considering that fireplaces tend to be located in the living room or den where the whole family gathers.
Decorating the fireplace mantel area based on the season is perhaps the most common option, but there are always new ways to keep it fresh. Try highlighting your favorite parts of the season, such as colorful leaves and seed pods in the fall. Using seasonal arrangements makes it easy to gather supplies from the yard or from local shops without spending much at all. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, such as setting up scenes from your favorite holiday or summer vacation memories. Also, don’t forget to schedule a seasonal inspection to keep your fireplace in peak condition.
Dried and Fresh Flowers
One way to celebrate the seasonal bounty of spring and summer in particular is to decorate with fresh flowers. Choosing what’s in season and locally available will make it more affordable than you might think to keep a constant exchange of fresh blooms on the mantel. Try working with longer lasting blooms like Hydrangeas, Chrysanthemums, and Lilies to reduce how often you need to replace the decorations. For the longest lasting displays, try dried and preserved flowers instead.
While mantels aren’t always ideal for permanent use as a bookshelf, a short-term display of your favorite books makes a great decoration. Don’t forget the potential for adding charm and personality with book ends. A novelty or vintage pair of ends is not only the right way to keep your books from taking a tumble off of the mantel, but they’re also a good way to help the mantel catch the eye.
Double the Shelving
Installing a floating shelf a foot or two above the mantel not only creates more space for storage and decoration, but it also repeats the horizontal line in a vertical way up the wall. This can help tie the fireplace and mantel into the rest of the room’s décor, especially in a home with higher ceilings. If you do try this doubling technique or add even more levels of shelves, make sure to keep the décor united between them to avoid accidentally dividing the appearance of the room.
Build a Vintage Collection
Vintage items are perfect for decorating the mantel since the fireplace itself tends to be reminiscent of the past anyway. Whether you prefer to explore antique shops for interesting knick-knacks or turn to your own family’s attic and garage spaces instead, you’re sure to find some whimsical and interesting items to display. Vintage mantel collections can be easily remixed and rematched for each season with just a few new items, making them easy to update without completely clearing off the space and starting from scratch.
With so many ideas to choose from, you’re sure to feel more inspired about your mantel now. Just make sure not to end your maintenance of the fireplace with decoration. Don’t forget to keep the fireplace clean and the hearth well-swept so the focus is on the mantel above instead. A decorative fireplace screen is also another good way to push the eye upward.