Anatomy of a Decorated Fireplace Mantel

Do you have a fireplace mantel that needs a purpose?  A mantel can be the perfect opportunity to add a focal point to your room. If done correctly, it can be the perfect pop your room needs.  But if done incorrectly, it can do your room a disservice.  There is a simple way to decorate your fireplace mantel in a few short steps. Remember these key points:

1.  Start with a large center piece-this can be done with one piece or with multiple medium sized pieces working together as one large piece. Like a large mirror or piece of art, or a grouping of art work or mirrors.

2.  Add visual height to either side of your center piece-these items should be at lease 3/4 the height of your large center piece. Large vases with flowers are a great way to add visual height!

3.  Add accessories of varying heights (odd number of groupings is best)-Create visual triangles when doing this. Use pieces that pop like bold colors or florals that bring fullness and life to your mantel.  Remember, less is sometimes more! Don’t get carried away with too many smaller items, the mantel can begin too look cluttered.

4.  Layer art or photos (add a personal touch)– adding family pictures or cherished art pieces to accent the focal point is always a plus.

5.  Add movement-through lights or candles.  You can use wall mounted lighting to flank your large center piece or use buffet lamps that are tall and small enough to fit on your mantel.  This is a great way to accent pieces or add warmth to your space with light!


Depending on how you like to decorate, there are many ways you can dress up your mantel and make it the star focus of your room.  But there are many factors that can play into how you decorate for your home.  I would like to list a few considerations when decorating for your home.

1.  Remember your ceiling height matters! The taller your ceiling, the larger your center pieces should be.

2.  Does your mantel hold your TV? Decorating around a TV is similar to a large art piece but you have to consider being able to see the TV clearly.  So layering low below the TV and higher on the sides is important for effect.  If you don’t want to make the TV the focus, and make it look like a piece of art, you could frame your TV with a decorative frame!  It’s an interesting touch to disguise your TV.

3.  Decorating with a mirror will reflect light around your room.  If your room is dark, this is a great way to add light to your room and make it feel bigger if your room is smaller.

4.  Make your wall a focal point by painting your fireplace wall a different color or applying wallpaper to the wall. BAM instant focus!

5.  Keep in mind the furniture placed around the furniture will also play a role in the visual weight of your mantel.  You’ll want to use taller chair below a smaller mantel item and a shorter basket on the floor below a taller mantel item.

There a so many ways in which you can decorate your mantel to make it the focal point of the room, but remember that everything in the room should work together as a whole.  Good design is not always easy, so if your feeling a bit confused and not sure where to start, give me a call!  I’m your designer!

Thanks for reading! Please share!

Feature photo compliment of dressyourdigs

Andrea Dolson

My name is Andrea Dolson. I am an independent interior designer, decorator and home stager, working out of Traverse City, Michigan. This is my design journal, where you will find my blogs and videos with tips and great DIY concepts and sometimes my random ramblings on everything in the design world. I hope you find it interesting! Check back periodically for new posts.