How to Create the Perfect Mantel

Decorating a mantel. Scary proposition, isn’t it? There’s just this big, empty stretch of space with a big, empty swath of wall over it. And sometimes, that wall is brick or stone, which makes hanging anything on it all that much more difficult. How the heck are you supposed to figure out what to do with all that space??

18 tips and tricks to help you style a perfect mantel

Well, my friend, fear not, because I’ve collected my favorite tips and tricks for styling a mantel, and hopefully when you read these, you’ll realize two very important things. First, with a little guidance, styling a mantel isn’t really all that frightening. And second, with a little imagination, you can make your mantel the amazing focal point of your entire home.

Enjoy the inspiration!!

NOTE: I have compiled these tips from some of my favorite blogs and websites. To pin any of these individual photos, please click on the link below each photo and pin from the original source. To pin the entire collection, use the photo above. Thank you!

1. Arrange in order of size.

Rather than just throwing a bunch of items up there, all willy-nilly, arrange them in order by their size. Go from tallest to shortest, left to right or right to left, do a v-shape {with the highest items on each side}, or a triangle {with the tallest items in the center}. 

Source: Liz Marie Blog

Try arranging items by size on a mantel Source: Nell Hill’s Blog

Try arranging items by size on a mantel Source: House Tweaking

2. Lean, don’t hang.

This is a great one for those of  you with brick or stone walls. There’s no need to actually pound in a single nail: just lean one or more pieces of artwork, frames, mirrors or other items against the wall. Not only is it less work in the beginning, but changing up your display is a piece of cake! 

Tips and tricks for styling the perfect mantel Source: Just a Girl

 Source: Apartment Therapy

3. Use the rule of three.

Groups of three objects are more appealing and memorable than other numbers of items. {Who knew?!?}  

 Tips and tricks for styling the perfect mantelSource: Adventures in Decorating


Tips and tricks for styling the perfect mantelSource: Centsational Girl

4. Try a monochromatic look.

I am all about color. I love mixing up colors in unexpected ways, and most of the time, for me, the more color I can cram into one space, the better. However. Sometimes a mostly monochromatic look can be dramatic and gorgeous. 

Source: The Decorated House

 Tips and tricks for styling the perfect mantelSource: Good Housekeeping

5. One is not the loneliest number.

Just as sometimes toning down the color can make a dramatic impact, so can using just one, large, eye-catching piece of art over a fireplace. Who needs lots of stuff on a mantel when you have something that looks like this on your wall??

Source: Houzz.com

6. Fill a non-working fireplace.

If your fireplace doesn’t work, don’t leave it as a scary gaping hole. 

Source: Jute Interior Design 

Source: The Lettered Cottage 

7. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical…

Source: Houzz.com


8. … but it can be if you want it to!

 Tips and tricks for styling the perfect mantel Source: Mini Manor Blog 

9. Create a gallery wall.

If you don’t have one big piece of artwork to hang over your mantel, why not create a gorgeous gallery wall?

Source: Brooklyn Bride 

Source: Design Sponge

10. Mix up the textures.

I love mixing things up. When styling your mantel for the season, try mixing new with vintage, fabric with wood, glass with organics. 

 Source: My Blessed Life

 Source: Decorchick


11. Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors.

Everyone knows that mirrors can make a space look bigger, but they can also reflect light, making the entire room brighter and more cheerful. 

Source: Houzz.com

Source: Elle UK 

12. No mantel, no problem.

If you don’t have a mantel, no big deal! Just find a shelf and decorate it the same way! 

Source: Balancing Home

 Source: Decorchick

Tips and tricks for styling the perfect mantelSource: Love of Family and Home

13. Layer it up.

Layering items in front of each other on a mantel gives the entire vignette a sense of depth and movement. 

 oregon cottageSource: An Oregon Cottage

  Source: HomeGoods

14. Use what you love.

What are your favorite things? Do you love books and travel? Candles? Family photos? Think about what you love, and decorate with those things. You can never go wrong when you’re decorating from the heart. 

Source: The Inspired Room 

 Source: HGTV.ca

Source: Always Chasing Life

15. Take inspiration from the season.

A lot of people just decorate their mantel for Christmas, but I love changing out my mantel decorations from season to season. To make it easier on yourself, try to use items that can carry through for more than one season. For example, those red vases and candles you use at Christmas are perfect for Valentine’s Day. Put them away for spring {but keep the pink Valentine’s stuff out!}, and pull them back out for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

Source: Designed by Dawn Nicole

Source: A Pop of Pretty

Source: The Frugal Homemaker

 Source: Endlessly Inspired

 Source: A Diamond in the Stuff

Source: Unskinny Boppy

16. Think outside the box

Try something unexpected when decorating your mantel. A simple row of egg-shaped rocks looks amazing when paired with a detailed mantel. And who says Christmas mantels have to be red and green? A bold, colorful display evokes the happy, cheerful feelings of the season.

Source: Poetic Home 

Source: Better Homes & Gardens 

17. Show off a collection

Your mantel is usually in one of the most-used rooms in your home, so what better place to show off a collection of treasured items?

  Source: Sweet Pea Home

 Source: Velvet & Linen


18. Do something unexpected.

Why does a wreath have to hang on the wall above the mantel? In the spring and summer, when the fireplace isn’t being used, hang it on the mantel instead.

Source: A Bowl Full of Lemons

Source: Everyday Lovely 


What are your favorite tips and tricks for decorating a mantel? I’d love to see your favorite mantels; leave links in the comments section!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Among others, we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Jessi @ Practically Functional
    October 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Great tips! I’m just finishing up my fall mantel today so I’ll be sure to keep this all in mind! Pinning this, and thanks so much for sharing it at my link party!

  • Ellya Brill
    October 5, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    This is a lovely post about mantel. Very inspiring. I do not have a mantel in our home although we do have a fire place. But this is a very good source for when I have a mantel in the future since we are going to move into a new home. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful week end.


  • er
    October 6, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    You have so many great ideas here, I can’t narrow it down and mention just one. What a thorough post!

    We Three Crabs

  • KyFireWife
    October 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I needed this. Our fireplace mantel has been left virtually untouched (other than collecting a few of the hubs’ knick knacks) for the THREE YEARS we’ve been in this house. Definitely need to find some inspiration and get it done.

    {{ stopping by from SITS }}

  • Lauren @ Sweat The Sweet Stuff
    October 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    So many great ideas! Love it!!! 🙂 Visiting from SITS btw.

  • Dana
    October 8, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    So many mantels to use for inspiration! I love changing mine around, and this gives me tons of ideas. Thanks! Hope you had a fabulous SITS day.

  • Stacey @ The Anonymous Blonde
    October 8, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    So many good ideas in here! I love real mantles like these. My decorating pet peeve is a large TV over a mantle – which seems to be the norm these days.

  • Michelle
    October 9, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    This post made me sad because I don’t have a mantle haha! Hopefully someday I will and I will be looking at this for inspiration! Thanks for linking with us for WDW!

  • Lori @ A Bright and Beautiful Life
    October 10, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Hi Jenn ~ This is a FABULOUS post. I’m for sure rethinking my mantle and how I can fix it up to make it look so much better. Do you think you could share this post and any other great projects you have over at our link party? Thanks, have a great day. http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/making-monday-link-party-8/

  • Kristin @ Dizzy Busy and Hungry!
    October 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Wow, so many great ideas here! These are great inspiration in other areas of the house as well, not just the mantle!

    Thanks for sharing at Wine’d Down Wednesday! I am pinning this onto our new WDW Pinterest Board. Hope to see you back again next week!

  • Tanya
    January 20, 2014 at 10:38 am

    These are such pretty ideas! I love decorating my mantle. Visiting from Sits!

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