The mantelpiece could be considered one of the most consistent displays of decorative personality across all homes. Originally designed to be ornamental, it isn’t any wonder that eyes are immediately drawn to the characteristic form and fitted shelf to help center a room. What happens around the mantel is almost as important as what happens above, inside or placed on top. Mantels provide warmth whether the hearth they host is functional or not.
After moving into a new home a couple of months ago, I found myself somewhat lost in a new space with a troublesome mantel, so I turned to the archives for inspiration. The most logical solution seems to be placing a mirror above to add depth and reflect light within the space. This is an elegant and timeless approach, but I was looking for something a little more unique. I landed on these
10 creative ways to decorate a mantel from resourceful homeowners that thought a mirror wasn’t quite enough to reflect their personality. –
decorates the space above the mantel in
this colorful Maine home
. The odd tin tree was purchased by Ayumi and Chloe in Butte, Montana for their master bedroom. The couple collects vintage squirrel and strawberry ornaments to gradually decorate the branches.
Neal and Andrew in Philadelphia
to decorate their mantel. An unruly fern and harvest scene in a handmade frame reflect their love of farming and use of natural objects that can be composted or returned to their garden.
Painting the mantel an accent color
brings the whole piece forward as a moody focal point along the back wall.
was made by an artist on Etsy for
this San Francisco couple
. They wanted it to tell the story of their wedding colors, nicknames and states of origin. A small,
is painted above the personal vignette and
unique family memorabilia
like letters, photos and figurines are lined up along the mantel shelf.
In this South African home
, a jewelry maker and industrial designer add visual height to their space with a
vertical statement piece
. The neutral tone is easy on the eyes as they are drawn upward to the top portion of the piece and tall ceiling beyond.
Similar objects neatly aligned
create a personal and textural display in
this rustic Savannah home
. The helmets were given to Kelsey and Erik by a Frenchman at their favorite thrift store and they filled in a grid layout by drawing in the ninth helmet themselves.
The mantel trim and framed wall are
painted tone-on-tone colors
this Philadelphia row house
to create a quiet, but breathtaking display. A
textural stack of books
gives purpose to the non-functioning fireplace and brings in warmth from the pages instead of the usual visible spines.
This colorful English home
showcases a vintage
collection of miniatures
and a row of small succulents in clay pots of various sizes lines the mantel shelf below. The old typographer’s tray keeps the small pieces secure and out of the way, but visible for discussion or reflection.
Loose artwork prints paper-clipped to the wall
and offset by a line of bronze is a simple mantel solution in
Andrew’s temporary apartment in Rhode Island
. The clip method lends itself to a gallery aesthetic and lets the artwork stand for itself in raw form without a frame or glass.
A regal, vintage
sits on a white mantel shelf in
this Brooklyn railroad apartment
. The airy blue wall behind and warm sepia portrait centered above creates a point of interest in the living space through
This approach creates symmetry with simplicity in a
London Highgate home
by pairing these
framed floral patterns
from set over the mantel and highlighted by two gold figurines. The same arrangement could be achieved using small rolls of vintage wallpaper to add color and pattern that would be easy to replace or change over time.