All Eyes Are On the Mantel With These 17 Fresh Decor Ideas

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on December 1, 2021

From bedrooms and living spaces to libraries and dens, fireplaces are a natural focal point in any room. But your chosen mantel decor can noticeably add or detract from this beautiful design element, whether you’re a tried-and-true minimalist or a more-is-more maximalist.

Just ask Vivian Torres — Havenly lead designer who knows a thing or two about designing an on-point mantel. “It’s all about striking that balance between decorative and understated,” she notes. “You want to enhance the beauty of your fireplace, not overshadow it.”

Ahead, Torres shares 17 beautiful mantel decor ideas, plus her pro tips for styling an elevated hearth. And while these ideas are perfectly primed to give your mantel a glow-up for the holiday season, they are evergreen in nature to showcase year round.

1. Layer statement artwork

mantel artwork

Art is always a great conversation starter. Find two to three prints in different sizes and layer them on your mantel (no hammer and nails needed). Feel free to mix and match frames and different artwork styles to create contrast — an abstract piece paired with a sketched drawing is a winning combination! Or try a portraiture alongside a modern moment.

2. Play with height

mantel decor

A sure way to transform your mantel into a statement moment is to play with verticality. Weave in elements of different heights: a large mirror flanked by a smaller piece of framed art, offset by a vase with tall branches and tapered candles, and a smaller sculptural item neatly tucked in front.


3. Flank with sconces

mantel sconces

Whatever your mantel vignette, flanking it with two symmetrical sconces on either side will *quite literally* shed a new light on the space. It draws the eye upward and adds a sculptural element, all while anchoring the in-between scene. Bonus: sconces help create that perfectly cozy ambiance for evening hours.

4. Lean a trendy statement mirror

mantel decor

Whether it’s circular, square, rectangular, or completely abstract, a statement mirror will add elegance to any mantel. Opt for a finish that enhances the overall design of the space, like ornate gold on crisp white paint.

5. Add a table lamp

fireplace decor

For an elevated European look, find a mini table lamp in a standout material like marble, alabaster or metal, and place it on one side of your mantle on top of a stack of books. You can also display them on both sides, similar to sconces, for a more symmetrical vision.

6. Display a personal effect

mantel decor ideas

If you have something sentimental lying around, like a postcard from a friend or letter from a beloved family member, consider enlarging and framing it for a charming, vintage-inspired look rich in meaning.

7. Showcase a travel series

photos on mantel

For a personalized touch, frame a series of moments from a favorite trip, and place them on the mantel in chronological order to tell a unique travel story. 

8. Drape greenery

greenery on mantel

While we are big fans of flower-filled vases or tall elongated greenery, there’s something a bit more wild (even special) about a potted plant proudly displayed on your mantel. Opt for something lush and full that gracefully drapes over the mantel shelf for that natural, free-spirited feel.

9. Mix in ceramic ginger jars

ginger jar on mantel

Patterned ginger jars are a time-honored hallmark of classic spaces, and they look simply stunning on a mantel. Place on one side of the mantel for a sculptural element, paired with an assortment of florals, layered artwork, and tapered candles. You can also display a full collection ginger jars in different sizes and shapes.

10. Mix-and-match patterned vases

modern mantel decor

Add visual interest to an otherwise minimalist mantel with a set of patterned vases. Mix a large, simple print like stripes with a tight aztec motif to create eye-catching contrast. Fill with both branches and greenery for even more dimension.

11. Frame the TV

tv above mantel

Now this one is a hotly debated design topic, among clients and designers alike. But here’s our stance. If you’re someone who enjoys a good movie night or Netflix binge, don’t be afraid to make your mantel home to your TV. Good news: there are a lot of more beautiful options available, like Samsung’s Frame. And you can make it feel more purposeful by anchoring with sconces (see above) and light decor on either side.

12. Lean into symmetry

moody mantel decor

When in doubt, flank a mantel mirror or piece of artwork with matching accessories. This look leans slightly traditional, and creates balance and symmetry in any space.

13. Shift off-center

asymmetrical mantel decor

On the other hand, asymmetrical arrangements lend an unexpected twist to an otherwise traditional design element. Choose one side of the fireplace, and style it with artwork and accents, leaving the other side clean and open. With a bit of styling love, the scene will look artfully intentional.



14. Go big

mantel decor ideas

Draw the eye upward with an oversized piece of art (or wall hanging) directly above your mantel. For a more modern look, display streamlined frame in a matte black paired with a minimalist black and white artwork.

15. Embrace pops of color

mantel ideas

Don’t be afraid to enliven a neutral mantel moment with a vibrant pop of color. We love weaving in colorful florals or dried botanicals (consider berries for a seasonal flair) for a richer and fuller vignette.

17. Just bead it

mantel decor ideas

For a more whimsical twist, consider draping beaded garland along the mantel (who says this can’t be a trend year round?). From raw wood and matte white to moody black and even multi-colored, the styling options are endless. 

Find even more great styling ideas when you match with your own personal interior designer — take our Style Quiz to get started today! 

Words by Kelsey Clark