Making the Most of Your Mantelpiece


Though sometimes we are faced with fireplaces that no longer serve their original purpose, they still make for great focal points in a room. Regardless of whether your fireplace is functional or not, gas or wood-burning, the mantelpiece above is a wonderful, creative opportunity. Certainly some mantelpieces can stand alone, be it an intricately-carved wooden mantel or a striking piece of marble with dramatic veins. More often than not though, a mantel can benefit from a few objects resting on top or something hanging above. Like any other styling project, the goal is to achieve that balance of finding pieces that look fabulous in your space but also feel perfectly effortless. To illustrate some of the guidelines we rely on for styling mantelpieces, here are a few examples from various designers who have truly nailed it…

Consider Your Groupings and Lines

To avoid having a mantelpiece that looks overly thought out, it’s important to consider your groupings. While some items can stand alone and function as an anchor or focal point, others need to be grouped together. Visually speaking, odd numbers tend to work best and since space is typically limited on a mantelpiece, the number three works well. On this particular mantelpiece, Emily Henderson not only grouped her objects with care but she also considered her lines. By selecting items of various heights, she draws the eye in and avoids the dreaded and dull flat-line look.

Select Tonal Pieces

When gathering your items to put on display, keep the colour scheme and the aesthetic of the room in mind. Although a pop of colour from a piece of art or foliage, for example, is certainly encouraged, the rest of the items should make sense within the space around them. For the mantel pictured above, Jessie D. Miller selected artwork and decorative pieces that are all in keeping with a B&W colour scheme and then added some flowers for a welcome splash of green.

Go Green

Speaking of flowers, although they are always a wonderful option for a fireplace, nothing beats the drama of a bunch of sinuous branches clipped from your backyard. The key with branches is to accept the fact that will not and should not be perfect. Embrace their varying heights and asymmetry to make the most of their sculptural effect. The wonderful thing about branches too is that they tend to have a longer shelf life than flowers. Even after the blossoms and leaves have dried and dropped off, many branches will still look stunning when bare.

Layer it up… but don’t clutter!

Even if the depth of your mantel is narrow, there is usually enough room for some layering. In this Richard Oulette living room, a piece of art was placed in front of a mirror for an unexpected but incredibly appealing look. Then, to balance things out, a beautiful piece of pottery was styled with some greenery. The composition as a whole is layered and interesting but by no means cluttered.

Still feel like you need a bit of guidance for your mantelpiece? Get in touch! Our new In-Home Styling package will make your project a breeze.