How to Decorate a Mantle

Mantles are one of the big question marks that perplex my design clients and that I get queried about in my DMs- what to have on top, whether a TV above the mantle would be too high, or whether to have anything at all. Not to worry - I've taken a deep dive into my phone to find a few favorite inspiration photos I've collected over the past few years!


Please excuse the photo purge below, but I know I have plenty of readers out there that collect photos of things in their camera roll, and then never end up looking back at them. OR better yet - can't even find them when they need them. We're in this together! Here's a tip if you have an iPhone...did you know that you can search for key words like "fireplace" and voila! If they're there in your phone, you'll be able to find them more easily. You're welcome.


Now that you have a tech tip, let's get back to tips for decorating a mantle and around your fireplace. First, here are some cool, crazy ideas from High Point Market:


NON-WORKING FIREPLACE? NO PROBLEM....

Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace...Photos from High Point Market showrooms by Nancy Lane Interiors.

Artwork and sculptural items layered on the mantle while a stack of antique suitcases in graduating sizes really fills the gap of an empty non-working fireplace. Brilliant indeed!


Another idea would be to use a large sculptural object like an oversized stack of driftwood with an oversized painting to bring the eye up. The scale of the artwork really holds it's own balances the space to perfection.


As someone who loves color I adore this showroom masterpiece. Its hard to tell but each jar below was full of fabric and thread remnants divided by color. Visually stunning and a great conversation starter for sure. Be bold and think outside the box!

Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace...Photos from High Point Market showrooms by Nancy Lane Interiors.

LAYER UPON LAYER


You might have not seen oyster shells used like this but I promise it's a thing in the coastal South. Here they carried the coastal water theme up onto the mantle with layered paintings in varying sizes topped off by a long piece of found driftwood as a sculptural piece.


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace...Photos from High Point Market showrooms by Nancy Lane Interiors.


MINIMALIST


Sculptural pieces like this branch are a great way to add interest to a clean, streamlined fireplace with no mantle at all.


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace...Photos from High Point Market showrooms by Nancy Lane Interiors.


Now get ready for some of our previous design projects I regret not having all of these professionally shot (that's another story for a different day) so apologies in advance but #crappyiphoneshotsaremyjam.


ALWAYS A PLACE TO SHOWCASE ART


Traditional or modern - any art above a mantle and fireplace is good in my book (as long as you love it that is).


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

MIRROR IN THE MIDDLE WITH DECORATIVE ITEMS FLANKING

Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

ASYMMETRICAL WITH ART AND DECORATIVE ITEMS TO ONE SIDE

Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.


LESS IS MORE SOMETIMES


Sometimes less is more, and in this case, we did nothing on the mantle. I think its fantastic as is...


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

UNLESS ITS NOT...THEN USE MORE


But in other cases, that adage won't work and you don't need less, you actually NEED MORE... I give you Exhibit A, the before:


BEFORE PHOTO Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

This fireplace had nothing, not even a mantle. We designed a custom mantle and fireplace surround along with custom wall trim throughout this client's house. The change is undeniable and definitely elevated the space.


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

ADD LIGHT SCONCES


Light sconces and a tall mirror are always a good choice! Here is the same project from a different angle...


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

DISPLAY A COLLECTION


I know, how horrible am I to post this install day shot, but I think this is a perfect example of using what you love. As you can tell, major Louisiana fans live here...


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.

NEARLY NOTHING

Here's another minimalist choice, with no accessories on the mantle, although we did use a sound bar ;)


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in client projects by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.
Design: Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo: French Blue Photography

Here's a shot from my home, with our fabulous Samsung Frame TV, and a few unique pieces I love (double happiness pots and a pair of antique foo dogs that my husband gifted me one anniversary), on either side flanking the TV. I like symmetry and I cannot lie but the scale below still feels balanced to me by using a taller wider piece on one side combined with smaller but multiple pieces on the other.


Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace (in this case a Frame TV) in coastal Modern Traditional Living Room by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.
Design: Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo: Madeline Harper Photography

MIRROR + DECORATIVE ITEMS IN VARYING HEIGHTS

Examples of how to decorate a mantle or above a fireplace in this relaxed transitional living room by top Houston interior designer Nancy Lane Interiors.
Design: Nancy Lane Interiors | Photo: French Blue Photography

In all of these examples, we're looking for balance - which can mean a few different things depending on your level of decor preference, how much space you actually have on your mantle, and what style you're looking for. If you have any questions based on these photos, give us a shout out on our Instagram!


If you're struggling with design dilemmas in your own home or dreaming of a renovation project in your kitchen or bathroom but don't know where to start, don't hesitate to reach out via our contact page. We are currently booking projects for the summer /early fall so now is the perfect time to start a conversation (especially with current lead times and stock issues).

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