The mantel is one of the best places to showcase your personality and tastes, but it can sometimes feel hard to style, as it’s usually the focal point of a room. Try these styling tips for a gorgeous mantel!
The Best Mantel Decor Objects
Not sure what objects to put on your mantel in the first place? These are always tried and true winners!
- Ornate/decorative picture frames
- Candlesticks – brass, silver, porcelain, etc. it’s up to you!
- Small statues or busts
- Stacks of books – show off your favorite recent reads or pick up a stack of old books at a thrift store!
- Decorative plates on stands
- Clocks – it doesn’t have to function as long as you find it interesting!
- Typewriters – these make a great accent piece if you have a sturdy mantel.
- Eucalyptus or other greenery – fill the final empty space in the front of the mantel and put it in your vases
- Small treasures – start a little collection of those adorably tiny figurines, globes, and other super smalls that fill the shelves of thrift and antique stores.
Layering and Variation
One of the best ways to add interest to your mantel is to layer variously sized and shaped objects, flowers, and greenery in front of each other to take up the entire width of the mantel — that’s why Christmastime mantels with garland always look so full and beautiful! When you’re layering and adding more decorations, be sure to leave some space in between each, as there’s a difference between the “cluttercore” style and just plain old overcrowding.
Accent Pieces and Connection
Place one large accent piece in the center of the mantel and flank each side with smaller, matching objects. Almost anything will work as an accent piece — a large mirror, a big floral arrangement, a larger potted plant, or even an antique oil lamp. As you’re collecting pieces for the rest of the mantel, try to keep a loose theme going whether that’s simple vintage objects within a color scheme or a full-on collection of mid-century atomic-age wire sculptures.
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Odd Numbers and Symmetry
These two design “rules” may seem diametrically opposed, but they actually work together to create beautiful vignettes around your home, especially on the mantel. Try to group objects in odd numbers whenever possible, as it will always be more visually interesting than even numbers. For symmetry, work to have mirror image groups on either side of the mantel and/or your accent piece.
Utilizing these rules doesn’t mean that you have to have odd numbers of everything! For example, if you have four brass candlesticks, place them on either side of the mantel and pair them with another thing you have two of to create a group of three things — i.e. two candlesticks and a plant. This will give the pleasing visual effect of odds and symmetry without being too “matchy-matchy”.
Above all, your mantel is a space to showcase your personality, style, and the objects that you hold near and dear. Have fun with it and know that you can always change it up later!