Decorating Ideas for Fireplace Mantels and Walls

Get traditional, modern and country decorating tips for filling your fireplace mantel.
By: Barbara Raskauskas

A fireplace can be a focal point in any room of the home. What is placed on the fireplace mantel and the wall disguising the chimney can balance the setting and further qualify the fireplace as a focal point. Choose decorating pieces based on the depth of the mantel, the makeup of the chimney wall (like plaster or brick), and the decor of the room. Look for pieces to display that are large enough to balance the size of the fireplace. Design by Gina Fitzsimmons.


Candles are an expected feature of a traditional fireplace mantel. Two candles, perhaps in silver or crystal candlesticks, can be set on opposite ends of the mantel with a large picture on the wall between them. Or try setting two or three like or different size candles on one side of the mantel and place a tall picture on the mantel, leaning against the wall. Design by Trish Beaudet.


Fresh flowers can be added to a tall vase on one end of the mantel balanced by candles or other item on the opposite end, or the flowers can be in a low vase in the center of the mantel. A mantel clock in the center or near one end of the mantel is in keeping with traditional decor. For the wall over the fireplace mantel, a detailed painting of flowers or a homestead can add visual interest. Design by Mary Broerman.


Modern decor may call for a minimal display on the mantel. A single long piece of sculpture in the center of the mantel or a series of small pieces lined up on either end or even the full length of the mantel can show visitors your love of art. A single large piece of art or equal sized pieces set to create a window pane effect on the wall over the mantel can depict a modern edge. If bold prints are selected, the mantel can remain bare to focus attention to the art on the wall.

Country Casual

Whimsical ideas bring a homey charm to the country casual decor. Items may include: a small box-shape like sewing or fishing basket; cylindrical container like a cookie jar or pewter pitcher. Design by Erinn Valencich.

Country Casual

Try a potted plant like ivy; a whimsy piece like a rooster, star or fish on a stand; or flat, rectangular piece like a picture of a lake or a framed embroidery piece to lean against the wall.

For Any Decor

For the wall, try a large picture of a favorite, tranquil location, like the ocean or mountains so you can relax on the sofa and enjoy the view.

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