Decorating Ideas for Fireplace Mantels and Walls

Get traditional, modern and country decorating tips for filling your fireplace mantel.

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November 09, 2018

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Fresh Cut Flowers + A Fancy Mirror

Perk up your mantel with a gilded mirror and a few fresh floral arrangements from your garden (or grocery store). Use the posies to play with different colors in your space – or stick with white blooms and greenery for a foolproof, classic look.

Play Up Rustic Details

Pull out your writing utensils and start taking notes from this texture-rich stone fireplace. Lean into a refined, rustic aesthetic by adding a floating unfinished wood mantel and accessorize with weathered wood and a small woven mirror.

Get the How-To: How to Reface a Fireplace With Stone

Keep Things Bright + Airy

Excuse us as we lust over these wide built-in shelves that line both sides of this living room fireplace. Skip the scattered, cluttered look and maintain a bright and airy design by limiting the number of accessories you display on each shelf.

Wow With Floor-to-Ceiling Wood

This handsome living room inspires us to put down our pails of paint and embrace wood in all its glory. Bring a timeless quality to your built-ins by using a rich, deep brown wood stain and high-shine finish.

Get the How-To: How to Build a Built-In Bookshelf

Rainbow Reads

Use your treasured book collection to add a burst of color to your fireplace and shelves. Arrange the book spines by color to create a rainbow effect that is not only adorable, but also cuts down on visual clutter in the space. (Also, real talk: Arranging your reads by color is much easier than arranging alphabetically.)

Get the How-To: Resurface a Fireplace With Stucco

Opt for Elegant Arches

This Moroccan-inspired fireplace is serving major design inspo, friends. Major. The airy, stucco fireplace surround features a stone mantel and is flanked by two arched built-ins with identical spotlight sconces.

Get the How-To: Resurface a Fireplace With Stucco

Book-Lined Built-Ins

Okay, so, maybe built-ins aren’t exactly “revolutionary” when it comes to designing and styling fireplaces. That said, this high-shine, inky-black, floor-to-ceiling library wall is our exception. Enlist the shocking black hue for your shelving at home, for a head-turning design and an endless stream of compliments for many years to come.

Get the How-To: How to Build a Built-In Bookshelf

Pull Accents From Your Art Collection

Recreate the high-end, high-style appeal of this contemporary living room by arranging a selection of your prized paintings and prints together on the mantel. Pro tip: Stick to the rule of odds to ensure visual balance, and use a mix of mediums for depth and interest.

Reach New Heights

Tall, bright and handsome – this oversized abstract painting is a bona fide dream boat, people. Show off your treasured, tall ceilings by adding a similar piece above your mantel, to draw the eyes up.

Mix + Match

So, you just moved into a historic home with tons of “charm” – but your style leans toward clean lines, bold prints and vivid colors. Our advice? Don’t be afraid to play with different design styles in your space. To get the magical, modern mix seen above: Lean framed prints with vibrant colors and bold typography against your mantel to create a cool contrast with your warm-red brick wall.

Get the How-To: How to Grout Interior Brick Veneer

Mixing Modern + Cozy

This cozy cottage living room features a smoke-stained brick fireplace, flanked by snowy built-in shelves on either side. A black lacquered mirror hangs above the hearth, in lieu of a mantel. Its inky finish contrasts against the blush brick, and adds a much-needed edge to the otherwise feminine design.

How to Clean a Stone Fireplace

Embrace an Accent Hue

A chevron cement tile fireplace sits below a striking blue and black abstract painting, and is surrounded by built-in bookcases that display the homeowners’ favorite bits and baubles. Take note and eliminate potential visual clutter on shelves by embracing a single accent color. The designer used blue accent pieces that coordinate seamlessly with the painting, for an overall cohesive and crisp design.

Get the How-To: How to Build a Built-In Bookshelf

Show Off Your Green Thumb

Sometimes, sticking to natural beauty is the way to go. Arrange a few leafy branches in bud vases along the mantel, and light a few tea light candles for a soft glow.

Get the How-To: How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Stick to a Single Finish

Take the guesswork out of styling your mantel by selecting accents that all feature the same finish. The sleek black frames pair perfectly with the svelte, black candlesticks to create a cohesive, sophisticated display.

Southwestern Statement

Skip the traditional mantel all together and, instead, serve up some Southwestern flavor with this edgy boho focal point. The skull featured here appears effortless and cool paired with the soft, blonde stacked stone fireplace.

Get the How-To: How to Reface a Fireplace With Stone

Soften With Shapes

Searching for a way to soften the in-your-face texture of your stacked-stone fireplace? We don’t blame you. Display a round mirror, basket or painting, front and center, to draw the eye away from the busyness of the linear stones.

Get the How-To: How to Reface a Fireplace With Stone

Pull Accent Tones From Your Stone

Draw dreamy hues from your fireplace’s stone or tile to determine your mantel artwork. The elegant, soft gray fireplace served as the designer’s muse when selecting the warm gray and beige abstract painting overhead.

Unexpected Texture

Challenge yourself to think outside the box (or frame!) to come up with a fireplace focal piece. A mounted messenger bag and antique maps create a head-turning piece that is guaranteed to spark some fireside conversation.

Bold Contrast

Shine the spotlight on your treasured mantel by painting its surrounding shelves or walls with a shocking, vivid hue. Draw inspiration from the high-style contrast featured here, between the creamy marble mantel and lively cobalt built-ins.

Get the How-To: How to Build a Built-In Bookshelf

Create Architectural Interest

Turns out, sometimes less is more. Forgo the built-in bookcases and use wainscoting to achieve elegant architectural details, instead. The wainscoting surrounding this marble fireplace almost reaches the ceiling, adding major drama and dimension to the luxe bedroom design.

Simple + Sophisticated

If you’re lucky enough to own a fireplace as breathtaking as this one, it’s best to follow the K.I.S.S. rule when styling your mantel. As in – Keep It Simple, Silly! Arrange antiqued, brass candlesticks in varied heights as a romantic accent that will keep glowing long after the last ember burns out below.

Turn Heads With Tile + Color

Achieve an unforgettable design by decking out your fireplace surround with unique tiles and vivacious, spirited hues. This jaw-dropping fireplace features lovely lavender trim, graphic white tiling, a book-littered mantel and cozy built-in benches on each side.

Basket Case

Recreate this grand stone fireplace at home by creating a floating mantel from reclaimed wood. Round out the design by arranging thrifted or antique baskets along the mantel as earthy, understated accents.

Get the How-To: How to Install a Floating Mantel

Freehand Focal Point

Highlight the stunning veins in your marble surround with a framed sketch overhead. Delicate charcoal or pencil drawings are incredible accents, because the soft strokes mimic the airy movement of marble or other natural stones.

Shining Sconces

Achieve timeless elegance by flanking your fireplace with a pair of identical sconces. Whether you opt for ultra-ornate fixtures, or you prefer the glow emitted from more modern designs, this tried-and-true tip instantly creates symmetry and sophistication in your space.

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