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How to Style Your Mantel

Interior Design Guide

In small homes and apartments, chances to decorate can feel far and few between. One place where homeowners often overlook the opportunity to exhibit their personal style is the living room mantel. Whereas open bookshelves blur the line between storage and style, a mantel is purely decorative, and can be dedicated to your personal style. Styling your mantel rarely involves any permanent or significant alterations, so you can try out unconventional combinations for a bold new look. Follow our guide for a tasteful mantel makeover.

Keep scale in mind

mantel scale books art

A successfully curated mantel includes a combination of larger and small pieces. Like a gallery wall, start with the bigger pieces, and then add in the smaller objects, to heighten the juxtaposition, and fill out the space.

Image via Design Sponge.

Add in art

mantel art

Whether you go for a larger piece on the wall above your mantel, or a few smaller pieces stacked up against each-other, adding art to your mantel is a great way to exhibit your personal taste.

Image via House Beautiful.

Mix colors

colorful mantel bold vivid

Mantels are a great way to experiment with bright and vivid color combinations. If your mantel or wall is a neutral color, adding colorful accents can be a great way to spice up your living room. Almost nothing that you do to your mantel is permanent, so try out unlikely combinations, and see what sticks.

Image via Apartment Therapy.

Go for layers

layered mantel big small

Like any other area in your home, a layered and textured approach is key to striking a balance. Layer smaller freestanding items against larger, thinner objects. 

Image via Emily Henderson.

Paint your mantel

painted mantel DIY

And if you can’t find any colorful objects to display on your mantel, then paint the mantel itself! For a more subdued look, pick a neutral color. Or pick a brighter color that matches with other pieces in your living room. Keep in mind, this is one of the few mantel stylizations that can be difficult to adjust, so pick wisely.

Image via HGTV.

Balance the Natural with the Modern

mantel natural modern

When it comes to styling your mantel, it’s all about striking a balanced contrast. Add in a few pieces that incorporate natural elements, and contrast them with more modern sculptural items.

Image via HGTV.

Candles

candle mantel

Whether you’re looking to counterbalance or compliment existing elements, adding candles to your mantel can give your living room a needed spark of inspiration.

Image via Memorable Decor.

Turn your Mantel into a bookshelf

mantel bookshelf

If your mantel is deep enough, and you want to show off your bookish side, then use your mantel as a bookshelf. Pick some of the more vibrantly colored books from your collection, so you can contrast them with the other objects on your mantel. Just make sure that your coveted first-edition Hemingway doesn’t fall into the fireplace.

Image via Pinterest.

HAVING PROBLEMS WITH YOUR DIY? Email us! Our senior designers are here to offer free advice.