More than just a place for afterthought knickknacks or assorted collectibles that have no other home, the mantel offers a great opportunity to showcase personal style.
There is no one right way to design your mantel. In fact, whether you lean toward classic, contemporary, country, or any one of the myriad of other design styles, you can easily create a stylish mantel that serves as a focal point. Follow one or more of these tips for a knockout mantel.
Layer it on
Creating a well-designed mantel is often about knowing how to layer different items with varying sizes and scales. Using a large piece of art in the center and gathering items in threes around it is one of the easiest ways to create a cohesive look. For a more modern option (but only if you're not OCD), try an asymmetrical look with your focal point off center.
A mantel is also a great place to build on a color scheme or introduce a new pop of color. Or, go for maximum contrast. "To turn an ordinary fireplace into a focal point, paint the mantel and the wall above it a color that contrasts the room's main wall color," said Better Homes and Gardens. "Base the color on another element within the room for a cohesive look."
Develop a theme
Whether your theme is beachy chic, Americana, or French country, the mantel is the ideal place to show it off.
If you're the type of person who likes to update your space frequently, the mantel is a great showcase for seasonal decor (and if you're not, it's still an ideal place for holiday decor). Holly, wreaths, and pine cones, oh my!
Hang the TV
The fireplace wall is often the best (sometimes the only!) place to put the TV. But if you want your room to be centered around the TV without it becoming an eyesore, try a disguise. "Flat-panel TVs often find a place above a fireplace. But the look can disrupt the fireplace's decorative façade, said Better Homes and Gardens. "Reclaim your fireplace's appearance by recessing the unit into the wall behind the fireplace and enclosing it with bifold doors. Here, the doors are clad in beaded-board to match the coffered ceiling."