Because the mantel is a relatively straightforward piece to change up whenever the whim strikes, styling your mantel is a terrific décor location to develop your creativity muscle. Consider this a place where you can display any souvenirs, artwork, or trinkets that are meaningful to you. I like both filled, maximalist mantels and ultra simple mantels—the choice is ultimately yours.

Today I’m sharing some of my year-round mantel styling techniques. If you don’t have a mantel at home, don’t worry; the ideas below can be used on any open shelf!



1. Begin with a large piece of art that will serve as the focal point of your room.



This main piece can be anything from a tapestry to a mirror to a framed print, and it should fit the proportions of your room. It can be propped against the wall or hang it on the wall, depending on your preference. Consider employing an unusual discussion piece or one that sets the tone of the room, if applicable.

Above our Heat & Glo Escape gas fireplace insert, both mantels on the main floor of our home have a significant focus piece: an antique mirror in the green family room and a piece of art in the peach room.


2. Layer multiple smaller pieces of art on top of your central item.



While I don’t use overlapping pieces to create visual depth on our mantels right now, I like the aesthetic of them. If you’re taking this path, I recommend starting with two or more different-sized objects. The central piece should be the size of a papa bear, and the overlapping parts should be the sizes of a mama bear and a young bear—they’ll instantly work well together as a group.

Overlap the medium-sized piece to one side and the little piece to the other side of the largest focal piece in the back.

3. Include decor accessories in a variety of materials and mediums, such as wicker, stone, or brass, as well as different heights.

When choosing accent pieces, choose ones made of a material (or materials) that adds a unique element to your area. Choose something sparkling if the room contains a lot of wood. Choose something natural and earthy if it already feels sleek and dazzling. To add even more visual appeal, I like to bring in things of various heights. Mix and combine until you’ve arrived at a satisfying result.


4. Include a live element in the form of a plant.



Plants instantly infuse a room with life. Choose something with mass, such as a fern or a structural plant like an aloe vera plant. Don’t forget about the pot! It can provide a splash of colour or pattern to a room.

5. Change out things and artwork on a seasonal basis (or whenever you particularly feel like it).

A mantel is a live, breathing representation of your interests and likes. While many of us decorate ours during the holiday season, there’s no reason we shouldn’t do so throughout the year as well. Consider arranging yours in a more romantic fashion with a mix of vases and flowers as we approach Valentine’s Day. When fall hits, add more rustic textures like reclaimed wood and a sprig of golden leaves from outdoors. Get creative and have a good time while doing it!