Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Design

Your fireplace and mantel are naturally the focal point in your living room, so they deserve the perfect décor. If you’re lost on where to start, these tips from Intermark Design’s Aundrea Brown will give you ideas on how to enhance this piece of your cozy living room style.

Here are the 6 main tips Aundrea recommends to get you started on how to decorate your fireplace.

Dimension and Texture

If you have a stone fireplace, paint the stone a solid color like white and add a wood mantel. When you keep a solid color such as white or black on the stone and pair that with a wooden mantel piece, you create dimensional texture while still maintaining a clean look.

Decorative Accents

To keep up with current trends, add some gold or matte black accents. Allow for the area above your mantel to really draw your eye in by adding a large mirror or piece of artwork.

A general rule of thumb to follow: make sure the mirror or artwork you choose is around the same size as the fireplace opening, keeping everything in good proportions.

For example, if you choose to have a gold mirror or your favorite painting in a champagne-colored frame resting on the mantel, you could add matte black accents like candlesticks or smaller black picture frames. This gives you a bit of variety in your decor so that it is not all exactly matching.

Spice it up!

Wrap Your Mantel in Metal

This is another place where you can incorporate matte black or gold for a trendy feel. You could even choose to wrap your wooden mantel in copper if you prefer that look.

A sheet of metal that wraps around your wooden mantel adds a unique touch by adding a little bit of shine and a different texture to the space.

Small Barn Doors

Add small barn doors at your fireplace opening instead of a screen for a more industrial appearance.

If you’ve had a fireplace before, you know that moving the screen(s) in and out can be a nuisance. Opting for doors that can glide and slide along a track can make it easier than ever before to open and close your fireplace.

Barn doors in this spot always add a stunning look and could be more modern or traditional depending on your taste.

Smaller Fireplace Mantel Decor

Aundrea suggests sticking to odd numbers for your decor, preferably groups of 3 or 5 pieces.

“I think the best rule is to stick to 3 smaller accessories with a larger piece of art. It tends to look better when you have groupings of odd numbers rather than even.” You can also play around with objects of different heights when you decorate your mantel. The character of a large mirror can be exaggerated by a tall houseplant and a short stack of books.

Living Room With Decorated Fireplace Mantel

You want your guests’ eyes to explore the details you’ve put together once they are locked into this focal point.

Avoid Over-Decorating

The most important thing to remember when you are decorating the mantel is maintaining balance. Avoid mixing more than 2 metals—i.e., gold and black or gold and silver—as the space could get overcrowded.

You also want to stick to Aundrea’s rule of having only 3 or 5 items grouped together: a large item will offset 2 or 4 items with it.

Your decorations will also depend on the existing patterns in the space. If you have stacked stone surrounding the fireplace, you would want that to be your focal pattern. Avoid adding too many other layers around that.

Decorating your mantel does not have to be hard work.

“The first thing I would do is to tell the person to collect 2 or 3 images that they love and try to figure out what they love in the photos. Then, use this and make it your own,” says Aundrea.

For example, maybe you have framed blueprints and love that look because you’re an architect and identify with that art. Add those framed blueprints to your mantel! If you prefer to steer clear of any clutter whatsoever, then go for extremely simple décor. Even just a solid paint color without extra decor provides the perfect focal point.

Living Room With Painted Fireplace Mantel

How will you decorate your fireplace and mantel this coming season? Tag us @mihomes to show us your design work!


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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