Style Your Fireplace Mantel for Every Season

Written by Lauren Shaver
Updated April 17, 2017
white chairs, elegant living room, hardwood floors
Clean and simple mantel decor is easily swapped out as the seasons change. Tree branches in elegant vases give the mantel height, and make a statement. (Photo by Mike Fender)

The options are limitless when it comes to decorating a fireplace mantel.

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Fireplace mantels serve as the prime spot in your home to showcase your family’s personality and style. With the fireplace as the focal point of many living rooms, it can be tricky to figure out the best way to decorate it. And changes in seasons can make it even more of a design challenge.

If you need some fireplace mantel ideas, here are a few simple ways to transform your mantel into an expression of your style throughout the seasons.

Incorporate nature on your mantel

You can't go wrong with nature, and bringing the outside in is the best way to make your mantel reminiscent of the time of year.

Take a walk through your yard and snip a few flowers, branches or greenery from your garden. If you don’t have a garden, visit a local grocery store or farmers market for a fresh bouquet, or take a stroll around your neighborhood. Though you shouldn’t help yourself to plants and flowers in neighbors’ yards without permission, you can pick up and reuse fallen leaves or branches from the sidewalk or street.

leaves, autumn, fireplace
Autumn leaves create a colorful mantel display. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

In the spring, display seasonal blooms such as hydrangeas or tulips on your mantel. In summer, take a few clippings from a magnolia tree to make a wreath, or cut from hedges to make boxwood topiaries.

The fall provides a plethora of amber and gold leaves. And in winter, use evergreen trimmings from your Christmas tree (or request some from the local Christmas tree lot), and scatter them around your family’s stockings. Pine cones and winter berries keep the festive feel throughout January and February, too.  

Think fireplace mantel symmetry

Symmetry is appealing to the eye. This means displays in odd numbers give you the best results. Decorate in threes. Place lanterns or vases on either end of your mantel with a statement piece — such as a large mirror or piece of artwork — in the middle for a symmetrical look.

Pull together a collection of three pieces of art in small, medium and large sizes to layer and lean on your mantel. Use three candleholders or three books as groupings for balance. No matter what you display, symmetry is the secret.

fireplace, hardwood floors, rustic room
Creating symmetry and balance with what's on the mantel and nearby shelves is important. Sometimes simple is best. (Photo courtesy of Fountaingrove Lodge)

Create layers on a fireplace mantel shelf

Your mantel decor produces the biggest impact when you use varying sizes, shapes and textures. Incorporate different elements — such as wood, metal, glass and florals — to add dimension.

If you like the farmhouse look, use an old, painted window that’s peeling and chipped. If you like glam, throw in several metallic pieces. Whatever your personal style, identify textures and elements to convey the look you want.

Read more about DIY home project from Lauren Shaver.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on March 25, 2016.

What's your favorite way to decorate your fireplace mantel? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below. 

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