When you visualize a fireplace mantel, what do you see? For me, it’s a quintessential fall display, complete with pumpkins (and pumpkin-scented candles!), gourds, and dried grass accents. A bright holiday mantel with stockings, ornaments, and frosted evergreen branches comes a close second.
All that to say, mantels experience their decorated peak in the latter half of the year—but what about the other six months? It wouldn’t be right to leave your mantel bare, but it can also be tricky to put together a cohesive non-seasonal arrangement. If you’re in need of some inspiration for a year-round fireplace mantel display, here are 13 of our favorite ideas. I know I’m bookmarking several of them for the day I (finally) have a mantel of my own!
Plants, Plants, and More Plants
As someone who finds any excuse to buy more plants, I might be biased, but I really don’t think you can ever go wrong decorating with them. This lovely ledge, courtesy Jungalow's Justina Blakeney, features a lush, happy plant and some monstera stems alongside an oversized painting and a few trinkets. Just be sure not to light a fire if you decorate with real plants—chances are they won’t appreciate the heat.
Calming Natural Decor
This all-neutral concept by Sarah Jane Interiors is minimal in all the best ways. It has a wonderfully serene, understated vibe with its shabby mirror, old door panel, and dried grass, and it’s incredibly calming. If you’re like me and enjoy no-fuss decorations, this may very well be the way to go.
If your garden is bursting with the most beautiful blooms, you can bring their happy vibes indoors by displaying them on your mantel. Here, pink and purple flowers are the star of the show, simply lined up in mismatched vases. (Psst, make sure to also check out this Instagrammer’s feed for pictures of her adorable pet ducks!)
If you want to create a display you love, start with items that are meaningful to you! This lovely mantel from Live Oak Nest integrates a variety of objects—sheet music, books, teeny pots. Don't worry if the items seem a bit mismatched, they'll come together.
Bold, Bright Artwork
Fireplaces and their mantels are naturally the focal point of any room, and you can make them pop even more with a piece of bright, eye-catching artwork. This stunning display from Brooklyn home goods store Collyer’s Mansion includes an oversized painting with vibrant colors that tie into other pieces of decor in the room. The art is flanked by a set of candlesticks and a trio of matching vases, using the Rule of Threes to create a well-balanced display.
Pattern and Shape
It can be tempting to use matching sets of vases or candle sticks on your mantel because, well, you know they’ll match, but something magical happens when you mix together items with different patterns, shapes, and textures. In this case, everything is tied together with the black and blush color scheme. Also, those plants…!
Perfectly Imperfect Greenery
This mantel from The Curated Farmhouse feels like spring (though, you could easily tweak its plant-centric design to suit any season). The mirror is draped with branches, and there is all sorts of happy greenery peeking out from the miscellaneous vases and pots. The beauty of a design like this is that it doesn’t have to follow any rules: nature is imperfectly beautiful, and your mantel can be, too.
A Whimsical Wall Display
Who says your mantel decor has to actually be on the mantel? This arrangement by Celebrated Nest uses an array of boho wall baskets that seemingly float up and away from the mantel (don't miss the cute quote in the center of it all). And while the finished product looks effortless, the image caption reveals the real truth: It took a lot of misplaced nail holes to get it together. Sometimes trial and error is the best way to go!
Sometimes you have to keep it simple to let the rest of the room shine. This space is packed with bold design choices—from the paint color and accent wallpaper to the chandelier and crown molding—so a busy mantel might have been too much.
Simple Staples, Seasonal Accents
This thick, distressed wood beam mantel is absolutely dreamy! The blogger behind Hip & Humble Style uses a plain mirror and a few bottleneck vases as the foundation for her display, with a few candles and greenery as accents. Then, she popped in a few seasonal items to honor the time of year without having to completely redo the whole arrangement.
Mirrors of All Shapes
Instead of using art in assorted sizes, you can also create a similar effect using mirrors. (A great way to make a small room look larger, FYI.) We love the mismatched shapes and finishes of these mantel mirrors, which are flanked by a few leggy plants in simple pots. No need to spend too much on new mirrors, either—just head to your local thrift shop to look for some secondhand treasures, which are sure to have more character, anyway.
A Cohesive Art Gallery
We love this home for its clear color scheme and complementary art—some picture frames lean on the mantel, while others hang on the wall. Even if dark browns and green aren’t your thing, you can use the same idea to create a gallery wall over your mantel.
If you have a distinctive piece of art that you particularly love, there’s no better place to show it off than over your fireplace. These two paintings instantly pull the room together, and they don’t need much support besides two sconces and a few plants. Just like that, an all-season mantel that you’ll love looking at.
What's sitting on your mantel? Tell us in the comments below!