Fireplace Mantel Styles For Your Home

12 Minute Read

As the weather cools down, many of us look for ways to increase the cosy factor in our home – autumn and winter are peak hygge seasons, after all. Once we’ve prepped our home for autumn, including getting the chimney swept, we’re just waiting for the first chilly evening, so we can light a fire and snuggle up. Fireplaces are a great way to bring character to a space, and so if you have one, it is definitely well worth making the most of them, and your mantel.  

What are mantels?

Mantels are simply frames that surround the fireplace, and are usually in place when you buy a house. However, some styles look pretty dated – which means that revamping a fireplace and mantel is often in the agenda when people have moved into a new home. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to refurbish a fireplace and mantel, and there are thousands of DIY projects to be found for inspiration online. 

What are the purpose of a fireplace mantel?

Traditionally, mantels were there to stop smoke from escaping from the hearth into the main area of the room, but today they’re mostly decorative, and not strictly necessary. However, today many people like them to help make a room feel cosy, for adding decorations to, and to help the fireplace to feel in keeping with the style of the room. 

What are the different types of mantels?

There are two main types of mantels – a full surround, and a shelf. Full surrounds tend to be a much more decorative, and really draw the attention in the room, and so they’re much more suited to bigger rooms. Shelf mantels are simple, and because they are more minimalist, they often suit modern homes. 

Rustic Mantels
Rustic Modern Fireplace

What materials can be used for mantels?

When you’ve decided which type of mantel you prefer, you can decide which material you want your mantel to be made from. There are many materials that mantels feature:

  • Rustic and traditional mantels often feature wood, different types of natural stone and rock, and limestone 
  • Industrial mantels might incorporate metals and brick
  • Minimalist styles can incorporate marble, tile, glass, or manufactured woods

When you’ve decided which type of mantel you prefer, you can decide which material you want your mantel to be made from. There are many materials that mantels feature:

What styles are mantels available in?

As you would expect, there are mantel styles to suit all tastes and interior design styles, from sleek modern, or industrial styles; rustic, beachy styles; right through to traditional, ornately crafted styles such as Victorian ones. Many modern mantels are simpler, using a simple shelf like our rustic oak mantels, or simple floating shelf designs.

Rustic Fireplace Mantel Ideas
Rustic Wooden Mantel Ideas

How Do I Style A Fireplace Mantel?

As the fireplace is very often the centre of the room, if you don’t get the styling right it can feel ‘off’ – and you’ll end up changing it to make it work.

1. Find your anchor piece - Getting the big piece that you want to feature on your mantel first can help you to decide what else might work alongside. You might choose a mirror, photo or piece of art, or maybe an ornament. Once you’ve decided on your anchor piece, then you can look at adding greenery, photos, and ornaments.

2. Decide on symmetry - You can style your mantel so it is symmetrical – such as with a plant on either side, or matching candlesticks – or asymmetrical. If symmetry feels too perfect (which can be the case in more eclectic styling) then an asymmetrical look can work much better. Try to keep the visual weight balanced, so that whatever is on display doesn’t look odd. Don’t forget though, contrast is important – so having items of different heights, as well as different textures, is important.

3. Remember that less is more - Rather than having loads of items stacked on your mantel, try grouping objects such as candles in threes.
4. Don’t worry about perfection - Sometimes, the less perfect your mantel looks, the better! If everything looks a bit too organised, then try placing ornaments on top of a stack of books, or a decorative box – there are no correct rules here.

5. Layering items can work too - If you’ve got more than one anchor piece that you’re considering using, play around with them – you may find that two or more pieces work together to bring a completely different, and unexpected look.

6. Add greenery - House plants, or cut flowers really up the homely factor, and since the fireplace and the mantel is the centre of the room, displaying your succulents, flowers from your garden, a trailing plant, or even cuttings that you’ve taken can really bring the space to life. 

Fireplace Mantel Decor
Christmas Mantel Ideas

Checklist to making your fireplace look the bees knees 👌

Although there are plenty of things to do around the home, year in, year out, there are a few jobs to be done in the autumn that can really make a difference to how much you’ll enjoy the fall. As every home is different, your own personal checklist might look different to this one, but these are some of the tasks that are well worth checking.

✅ Adding logs so your fireplace looks ready to light anyway, even if you’re not lighting it
Stack firewood in a basket to make it look ready to light
✅ Collect clusters of candles – real or battery powered (you don’t have to light them if you’re just decorating!)
Add a pretty fire guard, something that looks nice, (but is functional at the same time!)
Use it as a frame for an antique, or large ornament
Paint it a different colour – whitewash it, or paint it all a darker colour
Decorate with Plants! 
Add an electric log burner to get the effect without the clean-up, always an option if you dont have a chimney.

Final Thoughts

What you decide to do with your fireplace and your mantel will very much be determined by the style of your home, and who lives with you. Children and pets are likely to mean you need to be a bit more careful – trailing plants, candles and delicate ornaments are probably not on the agenda.

But your mantel should reflect your personal style as much as possible – just like your shelves. Many of the tips that we shared in our #shelfie post can be applied to your fireplace mantel too, so it’s well worth taking a quick read of that post for more ideas!

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