The Failproof Formula for Styling A Fireplace Mantel

The perfect focal point.

By Cristina Cleveland

I’ve been loving all of the cozy winter inspo of fireplaces and perfectly styled mantels that I’ve been seeing lately – even though I don’t have a mantel of my own yet! If, like me, you’ve studied many a mantel then you start to see a recurring formula that always looks just right. Whether it’s modern, traditional, or a happy mix of both, this will help you create the perfect focal point in your room. If you don’t have a fireplace, no worries! I’ve put these tips into practice on my sideboard and it works just as well.

A giant mirror.

Take a page from the Parisian apartments and start with a giant mirror to add height and light to your mantel. Art can look good too, but mirrors have the added benefit of making the room look bigger and create a neutral backdrop for everything else you put on your mantel.


It may seem counterintuitive to add candles to what is basically one large candle, but candlesticks are really good for creating differing levels of height in your vignette. They also look wonderfully traditional, and lighting them on a winter night adds to the coziness factor of your living room.

A plant.

It’s all about creating a variety of levels. A bouquet of flowers, eucalyptus, or even a fake frond give an organic shape and add life to your mantle.

Layer frames.

To give depth to your vignette, layer a smaller frame in front of a larger frame. Leaning the large frame against the mirror creates a casual effect that makes the whole thing less stuffy.

White space.

Resist the temptation to fill your entire mantel with stuff! It can start to feel cluttered when you have too many small items lined up next to each other. Channel Coco and tell yourself, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”… your mantel.

An objet d’art.

This term just means an art object, which is wonderfully broad and can basically be anything you like. It can be a vase, a sculpture, or any object you like the look of. Be creative! A shoe, a teapot, a toy, a piece of wood – anything works. And when you get tired of it, switch it out with something else!

Rule of thirds.

When grouping items together on your mantel, keep in mind that things generally look best grouped in threes or odd numbers, and with varying heights.

Shop the post:

Photo of nick_nemechek‘s home by @pernille.vest and @selliottphotoBrass mirror Anthropologie, monstera leaf cb2, black vase cb2, pottery Caribe Casual Shop, owl sculpture Caribe Casual Shop, Mick Jagger print TRNK, wood candlesticks House of Zingara,  eclipse print astroephemera