Do you stare at the mantle in your home day after day and just get frustrated that something doesn’t look quite right? You look through Pinterest photos for inspiration and try to create that warm inviting look into your home, but you need some help. When friends or family come over you want to feel confident that you’ve made the right design decisions. You want to create the most amazing mantle and decor you’ve ever seen, and fall in love with it every time you walk into your room! But where do you even start?

As simple as a mantle may seem it really is the central focal point of your home. It is usually located in the heart of your home where you like to spend time together as a family and usually displays what’s most important to you as well.  A mantle seems like such a simple thing to style, just put some “stuff’ on it and your good, right? However it can be a bit more challenging than that to get your mantle looking top notch. I would love to come to each one of your homes and help you out, but since that’s not really an option I wrote down  ”5 Steps to Help You Style Your Mantle”, that will help you create that “Designer Inspired’ look in your own home.

Step 1

Mantles come in a variety of shapes sizes and colors, but the basic steps to styling a mantle remain the same. The first step in styling a mantle is finding that main piece, the focal point, it can also be called the anchor. Generally it will be the largest item on your mantle and is usually placed in the middle. Some examples of this are a mirror, large sign, painting, picture, or something that’s framed. Whatever it is, make sure it is something that you love and makes you happy, because every time you go into that room, it is what you will see first.

Step 2

The next step is selecting something to go on either side of your focal point. This area is also called the ‘weight’ because visually it adds weight to the sides of the focal point and helps hold it down. Naturally your eyes are going to first go to focal point then to the sides (visual weight). So the items on either side of the focal point doesn’t have to be identical, but they can be. Just make sure they are similar in size object and that their height is slightly lower than the focal point. It also does not have to be the same material as your focal point either. I think some of the best mantles are those with different materials in each item and can create interest and excitement.

Step 3

Next we are going to talk about the fillers. These are the items that will be placed in between the focal point and side pieces, but just slightly forward. These can be a mixture of materials just in the same design style. Examples of this are: glass, greenery, wood, metal, small signs, small vases. Shiny or matte surfaces are good to create a contrast which adds some excitement as well. Fillers are also good areas for adding pops of color, whether your channeling some colors of the seasons or tying in colors from your pillows or rugs. The fillers can have varying heights amongst each other, but make sure they need to be shorter than the focal point and side pieces.

Step 4

For the next step, let’s talk about layering a little bit. If on your mantle you placed everything, regardless of height in one long straight line it would be kind of boring and not very pretty or attractive. As a general rule your focal point is going to be in the back, your side pieces will be slightly in front of your focal point possible overlapping the focal point in front a little bit. Your fillers will be in front of the focal point and side pieces, but slightly overlapping. You will also stagger the filler pieces amongst themselves with some in front of the others. This helps create a visual movement and helps the eyes wander from piece to piece which is a good thing because it creates those warm and inviting emotions.

Step 5

For the final step here’s some tips for how to change up your mantle decor for different seasons.  The greenery and floral pieces can be switched out to mimic the colors of the varying seasons or holidays. You can add fun charming banners with a word or phrase that hangs on the front of the mantle and downwards. You can switch out filler pieces for seasonal pieces. If you have wreaths or topiaries change them up with fall, spring, summer or winter colors. As your changing up these pieces just keep in mind the height and size guidelines that we talked about regarding the focal point, side pieces, and fillers. And don’t forget to layer and stagger the pieces to create that show-stopping holiday mantle.

I hope these “5 Steps to Style Your Mantle” will truly help you create that amazing mantle you’ve been wanting in your home. 

For a little more guidance I’ve included some of my favorite decor pieces for mantles. There are also clickable links below the picture.

Glass Vase

Eucalyptus Stem

Letter M


Round Mirror

Stack of Books


Light Grey Vase

Cream Vase

Round Tray


Jessica Harris | Jessica Harris Interiors

Hey, I’m Jessica, I have a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design, I have been working in the Interior Design Industry for 14 years, I’m a mom to 4 kiddos, and I’m married to a hard-working Idaho farm boy. I am located in Southeast Idaho and I love how the beautiful scenery changes with each passing season! I’m a stay at home mom by day, and a designer by night (the best of both worlds!) I love the transition that happens as a dull room becomes a beautiful and functional space. I’m able to work with all types of budgets, big or small. As a designer, my goal is to create the dream you have for your space. I look forward to working with you.

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