Decorating With Mantel Accessories Decorating With Mantel Accessories

When decorating with mantel accessories focus on a simple assortment of balanced pieces rather than creating clutter. Remember that you are trying to highlight the beauty of the fireplace as a focal point, not detract from it or hide it. 

Here are the simple design principles to assure proper decorating with mantel accessories.


Effective designing involves the understanding of the more subconscious visual experience known as "balance". What we see has an emotional effect on us that we are not always aware of. Something may look out of whack or not right without necessarily attaching a vocabulary to the experience. Similar to the harmonious tones experienced while listening to music. If a note is flat, one may not understand what the exact problem is, it just doesn't "sound right". One can experience a visual sharp or flat that will flatten the aesthetics of the fireplace in much the same way.

To assure a harmonious placement of your items, think 3, 5 or 7. Uneven numbers will always work better when it comes to arranging items on any horizontal surface. For example, place 2 smaller items on one side, with one weightier object on the other. Or an assemblage of 3 to 2.


When decorating with mantel accessories, do not feel as if you need to place your accents in a straight military type arrangement, with all items placed evenly in a line. Position your larger pieces nearest to the wall, and your smaller or thinner items, such as a picture frame, closer to the edge of the mantel. Think, horizontal layering. Avoid smashing everything against the wall. Pulling some items forward will draw more visual interest.

Another aspect of positioning to consider, is in respect to the design style in your home. If you are decorating with mantel accessories in a room that is formal, symmetrical placement is important. Asymmetrical placement feels more casual and relaxed.


Simple in this context does not mean an absence of splash, color or accents. It refers to avoiding the temptation to overload your mantel with too much stuff. Less really is more when it comes to decorating this area of your home. Too often the mantel becomes the catch-all for small trinkets, children's trophies, or family photos. Though each item is of value it doesn't necessarily belong on the mantel with all the other objects. Decide on the look you want for your fireplace and guard against adding items haphazardly.


Mantel accessories don't have to be permanent. Create seasonal vignettes to bring a festive feel to each holiday and then swap them out for a spring flower arrangement. Winter could include a large silver tray, a few different-sized ornate candelabras finished with blue, violet or red Christmas ornaments. Avoid stagnation and dust by creating a new arrangement every 3 to 4 months.

No matter what your interior design experience, by using these 4 simple design guidelines you will be able to create a wonderful focal point when decorating with mantel accessories.




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