Easy DIY Mantel Decor: 5 Objects to Always Use

style your mantel feature

The mantel over your fireplace is an excellent place to showcase objects that are meaningful to you and beautiful to admire. Mantels are also nice because they function like nice big shelves, so you can leave your decorative objects as they are year round, or swap out seasonal items to always have a fresh new look.

5 Decor Objects to Give Your Mantel Style

  1. Candles
  2. Greenery (Real or Artificial)
  3. Mirror or Artwork
  4. Something Unique or Unexpected
  5. Something Metal (Rusty or Polished)
DIY mantel
I made my own mantel! See the post here.

This brick fireplace wall did not have a mantel when we bought the house ten years ago. So, I have not had a mantel in our upstairs living area for the past ten years, even though I always wanted one! But this year I finally made and installed a long floating mantelpiece, and it has been so much fun styling it and moving things around until I get just the look I’m going for.

Sometimes, however, mantels can be intimidating or overwhelming to style. I’d like to suggest gathering five different elements that you probably have somewhere already in your house to use. Bring your mantel-worthy objects into the living room and get ready to create a mantel masterpiece!

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Here are my top five go-to items to style any mantel with ease and confidence:

Gather items from around your home

Before you rush out and buy a bunch of random items to style your mantel, shop your house first! So often, we have already accumulated lots of cute and functional items over the years. Creating a welcoming home is not about spending lots of money on trendy decor objects. Grab a tote bag and wander through your house, gathering any and every potential mantel decor candidate you find.

Once you’ve gathered all of your possible mantel material, bring it to the room where your mantel is and set it on the floor, sofa, coffee table, or along the wall. It just needs to be visible.

Remember: so much of beautiful home decor is trial and error. Any experienced interior designer will tell you that they don’t always get it right the first time around.

Your best practice is to gather different items from the list below, set them on your mantel and then step back and see how you like it.

If you get stuck, head to Pinterest. Search “mantel decor” and click on the pictures that appeal to you. Make a Mantel Pinterest Board. Notice the shapes and the textures of the items on the mantel, and consider these pictures your guides. They are teaching you about what you like and how you want your mantel to look. Refer back to them

PS if Pinterest isn’t your thing, just google “mantel decor” and click on images in the search results. Save those pictures you love to an album or a folder on your phone or computer. Or print them out if that works better for you.

OK, are you ready? Put on some happy music, and let’s enjoy our creative, use what you have mantel styling process.

5 Tried & True Elements of a Beautiful Mantel:

1. Candles

Don’t you just love this beautiful mantel styling from 2beesinapod? Look carefully and you’ll see that this is a look you could easily duplicate yourself.

In the center, they have this beautiful tall silver candlestick.

They also have six pretty little silver tealight votive holders set up symmetrically across the mantle.

Look how pretty and clean this simple, serene mantel is from Diane at In My Own Style. Her palette is minimal with only white for the candle, green from greenery around her home and the natural wood elements of these candlestick risers.

It looks so inviting and cozy, and you could create a similar look very easily!

2. Greenery: Real or Artificial

This mantel from Sonya at At Home with the Barkers is a great example of extending the life of your Christmas greenery for a simple winter mantel.

You can see here some cuttings from a bush in Diane’s yard. Free and delightful to look at!

I encourage you to walk around your yard or apartment complex grounds with some pruners and snip off some evergreen branches. Even twigs that have fallen on the ground look really lovely when displayed in a pitcher or a vase.

3. Mirror or Artwork

Many people already have artwork or a TV over their mantel. But if you don’t, consider using a mirror or artwork as a big focal point. You could also hang a seasonally-neutral wreath or even a large platter or silver tray.

The mirror in the above picture really steals the show. It’s such a nice, big focal point that it gives plenty of opportunity just to fill in a little bit around the edges with the mantel styling.

4. Something Unique or Unexpected

This is your chance to put your own personal stamp on your mantel styling.

Maybe it’s something small, like an old blue mason jar or a small piece of art from a friend.

Or maybe it’s something big, like branches spray painted gold in a teardrop glass vase or a garland you made yourself.

Even an architectural element, like a shutter or a corbel. Or a garden gate!

Give yourself permission to use something unexpected on your mantel.

Here are my two unexpected items: a cute little kitty that lived in my parents’ house for many years and this beautiful solid wood sphere that I bought at The Nest Fest in 2019.

5. Something Metal, Rusty or Polished

Don’t you love the metal fence piece behind everything on this mantel. What a fun way to add some visual interest.

How about a metal bust? And a telescope with some metallic edging to it?

Your metal can be muted, like the dull glow of the mirror frame in the above picture. But a contrast of metal and natural elements is usually a home run, so I encourage you to try mixing metals into your mantel decor.

Here’s How Mine Turned Out:

I was able to incorporate lots of round and informal objects to create a casual and cheerful display on my mantel.

Snipped some shrubs for a splash of greenery!
This wooden sphere is from The Nest Fest and the little blue and white planter was a Goodwill find!
This little kitty belonged to my mom. The greenery around him is artificial. I like to mix fresh and faux!
I love changing the look. I’m sure I will be switching it up again when the weather warms up!

Go forth and style your mantel!

OK, now you have some ideas of classic elements when styling your mantel.

Grab lots of things that fit the bill from your house and have fun trying different placements and different numbers of objects on your mantel.

I find I get a better feel for how something looks if I snap a quick picture with my phone. Something about it seeing the mantel in a picture helps me find things I’d like to tweak. Then I just keep moving things around and taking pictures until it all works for me.

This is fun! There is no right or wrong. Styling is a way to express your personality and creativity. Go forth and enjoy!

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style your mantel feature

Easy DIY Mantel Decor: 5 Objects to Always Use

The mantel over your fireplace is an excellent place to showcase objects that are meaningful to you and beautiful to admire. Mantels are also nice because they function like nice big shelves, so you can leave your decorative objects as they are year round, or swap out seasonal items to always have a fresh new