How to Decorate Around a Fireplace

February 10, 2015 by Joe Ness

Fireplaces are beautiful, warm, and cozy…but how do you decorate around them? The big blank space above it can be daunting. Read our pointers on how to decorate around a fireplace, then dive in. Ready to be inspired?

Put a Mirror, TV, or Artwork on Top

Visualize the number 8 — a fireplace is like the bottom half, and you need something to serve as the top half to balance things out. One large object, whether circular or rectangular, will provide a visual counterpoint to your fireplace. For the best effect, try a flatscreen TV, one large piece of artwork, an oversized clock, or a big mirror (rectangular or circular). Pay attention to size — a TV or art that’s too big will dwarf your fireplace, and one that’s too small will just look silly.

decorate fireplace mantel mirror

Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

If you’ve hung your TV on the wall above your fireplace, you might have a gap between the top of the mantel and the bottom of the TV. If it looks empty, try adding a row of small votive candles, real or fake. Or use a row of low greenery or other plants to fill things in.

Accent It With Candles & Vases

You don’t have to go for perfect symmetry, but balance is key. Once you have one larger object centered on top of your fireplace, add two smaller ones flanking it on either side. (Or go for one small centered object and two bigger ones to act as bookends.)

In the photo below, both sides of the mantel are balanced even though the objects are different. Notice that the two light coral vases serve as visual anchors, evening out the two gold vases and daffodils:

decorate around fireplace artwork

Photo: Southern Living

Lighting such as candles or sconces is perfect to balance out whatever you have above the fireplace. If you have two matching lamps, your other small objects can be mismatched. Once you’ve established a little balance and symmetry, you can be more relaxed and kitschy with your other objects.

how to decorate around fireplace lighting logs

Photo: Dimples & Tangles

Try Layering on the Mantel

There’s no rule that says you can only have one layer of texture above your mantel. If you have a huge piece of art on top of your fireplace, create depth with skinny candlesticks, peacock feathers in a vase, or small plants. These accents will add dimension.

 decorate around fireplace mantel

Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

Make a Gallery Wall Around Your Fireplace

If the idea of just one object above your fireplace bores you, try a gallery wall. Add photos and artwork wherever they fit, and don’t be afraid to rearrange. You can map things out beforehand by tracing your art onto cardboard or butcher paper, then taping the outlines on the wall. Rearrange them until you’re happy — then you won’t have as many nail holes.

 fireplace decorating gallery wall

Photo: Pinterest

 fireplace gallery wall decorating

Photo: Style at Home

Put a Cozy Rug in Front

People are drawn to fireplaces for their ambiance and heat. Make it easy for someone to pull up a chair nearby, or give your pet a place to curl up by the fire. (Fireplaces are magnets for cats and dogs, after all.) A thick shag rug says, “Warm your toes here!”

 fireplace decorate shag rug

Photo: Globus Builder

You can’t go wrong with a soft, weathered armchair and ottoman next to the fire. Give friends (or yourself!) somewhere to sink in with a favorite book and a hot drink. And don’t forget a firescreen to protect people from flying sparks.

 fireplace decorating ottoman armchair

Photo: Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

I have no doubt you can figure out how to decorate around a fireplace! Tell me what you come up with in the comments, OK?

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Posted in Home Decor, Uncategorized

Tags: fireplace ideas, Fireplace Screens & Accessories, interior design ideas

  • Jake Braught

    The gallery idea is my favorite. I love freestanding fireplaces without a mantel.

  • HollyR

    I love the gallery wall too…and I WANT that cozy shag rug!

  • Chad DelMain

    I like the gallery idea as well, I’ve always been particular to one large piece of artwork above the fireplace, but I’m really digging the multiple photos idea and it especially works well with the wood burning insert type of fireplace.