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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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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