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How To Style A Mantle-The Basics

How to style a mantle the basics City Farmhouse

When we first moved into our home I remember feeling completely overwhelmed. We had been living with my father in the top floor of his house {my childhood home} which was probably a total of 750 sq. ft., so to move into this home where everything was big and grand was an adjustment. I like quaint & cozy, and I know how to decorate quaint & cozy spaces, so this was a bit unnerving for me. What to do, where to start and with a 1 & 5 year old, where would I find the time. For a while I was coasting, making bad design decisions because a. we were house poor and b. I was so exhausted {my little one NEVER slept and neither did I} I couldn’t think straight.  I followed a few blogs at the time & I felt pressured to get it pretty & perfect. It all  changed when I decided to take things at my own pace. I had waited so long to have this house, why was I going to rush through it. With this realization, decorating our home became fun again and it was shortly after this that I began my blog:).

One of the areas in my home that was overwhelming to tackle was my fireplace mantle and if I am being honest the entire family room, but that is for another day. The mantle in our old house in Colorado was cute and the perfect size, I hung either a mirror or a piece of art and maybe a few accessories. I didn’t over think it because whatever I did looked great. Fast forward 5 years to this house, all of my experience in decorating taught me nothing on how to tackle this vast, wide and tall space, yikes!

Before Family Room Images

What else could I do but just jump in, I started experimenting with size, shape, color and texture. Through the years this mantle has seen a lot of different looks, most have been fun, a few not so much, but you do live & learn.

Abstract art to give a modern feel to this vintage cottage space {City Farmhouse}

Christmas Neutral Family Room

Bay Leaf Mantle

Basket over Mantle

Holiday Housewalk Mantle

I wanted something bold & beautiful above the fireplace that was reflective of me, that could be “all seasons.” Well, I am happy to say I finally found it, that piece that makes my heart go pitter patter. I thought in sharing my revised mantle I would also share some helpful tips and tricks for styling your own mantle, because I have learned so much through the years.

Mantle Styling-Minted Art

Isn’t it stunning?! I found this beautiful landscape at Minted, it’s called Wandering and it is perfect with my SURF + TURF color palette. It all started in THIS room and loved it so much I couldn’t stop.

Ok onto Mantle Styling…..

Lets begin…

1.Before getting started, think about your style. I know this may sound so simple but it’s important. By defining your style before you begin it will help you tremendously. A mantle should be an extension of the overall style & aesthetic of your house. I say this because it is easy to over accessorize your mantle. My mantle motto, less is more. This is something you can play around with as you go, if it feels cluttered then take a few things away, odd numbers are always best.

2. Next, you need your focal point, you want the right size for your space. Your piece should take up about 2/3 of the width of your space, maybe a little less. As for the height, that is something I just eye myself but you want it to fill the space and actually be a focal point and not disappear. Generally I would say 28″-42″ is a good height.

3. Now, choosing that focal point. Don’t be afraid to choose something dimensional, sculptural or something with texture. I have seen beautiful macramé wall hangings, a tapestry, vintage architectural details, an eclectic mirror or even an old oil painting  used above the fireplace for added interest. In addition, a collection of items can be a great styling feature, maybe dishes, baskets, paintings or even vintage woven fans {I saw something like this done by Emily Henderson}. Whatever it is, make sure it screams or gently whispers YOU.

4. So you have your focal point, now comes the layering of accessories, or NOT. This is up to you. This is trial and error for me. Honestly, I had every intention of leaving this mantle alone, with just the art but…it didn’t feel right to me. TIP-when styling anything I use my iPhone to take set up, test shots to see how I like it in an image. So often I have thought it looked perfect until I have uploaded ALL 200 photos and realize, something is pointed in the wrong direction or just looks off balanced.

Here my test shots….

Another fun tip-if you have a friend who likes to decorate, send them to her or him for a second opinion.

This was how I had it set up originally & loved the simplicity of it but I felt like it needed more height.


This first shot below was to see how it looked plain, ahh, I don’t think so. From there I brought in accessories, all varying heights, textures and metals and just moved things around until I got the height & balance I needed without it feeling overcrowded. I mentioned rules of odd numbers, they just always look best.

Tip-use your phone for staging + styling help

5. Lastly, don’t forget about the floor, adding a basket with simple birch logs adds a cozy touch.  I pulled the basket away to see if I liked a cleaner look but I opted to keep them, I liked the texture and rustic nature it brings to the space.

Mantle Styling-CF

Here are a few more shots…..

Minted Art {Wandering} + Easy Tips for Styling Your Mantle

Mantle Styling-The Accessories

Minted is my latest obsession, they have the most unique selection of décor and art for the home, all from independent artists. My boys rooms are in the works and I have found the beautiful coastal photography, abstracts and prints that are perfect for their spaces. Pop on over you will love it, plus there is something for all budgets and I love that.

Minted Art-Wandering

How to style a mantle- adding a focal point{Minted Art}

My apologies for the glare, this room gets FULL sun ALL day so shooting was a little challenging.

Mantle StylingCity Farmhouse

Mantle Styling-using a rich, earthy palette

How to Style a Mantle-The Basics

HERE is the other side of the room…

Modern Rustic Family room & leather chair

Modern Farmhouse

BEST leather chair EVER!!

This is a sponsored post by Minted, product was given in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

If you have any questions about mantle styling leave them below in the comments, happy to answer them.

Have a beautiful day!

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  1. Love the simple and the clean. The room breathes. And rooms need to breathe. Any suggestions for corner fireplaces that cannot be the focal point?

    1. Hi Cheryl, thank you! A corner fireplace mantle might be a great chance to show off a collection, maybe dishware or something rustic, with texture because you can wrap it around from one to side to the other. Also, this could be a great spot for family photos, maybe all in white frames of staggering sizes just leaned up against the wall. Good luck! Jen

  2. The post caught my eye on Insta as I’ve been struggling a bit with my mantle post-holiday. Unfortunately, we have our TV over our fireplace. Our family room is small and awkwardly shaped which is challenging 🙁 Yours looks fabulous! Less is definitely more and I love what you settled on in the end. That Minted piece really is a showstopper!

    1. Thank you Michele! We where going to do the TV as well, its hard to get around that one:). It is just so functional for a family room, maybe down the road:). Have a good one! Jen

  3. I like your mantle, however, for myself, I just get tired of art and canvas art above my fire place. It’s always been the most difficult place to decorate. I’m still trying to decide what to do with it for spring. My thoughts right now are to go with a coastal vibe. But very, not in your face coastal. .very hard to decorate it. .

  4. thank you, Jen, for your reply to my corner fireplace inquiry. For the something rustic, I located a tobacco basket on Etsy and may use that as the focal point (it is oval and the same length as that corner space) and try to keep it simple, maybe a couple of tall candleholders on each side. may need something in the center . .

    1. You are very welcome, it sounds like a great plan, let me know how it goes:). Have a good night! Jen

  5. Great job and thank you for sharing. I love the warm neutrals in the room. I’m interested in hearing more about having the fireplace and TV on opposite walls.. I do not want to put the TV over the fireplace, so I struggle with placement. Does the TV placement work for your family? Is this the main location where the family watches television? I would love to hear more about this if you’d like to share.

    1. Hi Jen,
      Yes, we do watch TV in here but we have the sectional on the other side and that is where everyone sits to watch the TV. It would be the most practical to put it over the mantle but then its the focal point and we don’t have another family area downstairs, so its multi purpose. I think as long as you have seating around the TV it should work:). Hope that helps. Have a good night! Jen

  6. Question on the tv and fireplace. How do you put all your furniture facing your fireplace when your tv is the other direction. We have that dilemna. Plus we have a HUGE window that cause glare on the tv. So stuck as to how to fix this problem.

    1. Hi Stacey, we have seating all around the room, so when watching TV we usually sit on the sectional, sometimes the boys move the chair too. But often having a good amount of seating facing both the TV and fireplace helps. It is a dilemma, we thought long and hard because we only have 1 good wall, the rest of the room is windows. Hope this helps. Jen

  7. We have a Fireplace that I want to be the focal point and the TV will be on a side wall, like you have, as well. I was going to do a single 3 seat sofa facing the TV and two swivel comfy chairs and ottomans facing the sofa. Your room looked so much more cozy though, I’m surprised and like the idea of the L sofa. Where did you find the linen sofa and leather side chair (sofa?)?

    1. Thank you Crystal, the sectional is IKEA with a slipcover from Comfort Works and the chair is from Brygt:). Thank you so much! Jen

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