Decorated fireplace mantel

We all love a roaring fireplace in the cold winter months, but they are typically one of the hardest spots to decorate. It’s a focal point in a room so you want it to shine, but it can be difficult to find the right mix of decor that works well in such a small area.

I always recommend a little decorating trick called “three plus one” – it means layering similar items in multiples, then adding another in a contrasting height. I don’t always follow the “three” part exactly, but the basic idea always works for me.

On one of our fireplaces, I added two simple candlesticks (in different heights), then a lower item that pulled in the accent color I was using in the room:


On the other side I used two items, this time bookends, that were smaller and then my “one” was a taller orchid:


Remember your decor doesn’t need to be pushed all the way to the edge of the mantel! Fill in that space a bit by pulling the items towards the middle.

Add a large mirror or art as a focal point above and you’ve got a decorated mantel that doesn’t overwhelm the fireplace:

large mirror

Again, this little trick isn’t one you need to follow exactly – you can play around with it to make it your own. Maybe three frames in varying heights on one end of the mantel, and a large vase with flowers on the other end? If you love symmetry, try two large vases on each end and a lower piece in the middle – something to anchor the display and fill in the empty space.

There are also a number of treatments you can add to the empty wall space above the fireplace as well. Adding molding detail gives the top just as much impact as the bottom and really balances it out.

I added simple wood planks above our fireplace in the family room to add some architectural interest and brighten up the space a bit:

wood planks

It was a simple afternoon DIY project that made such a difference. I started by framing out the area with simple primed boards – one on each side and one on the top:

primed board framing

Then I filled in the inside with nine boards of equal length:

installed boards in frame

The whole project only took a couple hours but the difference was significant. The cost will depend on how much wood you need. You’ll want to figure how wide and tall you want the treatment to be above the fireplace before buying your supplies.

If you choose to DIY or just decorate, hopefully these tips will help to make your fireplace and mantel a beautiful focal point in your home, so head to your local True Value store or visit to get the supplies needed to upgrade your mantel!

And for more décor inspiration, visit True Value on Facebook or Twitter and check out their DIY Decorating Ideas Pinterest board!

I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.