5 Simple Tips for Styling a Minimal Fireplace Mantel!

Mantels can be the #1 magnet for attracting a plethora of decorative items! I knew I needed to go to a minimal fireplace mantel—while still keeping the look warm and cozy.

For years, I felt an underlying stress in certain rooms and could never figure out why. Fast-forward several years (or decades!) to now, and I’m now aware of why. One of those reasons was visual clutter! (I talk a little more about my story on that here.)

Mantels can be the #1 place for attracting a LOT of items! Thus, I knew I needed to go to a minimal fireplace mantel, but it still took me some playing around with the layout to get what I wanted.

I love that minimal doesn’t have to mean cold, austere, or something-sans-personality. Minimalism can be warm, cozy, and welcoming. It may not be for everyone, but for us, going more minimal has changed our lives!


3 Steps to Simplicity

stone fireplace with mantel styled minimally, logs in fireplace

mirror | plates | vase | basket

To style my simple, minimal mantel, here’s what I did step-by-step:

Step 1: Purpose.

First, I determined my purpose, which was the following:

to not have our mantel set off my Clutter Alarm every time I looked at it.

Step 2: Strategy.

Second, I determined how I would accomplish #1 would be to keep things as minimal as possible.

TRANSLATION: every item has a specific purpose!

Anything without a purpose has to go!

Step 3: Styling

Here are the 5 “objects” I currently have in our mantel area. I’ll share WHY I chose each of them and why they work so well.

#1) Mirror

I knew a mirror would bounce extra light around this room (which needs all the natural light help it can get since there’s only one window). Then, I chose a round mirror above the mantel because a round shape would help soften this room full of squares and rectangles. I kept the framing simple and minimal, opting for a black metal frame instead of a thicker or more ornate one.

#2) Candlesticks

I specifically used tall, thin candlesticks (with tall candles) on the mantel. This draws your eyes up and does two things: 1) helps make this fireplace area look taller and 2) helps make our ceilings look higher than they actually are!

We don’t have tall, soaring two-story ceilings in this room. We have lower ceilings and believe me, my tall candlestick trick makes a huge visual difference. (I took them down off the mantel once after getting used to them there and was aghast…couldn’t rush fast enough to quickly put them back up again!)

#3) Vase

Adding a vase was a must! This way, I can easily add a bit of greenery, because I firmly believe every view needs a green plant in it if possible! Plus I love this vase’s thin-neck shape and that brings joy, so win win! The unique shape also adds a little more interest to the mantel setup.

#4) Wood plates

The vintage wood plates were passed down to me from my great-grandfather. We use these as a flat place to set drinks while on the couch. (We have a soft ottoman instead of a coffee table, and we want to ensure any beverages in this room are on a more stable surface.) Plus, the wood tones brings some visual warmth to the white fireplace mantel, so another win win. (“Win” is such a fun word to type, by the way! I’m just getting warmed up!)

#5) Basket

The low basket gives extra texture to the mantel, is short enough to be a good contrast with the taller items, AND it holds our lighter and gas key for the fireplace! Win-win-win!

closeup of minimal fireplace mantel with mirror, vase, plates, candlesticks, and basket

mirror | plates | vase | basket


Every item has a specific function, so there are no items setting off my “Unnecessary Clutter Alarm.” Mission accomplished!

I may make exceptions for upcoming holidays and add some extra items just for fun if wanted…but even then, to me it has a short-term purpose. Then I take the extras down after that holiday or season is done and/or my Clutter Alarm goes off! (It’s always a surprise exactly when that will happen…keeps things spicy!)

fireplace mantel with white stone fireplace in living room

mirror | vase | basket

For more tips, see how we totally changed the look of this fireplace stone by simply painting it, as well as the reasons we converted from a wood burning fireplace!

Click to see our brick fireplace makeover in our master bedroom.

Should you avoid putting a TV above your fireplace?

Check out these 12 simple plaster fireplace surround ideas to ease your eyes!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ivory

    Just found your site. I love it all. Just wish I could see the entire completed diy, instead of pieces here and there. Your home for what I could see, appears to be fabulous. Thanks fir sharing. I plan to join, if I can find out how to.

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