Joanna Gaines' Best Tips For Decorating Your Mantel

Time for your very own Sprucer Upper project.

If we could have Joanna Gaines wave her magic design wand in one spot in our house, our mantel would top the list. But your mantel doesn't have to be a catchall for clutter, photo frames, and perhaps the seasonal pine cone or two. Instead, you can transform it into a chic nook with a few simple moves. In a post on Joanna Gaines' Magnolia At Home blog, the Empress of Waco revealed some of her favorite tips for styling a mantel. Once you've got the basics down, we've got a few mantel decorating tips for you too.

Fireplace Decorated with Garland, Ribbon, and Lemons
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Lilt Floral Design

Joanna Gaines' Tips On Mantel Decorating

Gaines has three main tips on styling a mantel, whether you're decorating for the holidays, trying to reduce clutter, or embracing family connections. Consider these overarching guidelines every time you put together a seasonal display. By following these ideas, you'll create a mantel that feels put together but still personal.

1. Add An Anchor

We're not talking nautical flourishes; rather, include an anchoring piece like a mirror, sculpture, piece of art, or wreath or floral arrangement to be the focal point of the space. "I always like to start with the anchor, and then build out the look from there," Gaines writes.

2. Display Some Greenery

"Plants or faux greenery add life and movement to your mantel. I typically like to stick to one type of stem, even if the vases are different," notes Gaines, who's a big proponent of fake flowers.

3. Include Some Sentimental Pieces

Gaines calls it "layering;" we call it bringing the heart into the home. "If your anchor piece seems to be dominating the mantel, layer other visually interesting details in front of it, such as family photos, artwork, or more personal items, like framed handwritten letters, kids' drawings, or a favorite quote," shares Gaines.

More Tips On Decorating A Mantel

Now that you've got the basics down, we have more tips for you to consider when decorating around the fireplace. Try one of the following decorating ideas the next time you think about rearranging your knickknacks. Now, who wants to join us in grabbing the duster and re-styling the mantel?

Use Symmetry For A Formal Look

If you're the type who likes to have identical planters flanking the front door, you can achieve that same formal, symmetrical look on the mantel. Try placing two matching candlesticks, vases, or planters on either side of the large mirror, painting, or plant you have centered on the mantel. You can still layer in smaller, more personal objects around your symmetrically placed duo.

Create A Collection

You can achieve a more casual, eclectic look on the mantel that still feels put together by building a collection of decorations or memorabilia. This could be your prized collection of vintage pottery, an assortment of candles and decorations in fall colors, or a grouping of natural finds you've picked up off the beach.

Layer Your Display

Instead of lining up your decorations in a row, try layering them. Place the largest objects in the back and the smallest in the front. Rather than trying to achieve symmetry, group the objects so that their weight feels balanced.

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