Spencer Greenwald | June 28, 2024

How to Decorate a Mantel with a TV Above — Plus Ideas for Decorating Your Fireplace Mantel

For those of us lucky enough to have a fireplace — or even better a working fireplace — fall and winter are exciting times of the year. From Halloween decorating tips to sprucing up with greenery (like garland) and stockings for Christmas, you likely already have an idea about how you want to decorate your mantel for the holidays.

But what about before and after the holidays? What is the best way to style and decorate a mantel so it looks great all year round? You can easily style above the fireplace with a mirror, candlesticks, or a piece of art, but if you — like so many people — have a TV mounted above the fireplace, it can be tricky to add some aesthetic quality to your mantel without sacrificing your TV-viewing experience.

We have some ideas for decorating your fireplace mantel so your living room or den looks stylish through the holidays and beyond!

STANDARD FIREPLACE HEIGHTS & DIMENSIONS

As the saying goes, “measure twice and cut once”. While this adage traditionally refers to sewing, it also comes in handy when decorating — especially if that DIY decorating requires drilling and making holes in the wall. So what better way to honor this adage than understanding some common dimensions you might encounter when decorating above the fireplace?

Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes. From wood burning fireplaces with a traditional mantelpiece to a minimalist look with a modern glass insert, before you can think about decorating above and around your fireplace, you have to know what you’re working with.

Amidst all this variation, fireplaces do have some standardization. For instance, the mantel is typically 4.5’ above the hearth, and mantels are approximately 3 to 6 inches wider than the firebox

Understanding the dimensions of your specific fireplace is half the battle. So grab a measuring tape and measure the depth, length, and height of your mantel. Jot down these measurements and keep them handy as you shop. Once you've measured your mantel and firebox, you should have a general idea of the size and scale of the home décor pieces you can add.

 

3 FIREPLACE MANTEL DÉCOR IDEAS

To decorate your mantel, start by taking some cues from the room you’re working with. What is the general style? Is it mid-century modern, with clean lines? Think, Mad Men. Or maybe you have a more traditional style with ornate wood pieces. 

Take inspiration from the style, color palette, and vision — including the visual interest you want at the forefront of the room (for example: are you looking for the focus to be on a TV, a piece of art, or a piece of furniture?) — you already possess and build on it, or contrast it, with some of your décor.

IDEA #1. ARRANGE THE MANTEL WITH SEASONAL DECORATIONS

It’s only fitting that décor ideas for above the fireplace incorporate the seasons, and make it fun!

Looking for summer or spring mantel ideas? Incorporate items that can be used in multiple ways: take a few lemons and situate them alongside small glass vases that are filled with herbs like rosemary and thyme. Then, after a few days, switch those items out and use them (especially the lemons before they go bad!).

For fall mantel décor ideas, look to the outdoors and the pops of color that are found on trees. From oranges to yellows to reds, a mantel display with small pumpkins and leaves can get visitors into the harvest and spooky season mood.

If you’re seeking out ideas for more winter-themed or Christmas mantel design ideas, you can attach a colorful garland above the firebox or decorate your mantel with candles and festive candle holders (a Menorah would work here as well!).

Furthermore, if you don’t have any art above your fireplace, introduce some texture with a wreath, seasonal flowers, or pinecones. If your living room is displayed with a white fireplace, adding these items that have a more tangible look and feel to them will only highlight the coziness of the room.

IDEA #2. DISPLAY YOUR ART OR A MIRROR

Another obvious above-the-fireplace design idea is a mirror or some art. This is to say, the mirror and your art pieces need to be the correct proportion with your mantel and hung at the correct height.

Here are a couple rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • Your art or mirror should be two thirds the size of the mantel. For example, if your mantel is 72”, you need to find a piece of art that is 47” wide.
  • Make sure you pick the right height and hang your art piece or mirror no less than 6” and no more than 12” above the mantel.
  • If you’re opting for a tall or more vertical piece, don’t forget you can use the mantel as a shelf and forgo hanging all together.

Once you’ve determined the proper dimensions of the piece of art you need, make sure you pick a piece with a frame that is cohesive with the rest of the furnishings and colors in the room. And remember, measure twice and cut once!

IDEA #3. PLACE YOUR TV ABOVE THE FIREPLACE

Like art, the first rule of thumb when placing your TV over the fireplace is to choose the right size TV. We have a very comprehensive guide about choosing the right TV based on surrounding furniture and where to hang it in relation to your seating area.

While some people may balk at the idea of detracting from a classic focal point, like a fireplace, with a flat screen TV, the honest truth is, many households watch TV — an estimated 122.4 million, in fact.

So why, if it’s such an integral part of home life, are we trying to hide it?

If you place your TV above the fireplace, just make sure to pick a tv that fits and hang it at the right height. From there, we recommend displaying your TV on a MantelMount, like the MM815 Motorized Drop Down & Swivel TV Mount, so you can remotely-move it into the perfect TV-viewing position when you use it, and tuck it away when you don’t.

Better yet, every MantelMount has the ability to come forward far enough off the wall to clear any décor items you pick to decorate!

 

 

HOW TO DECORATE AROUND A FIREPLACE MANTEL WITH A TV ABOVE

Yes, we’ve already talked about the mantel, but there are some differences when taking into consideration décor, a fireplace, and a television. That said, you might be way ahead of us and you’ve already mounted your TV above the fireplace. In which case, there are still some ways you can decorate in the space between your mantel and the bottom of your TV so your living room focal point looks great all year round.

If you have yet to mount your TV above your fireplace, well, buckle up because we have a few fireplace decorating makeover ideas for you.

IDEA #1. DECORATE WITH A SMALL VASE AND WISPY BRANCHES

Just because you have a TV above your fireplace does not mean you need to sacrifice on style. Arrange some wispy or thin branches in a low-profile vase and place it along the TV’s edge or in a corner. Branches of eucalyptus with gaps between each leaf won’t obstruct view, or you can try something leafless like dried flax, canary grass, or lunaria.

IDEA #2. FRAME YOUR FIREPLACE WITH A FLOOR LAMP OR BOOKSHELF

Technically this isn’t an above-the-fireplace décor idea, but it serves the same purpose as placing a seasonal wreath over the mantel or a large piece of art: it creates a focal point in the room. To achieve this look, search for a statement piece that sits taller than your mantel.

If you opt for a floor lamp with an arched light, you may need to turn it out slightly so you aren’t blocking your television. Whether it’s a floor lamp or your new bookcase on one side of the fireplace, make sure to create some balance with a hanging plant on the opposite end of the mantel or a low-profile plant like a bowl of succulents or pothos.

IDEA #3. SMARTLY DECORATE WITH ART

Why do we say smartly? Because we wouldn’t necessarily recommend leaning a piece of art against your TV for the sake of decorating your mantel. Instead, try using the wall space to the left or right of your fireplace to hang some art.

Remember, the center of your art piece should be about 57-60 inches from the floor. So if you’re hanging a series of stacked pictures of various sizes, make sure to place them accordingly relative to that eye-level height of 57”.

There are a lot of ways to have fun with your décor even if you’re using your fireplace surroundings to display your TV. But hopefully some of these ideas will help you get started!