A fireplace is often the focal point of a room, and so the wall directly above it often feels like it needs something. A piece of art or a mirror are the traditional choices, but how do you choose the right object for your space?
‘When people think of fireplace décor, they often think of the mantle, but filling the above wall space can prove most difficult,’ says Maggie Gienger, Director of Interior Design at Arhaus.
Ultimately, the right approach will all depend on the vibe you're going for with your living room wall decor. From cozy and ambient, to calming and serene, here are five designer's different takes on how over-fireplace decor can impact the mood of your space.
1. Layers of leaning mirrors
Layering multiple objects—whether mirrors or art—can add interest and texture to the space without the need for a hammer and nails. This look works best when the textures of your objects align with the materials in your fireplace and surrounding area, as Maggie Gienger, Director of Interior Design at Arhaus, explains.
‘My advice is to consider the material of the space—if it's stone or another natural material, you want to be careful not to damage it,' says Maggie. 'Leaning a mirror or layering art can add a little something while still allowing the natural texture to shine. If you prefer hanging decor, I recommend something simple like a wall clock like this one from Arhaus to add visual interest without distracting from the fireplace itself.’
2. A series of smaller artworks
A series of artwork can work beautifully above a fireplace. With this living room wall art curated by interior designer Tineke Triggs, the abstract illustrations and matching black frames are in keeping with the minimalist style of the room.
‘I always come back to artwork when it comes to over-fireplace decor,’ says Triggs. ‘In this example, the combination of classic black framed art with a sleek, minimalist, offset fireplace adds depth and personality, making it feel both inviting and cutting-edge. However, it's essential to carefully select and arrange the artworks to ensure they harmonize with the fireplace's design and the overall decor of the room.’
3. Ambient wall lighting
Just like a burning fire, a beautiful pair of lights can accentuate the features of your fireplace while creating a warming effect on the room as a whole. In this design by Rejuvenation, the living room lighting is modern and elegant, mirroring the style and symmetry of the fireplace. We love the addition of the autumn foliage, which adds warmth and texture to the marble and is a great example of seasonal decorating.
‘Lighting above the mantel is a sophisticated and simple way to create a warm and cozy atmosphere, which can be especially effective during the holiday season,' Rejuvenation’s Director of Design Bo Knoblauch comments. 'Flanking decorative wall sconces dress up a mantel and add a pop of visual interest while illuminating accessories, such as mirrors, candles, and more.’
4. White space and minimal decor
Keeping things minimal was the right choice for this modern, elegant fireplace by architect Peter Block. Interior designer Anna Booth of Anna Booth Interiors was careful not to take away from the architectural look of the space with too much decoration.
It's a great example of luxury minimalism, a major design trend that looks to create spaces that enhance our wellbeing. In this living room, the use of white space above the mantle has a calming effect, while the organic materials in the decorative objects help to reconnect us with the natural world.
5. Contrasting artwork
In this living room by Mary Patton Design, the designer has played with contrast to make the area pop. Not only does the yellow print create vibrancy alongside the turquoise of the fireplace, but the understated style of the artwork contrasts with the more ornamental look of the mantle. Her casual choice of fireplace decor helps to keep the space feeling relaxed and in tune with its overall retro vibe.
'I love doing smaller scale art above a mantle,' designer Mary Patton says. 'The piece does not have to be expensive. I like the concept of doing something casual in a spot historically reserved for something fancy.'
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Kate Hollowood is a freelance journalist who writes about a range of topics for Marie Claire UK, from current affairs to features on health, careers and relationships. She is a regular contributor to Livingetc, specializing in reporting on American designers and global interiors trends. Based in London, Kate has also written for titles like the i paper, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan and It’s Nice That.
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