SouthernLiving.com suggests placing local artwork above a fireplace mantle, either one large, focal-point image or a grouping of framed and unframed pieces in an asymmetrical display. Metal antiques, a pottery collection, a vintage basket, a honeycomb mirror or a personalized pet portrait are additional decorative ideas for the mantle.
HGTV.com suggests a chalkboard with handwritten, inspirational quotes above the mantel or a garden wreath surrounded by small potted plants and animal statues. Homeowners can create a beach theme by laying a large piece of driftwood across the mantel, along with clear jars full of seashells and a nautical lantern or two. Mounting sconces on the wall above the mantle on both sides to cast additional light on the display completes the look.
Creating a constantly-rotating mantel showcase of vintage treasures found at flea markets and antique stores is a great way to add personality to a room. Placing a collection of candles and rustic lanterns on the mantel adds light and warmth.
A television screen can be placed above the fireplace, and if the house is in the design stage, installing a large window above the mantle is an interesting option. During autumn, a display featuring pumpkins, squash and gourds brings the beauty of nature indoors, while miniature Christmas trees are festive items to accessorize the mantel during the end-of-year holidays.