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8 Ways to Decorate Your Fireplace (With or Without a Mantel)

  • 2 min to read

Most New Orleans homes come with a fireplace, working or not. It may be the focal point of a living room or off to the side of a dining room; regardless of its location, the extra shelf space is always a bonus. From decorating your mantel with art and candles to using it as storage for your most favorite books, there are several ways to make it look its very best.

Maureen Stevens, an interior designer who splits her time between Nola and Austin, has seen her fair share of mantels (her own home has 4!). She recommends layering, while meticulously choosing pieces in order to create a look that is beautiful but not overdone. Stevens listed her expert tips for Adore below.


Vintage Gold Chinoiserie Mirror via Chairish (available for local pick up in New Orleans)

Mirror: It starts with a large scale item and a mirror is always great. Think French Directoire, Rococo styles, trumeau and gilt style mirrors. After all, New Orleans will always have its French pedigree.


Mallory Page: Heroine’s Waltz- Acrylic on Canvas 88×84 in, 2017  & Nightshade- Acrylic on Canvas 88×84 in, 2017

Art: Or do it with a breathtaking art work. Extra points if it's from one of our celebrated artists.


Turkish Pots via Sunday Shop

Pots & vases: Layer your focal point with an odd number of vases. Add some greenery from your garden (a Jasmine Spray, perhaps?) and voila, breathtaking!


Maureen Stevens's guest cottage mantel (bust option here)

Sculptures & busts: I've always been a fan of busts and the more the better in varying sizes.


Candle holder by Katie Koch Home

Candles & candle holders: For some ambiance (and because we can't really light up our fireplace in New Orleans), have some candles and holders ready.

Collection of mirrors: Of course, "collections" make a big impact as well.


Collection of books: Adding a stack of vintage books will add some flair to your fireplace mantle.

art mantel

Maureen Stevens's guest house mantel 

No fireplace mantel? No worries! The fireplaces at our guest cottage do not have mantles and my husband has forbidden me to install an item on the bricks (it's a 150-year-old home, so I get that it may disturb the mortar and kick off a cascade of falling bricks. Not good!). I put some art inside the non-working fireplace instead and put a giant plant at the hearth.