Old-school and traditional design styles are having a resurgence, and we're here for it. There's just something about the classic look that works in every part of the home — from bathrooms to entryways to bedrooms. And if you want to add a little splash of that time-honored warmth to your living space, we recommend starting with traditional mantel decor (especially if your fireplace is a focal point).
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Even just a few traditional accessories can give a modern or prefab mantel so much character. In fact, more is not always more in this case. A grouping of two or three vintage pieces would look subtly beautiful but so would a single oversized oil painting.
We collected a few interiors from our favorite traditional designers to give you a bit of inspiration and hacks to help you get the look.
1. Double-Arm Sconces
This Martha Mulholland living room makes traditional feel fresh. The burnt orange window treatments are so on-trend, but they don't overpower any of the other more neutral features. And we especially love the double-arm sconces that frame the fireplace. While they don't rest directly on the mantel, the fixtures help add symmetry.
Get the look: CB2 Bosco Marble Sconce, $99.95
2. A Collection of Vintage Pieces
You can definitely incorporate antique treasures (or items that simply look antique) into your traditional mantel decor. But to keep the living room from veering too vintage, try going for three items or less. Here, Heidi Caillier only added a simple candlestick, a small portrait, and a weathered brass mirror. But the space still feels impeccably styled.
3. An Oversized Painting
You might have to fight the urge to add more than just an oversized painting or print to your traditional mantel decor. But trust us, it can make a statement all on its own. If your fireplace is more ornate, like this one, (or even a craftsman style one) look for a simpler art frame to house natural scenes or a vibrant landscape.
Get the look: Juniper Print Shop Landscape Collection, Starting at $20
4. A Floral Arrangement or Dried Bouquet
If you haven't brought a little bit of nature into your home, you're missing out. Here, designer extraordinaire Leanne Ford mixed greenery and flowers to add color to the otherwise monochromatic mantel. However, you could achieve a similar aesthetic with dried florals and completely remove the threat of under or over watering, too.
Get the look: Anthropologie Dried Hydrangea Bouquet, $58
5. Tonal Ceramics or Pottery
If you want your traditional mantel decor to feel fresh, go for items that all have similar colors. Ceramics like these add incredible texture to the white fireplace, but they're perfectly tonal.
Get the look: Overstock Set of 3 Terracotta Vases, $32.99
6. A Single Decorative Object
Again, simple items can often feel the most impactful. A brass orb like this one (or even a glass or marble option) may not take up much visual space. But it complements the olive green walls and molding so well. Add modern andirons, too, if you want to mix traditional and contemporary.
Get the look: CB2 Playa Terrazzo Ball, Starting at $39.95
7. An Ornate Mirror
If you're going to splurge on one item of traditional mantel decor, let it be a statement-making mirror. It can be mounted above the fireplace or casually propped, but the more ornate the better. This brass option in Erin Hiemstra's dining room is vintage, but similar styles are not hard to find.
Get the look: Anthropologie Annelise Mirror, $548