The Look: Understated Elegance
Temper the seriousness of a stately mantel by keeping your accessorizing approach casual. Rather than buttoned-up symmetry, scatter items on your mantel at will, and opt for mismatched art. The one exception to this rule: andirons. Adding a set of andirons to your firebox, the place where you typically build a fire, immediately ups the style ante, plus they visually break up the inherent darkness of that area.
The Look: Classically Parisian
With the right pieces, even a stateside fireplace can channel a Parisian pad. Aristocratic accents, such as antique seating and crystal sconces that use actual taper candles, bring just the right amount of Versailles to a modern-day mantel. Keep with a traditional-leaning look by adding a set of classic brass fire tools and a sprinkling of blue-and-white accessories.
The Look: Modern Organic
The neutral tones of a brick fireplace surround can act as a perfect jumping-off point for creating an earthy but polished hearth look. Give your logs pride of place rather than tucking them away by stacking them in a woven basket. Look for fireplace tools or andirons that are simple but not overly sleek, and bring in a bit of nature on your mantel. For fireside seating, look for something with a touch of refinement, such as this sculptural butterfly chair covered in fancy-feeling leather.
The Look: Uptown Polish
An exuberant rococo mantel calls for equally elevated hearth accessories, such as a richly textured rush log basket, a favorite of the Park Avenue set. If you find yourself with a nonworking fireplace, think of it as an opportunity to showcase one or two over-the-top accessories, such as this faux tortoiseshell.
The Look: Bohemian Glamour
If your fireplace, or the furniture surrounding it, has a far-flung feel, look for hearth accents with an equally worldly vibe. Cast-iron fireplace tools are totally believable as Old World artisanal finds scored abroad, even if they’re brand spanking new. If your fireplace gets a ton of use, be sure to keep a container (ideally one that looks great and has a handle for easy carrying) close at hand for collecting all those ashes.