The unusual architecture of corner fireplaces makes them challenging to decorate. Inside corner fireplaces sometimes lack a flat wall above the mantel. Peninsula fireplaces are located on outside wall corners and may feature extra long mantels or no mantel at all. With creative thinking and insider decorator tips, a corner fireplace can become a focal point.
Inside Corner Fireplace
A 90-degree angle behind the fireplace mantel may seem perplexing to decorate, but it actually provides extra depth for mantel decor.
Add a Large Anchor Piece
Instead of mounting a large anchor piece such as framed art or a mirror, simply place it in the corner and lean it against both walls. If you're worried about it slipping, a little dab of museum putty placed on the bottom helps hold it in place.
The deep corner could also be filled with a large platter in a stand or a large vase with tall dried reeds that might look cumbersome on an ordinary mantel.
Decide whether you want a symmetrical or asymmetrical grouping on top of the fireplace. A symmetrical look might include two identical candleholders on each side of the central anchor, which complements formal settings and upscale furnishings.
Three Plus One Rule
Decorators follow certain principles and formulas to come up with aesthetically pleasing designs. The three plus one rule is a simple decorating technique for mantles to create visually balanced and harmonious asymmetrical displays.
The formula is easy to remember. On one side of the mantel, place three like objects unified by color, material or shape, such as three white porcelain vases in various shapes or three wooden candleholders in varying heights. Stagger the items to enhance a feeling of depth.
On the other side of the mantle, place one large object with the same visual weight as the three grouped objects. This item can complement the grouped items but still be different, such as an art glass sculpture opposite the three porcelain vases or a natural earthenware pot opposite the wooden candlesticks. In between the single object and the grouped objects, a large painting, mirror or clock anchors the design.
You can also include the angled walls behind the mantel in the design scheme. Twin wall sconces illuminate the corner and provide a lovely back light for mantel decor. Create a mirror-like effect by hanging identical pieces of iron art opposite each other on each wall.
Use a trio of iron pieces for an asymmetrical look, placing two on one wall and one on the other. Use a triangular formation, hanging the single piece at a medium height above the mantel. On the opposite wall, hang one piece higher and closer to the corner. Stagger the third piece lower and a little further away from the corner. To help balance the side with one iron piece, place a tall vase or grouping of tall candleholders on that side of the mantel.
Outside Corner Fireplace
In modern homes, peninsula fireplaces add sleek, cutting-edge style. Designed with two-sided or three sided fireboxes built-in to wall corners that stick out, peninsula fireplaces sometimes feature impressive details like a wraparound hearth or mantel. Often, the mantel is left off, allowing the stunning architecture of the fireplace to speak for itself.
Less Is More
Peninsula fireplaces often stand out as accent walls in contrasting colors and textures. Stone or wood veneer wall paneling, brick or darkly painted walls command attention without the need for decorative embellishment. Take the "less is more" approach with decorative items -- add a painting or a sculpture or toss a few comfy pillows on a wraparound hearth.
Resist the urge to fill a wraparound mantel with decorative items unless it’s something simple like small votive candles or a few objets d' art. An over-cluttered look detracts from the impressive mantel design.
Rotate corner fireplace mantle decor to incorporate seasonal displays. Bring in the colors of fall with miniature pumpkins or gourds placed atop wooden candlesticks or pedestals or clustered in small groups. A harvest wreath centerpiece made with fall leaves, wheat, goldenrod, pheasant feathers and acorns imparts an autumnal feel.
Drape an evergreen garland all the way around a wraparound corner fireplace mantel. Vases filled with bare branches or round ball tree ornaments inspire a winter or holiday display.