There is a new trend that has emerged in interior design and it's the layered mantle look. I think as our homes have become more casual and eclectic, the fireplace mantle which is usually symmetrical on each side has become a decorative shelf piece. I love the idea of framed art or photography leaning on the mantle paired with your favorite decorative pieces. A good rule to follow when styling for this look is to pair things in three's and be careful about too many "knickknacks" - instead go for real collectors pieces that will stand the test of time.
For more great mantle ideas check out Lonny