If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your living room without spending the earth, how about starting by refreshing the mantel over your electric fireplace. The mantel occupies a key position, and it doesn’t take to bring a fresh ambience to your living space with just a bit of creative thinking.

First of all, be honest. How much of what’s currently on your mantel is clutter? Remove those old birthday cards, the picture frames, the ornaments you didn’t know what to do with. In fact, clear the decks completely before you start. Decide now that what ends up on the mantel will only be what you know will enhance the look of your room.

It might be that you haven’t dared to place anything on the mantel. Perhaps you don’t consider yourself that interested in ornaments, or you don’t have the confidence to make a design statement. Keep reading. We may be able to spark your imagination.

Even in a minimalist home, the mantle doesn’t need to be entirely bare. How about a single unusual souvenir or inherited object that could take pride of place? Even a small collection of two or three objects grouped together and positioned to one side can bring a contemporary look to life.

Candles are often well-suited to mantels, bringing a hint of soft light where it’s needed. Choose sconces for style as well as practicality. And if you’re up for a little more remodelling, consider fitting a pendant lamp to hang above the mantel, ready to light up whatever else you place there.

Fresh flowers on your mantel are another possibility, especially during the months where the electric fireplace isn’t in regular use. These can be refreshed weekly, and you can experiment with colours and styles that change throughout the year according to the season and your mood. Blocks of colour in your floral arrangements can be striking or try a flourish of multicoloured blooms.

You could place a mirror above your fireplace to bring some light and reflection into the room. Choose a distinctive frame, and it could suggest a theme that you could repeat elsewhere in the room. A mirror above an electric fireplace is also a practical design choice and can make a room feel more homely and welcoming.

If you’re a keen photographer, your mantel could be the ideal place to display a few memorable shots. But when you’re displaying them on your mantel, remember you're dressing the room and not just showing off your camera skills. The tones and colours of the prints are going to be key here. A collection of monochrome portraits could be striking, whereas a group of landscapes are likely to be too detailed. The same goes for art purchased for your mantel. Consider the overall look, and remember that less is more.

Those are just a few ideas for refreshing your mantel to provide a new look to your electric fireplace. Experiment and see what works for you.