If you're looking to enhance your fireplace by adding a mantel there are plenty of choices to spark your interest. Fireplace mantels come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, materials and designs. To choose a mantel that best suits your needs and your decor, consider the size of your fireplace as well as available wall space.
A mantel serves as a decorative element for a fireplace and can be a focal point in a room. Whether in a living room, dining room, family room, kitchen or bedroom, a mantel can take a fireplace from ordinary to extraordinary by adding to the fireplace's height; serving as a display shelf for ornamental items, collectibles or artwork; or making a fireplace compatible with surrounding room decor.
Some of the most popular types of mantels are made from stone, wood and marble.
Stone mantels, well suited to large fireplaces, come in many different colors and types of stone, including limestone, granite, concrete and river rock.
Highly popular, wood mantels range from simple, rustic beams to intricately carved shelving. Wood mantels come in many varieties of hardwoods such as cherry, oak and cedar. Unlike stone mantels, wood mantels can be painted or stained.
Marble mantels create an elegant, rich look when placed atop a fireplace. Best suited to formal decor, a marble mantel, due to the hard nature of the material, is sturdy and long-lasting.
Because fireplace mantels are available in many styles, you can choose one that fits your particular decor. Popular mantel styles include Colonial, Victorian, French and rustic.
Colonial mantels, reminiscent of days gone by, bring charm and warmth to a home and serve as a complement to traditional decor and furnishings.
Somewhat ornate and often constructed of dark wood, Victorian mantels usually have elegant carvings or details, lending a more formal feel to a room.
French mantels feature decorative ornamentation that calls to mind the homes of the wealthy and privileged in Europe. This type of mantel, while beautiful, would appear out of place in a relaxed and informal decor.
Ideal for country decor, rustic mantels can be created out of logs, wooden beams, salvaged wood remnants and old doors. Rustic mantels are often left uncluttered, allowing the beauty of the wood itself to be the focal point.
An alternative to newly constructed mantels, antique mantels offer timeless beauty, sophistication and unique designs. Antique mantels are often ornate and somewhat heavy due to their size. Because historic fireplaces generally were larger than modern-day fireplaces, an antique mantel may be too large for a recently built fireplace. Before purchasing an antique mantel you should consider how much of the mantel will need to be trimmed to ensure a proper fireplace fit, and whether altering the mantel will affect its beauty and the look you're trying to achieve.
When deciding on the type and style of mantel you want, consider the amount of wall space surrounding your fireplace. Although mantels often extend beyond the width of the fireplace, an overly long mantel may seem disproportionate in size, dwarfing the fireplace and becoming a distracting focal point in the room. A mantel should always enhance your decor, never overwhelm it.
- Photo Credit Fireplace by Minnesota Historical Society 2279778706_e16df8bedf_o.jpg, Embassy of Colombia Fireplace Detail by Mr. T in DC 2500160291_af25c52746_b.jpg, Algonquin Log Cabin Fireplace by Voyageur Quest and the Algonquin Log Cabin 117197276_e6df0594fb_b.jpg, Honoré mantle hdr by Bud's Rubber Room 2318035052_c156e1b588_o.jpg
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