If your fireplace looks outdated and you want to update it to a more contemporary style, consider replacing the mantel. This will add an immediate freshness without the cost of upgrading the entire fireplace surround. Granite mantels are an option that complement many fireplaces and decors. They are durable and long-lasting, making them a great investment, so be sure to choose a color and style that will suit your taste for many years.
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Granite is available in many colors, allowing you to choose one that will complement almost any decor. For example, in a room covered with beige carpeting, white furniture and neutral-colored walls, opt for a color that will enhance the light, calm decorative scheme. Granite in light pink, off-white, cream, light beige, and gold tones works well with white fireplaces and furniture, and includes naturally occurring small specks of darker colors that add visual interest. For a room filled with darker furniture, hardwood floors or deep-colored paint, opt for darker black, brown or gray granite--these feature lighter specks of color throughout.
At one time, granite was considered too heavy to hang as an independent shelf on the wall. Now with advances in technology, granite mantels can hang just above a fireplace. A steel insert can be incorporated into the underside of the granite, hidden from sight, to reinforce the shelf without taking away from its beauty. If your fireplace contains corbels, or pillars on either side, the granite mantel may be placed on and supported by them as long as they are the correct depth needed for the new mantel. Mantel shelves are available in widths wide enough to hold picture frames and other decorative objects, and in narrower widths intended to stand alone.
Refreshing Existing Mantels
If your fireplace already contains a granite mantel, try cleaning and polishing it before deciding to replace it. According to MantelsDirect.com, granite is naturally stain resistant and durable enough to withstand heat and cold without warping--the very factors that make it expensive. Wash it with a mild phosphate-free liquid or powder dish soap dispensed onto a moist cotton cloth or rag made from old cotton clothing. Dry it with a piece of cotton flannel. If you are still unhappy with the appearance, try refreshing the mantel's decorative display with new picture frames, flower arrangements or candles.