Fireplace Mantels Can Make or Break the Interior Design of a Room

Fireplace mantels can make or break the interior design of a room whether you use your fireplace or not. Because a fireplace takes up a large section of a wall or dominate a corner, they naturally draw the eye when you first walk into a room. Go for the “cool” factor by incorporating a great design or material in your mantel.

Most people perceive fireplace mantels as those shelves that extend out beyond the firebox. However, a mantel can encompass not only an ornamental framing around the firebox, but also the facing which makes up the outside of the fireplace “wall.” If your fireplace has a mantel shelf, the panel or area above it can also be construed as part of the mantel as well.

Many fireplace mantels are made from non-flammable materials for safety and can be incorporated into the design until it butts into the opening of the firebox. No facing is needed. However, if you decide to use other materials like plaster, drywall, fiberboard or wood, you will have to use a   noncombustible  material to create a facing that frames the firebox. Consult with your local building safety inspectors to determine the measurements of this facing to avoid creating a fire hazard.

Because fireplace mantels are a highly visible element in any room, take your time and shop around for a few options. Fireplace stores will have a variety of options on their showroom floors. Even home improvement centers can offer up some ideas. Do a little research on the internet for inspiration. When you have narrowed down your designs, do a little budget exercise to see how much you are willing to spend on creating a new mantel. If you are not an adept handyman, enter the cost of a contractor into the budgetary equation.

There are a number of prefabricated kits on the market that are geared toward the home do-it-yourselfer. These can be found in a number of styles and materials like solid wood, metal or items with a wood veneer finish. You can also purchase pre-made mantel pieces that are a natural wood or fiber board. With this option, it is less expensive and you can either paint or stain it to your specifications so that it matches your room’s décor.

Starting fireplace mantels from scratch is the optimal choice, but most people buy a home with an existing fireplace. When the mantel does not reflect the new homeowner’s taste, they can either purchase the prefabricated kits as mentioned above or have a mantel custom made-to-order.

This is especially attractive option if the mantel area is an odd shape.

However, expect custom jobs to be pricey.

Do-it-yourselfers can also give existing fireplace mantels a cosmetic facelift. This could be anything from simply painting the brick or resurfacing it with a thin stone veneer. Plastering or drywalling over an existing mantel are other options. Theoretically, you are only limited by your imagination and of course, your wallet! Just think things through before setting the wheels in motion for your mantel re-do.