What are the Different Types of Fireplace Mantels?

Josie Myers
Josie Myers
A fireplace with a minimalist mantel.
A fireplace with a minimalist mantel.

A mantle frames out a fireplace and makes it more attractive to look at. It instantly becomes the centerpiece to any room and can be the defining point of style. The mantle will be the place that holds special family heirlooms, important photographs, and even the Christmas stockings. From a decor standpoint, a mantle should not be arbitrarily chosen since it will be a major factor in the impression a room gives.

There are fireplace mantels available to accommodate most spaces. Homeowners should measure their given space carefully to ensure that the mantle they choose will fit well. Most fireplaces will be a standard size that can use store purchased manufactured mantles, but some will require custom sizes or alteration of manufactured ones.

Some fireplace mantels are made to fit along a straight wall, while others can fit in corners. There are some that have storage capabilities or are made to work in conjunction with an entertainment center. Flat screen televisions have made it possible to mount televisions above fireplaces, and there are mantles to accommodate this new design trend.

Fireplace mantels are available in a wide range of materials and styles. The choice of mantels is one largely based on the decor or a home and the style of the owner. From modern to antique homes, there is a mantle available to fit anyone's tastes. They can come with legs to outline the fireplace, or simply be a shelf that fits above the fireplace.

Some common materials fireplace mantels are made from are stone, wood, ceramic, and metal. Wood types regularly found are pine, oak, cherry and cedar. Similarly to those made of stone, ceramic mantels can be precast in solid units or tiled.

Certain materials make more sense with particular decors. For a rustic look, clean lined simple wooden frames work best. When choosing a mantle for a modern home, consider stainless steel or solid marble for a sleek look. French provincial styles work well with ceramics and heavily adorned fireplace mantles. Granite, oak, cherry and tile provide traditional looks that can be timeless.

For those on a budget that would like to spruce up their fireplace mantle, there are options. Many home improvement stores and online retailers sell embellishment kits that include wood, chrome, copper, steel, stone or tile improvements that can be added to simple fireplace mantels. A homeowner could keep their current mantle and make a big change to its appearance. Those on a budget can also purchase a new simple mantle and embellish it to their liking, often saving quite a few dollars in the process.

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    • A fireplace with a minimalist mantel.
      A fireplace with a minimalist mantel.