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Fireplace Mantel Designs

What makes a fireplace attractive when you look at it from the exterior part? Youíre right itís that mantelpiece or mantel for short. Also known as the chimneypiece, the mantel dates back to the medieval period. Originally, it served as a hood with the objective to catch smoke from the chimney but later evolved into a decorative framework surrounding the fireplace.

Today, the mantel can refer to just the shelf above the firebox and other external accessories. This has become the main focus of many homeowners and professional designers when decorating their fireplace. With this framework, they can experiment with as many designs as they want.

Traditionally, the mantel piece serves just as a shelf. It can be a single shelf or with different levels extending upwards depending on the style a homeowner wants to achieve. This shelf is ideal for displaying decorative items such as ceramic vases, candles, plates and picture frames. If the shelf is of different levels, you can use the upper portion to display books and other lighter decors. Just make sure that this area has enough space to accommodate your decors.

Another idea for your fireplace mantel is to extend it sideways. If youíre using wooden logs, for instance, you can have cabinets installed on the side wherein you can store your wood. You can have this part open or enclose it using cabinet doors. You can also opt to have a bookcase on the sides particularly if you have many books in your home.

Mantels can be built in place when the fireplace is being put up. However, it can also be built separately in another area such as in the case of manufacturers that create mantel kits.

Various types of materials can be used to create the mantelpiece from wood to stone and concrete to stainless steel. With wood, homeowners have a choice between the natural look and a painted one depending on the theme they want to achieve in the room. They can also install wood carvings around for a unique and attractive effect. Other options are straight lines for a simple and clean effect, more curves and colors.

Stones are great for a traditional or rustic looking fireplace. Theyíre durable and can even be combined with wood. For instance, you can install a stone framework and then use wood for the mantelpiece at the upper portion. Another idea is to extend the stone framework up to the ceiling.

Marble is best for a clean effect. This material is available in different colors today so homeowners can mix and match or just use a single color for their mantel.

For a more personalized mantel, you can create your own or you can work with your preferred manufacturer and choose one of their designs that you like best. There are mantel kits readily available today that are easy to install, you donít have to hire a professional to position it outside your main firebox.

Remember that even though mantels serve only as a decorative piece, they have to be built in a durable manner. Oftentimes, this part is used to display antiques and other valuable decors hence it has to be sturdy to hold these items.

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