Your fireplace mantel is more than a ledge to place fond memories; they add architectural style to your firebox drawing attention to the focal point in your room. Fireplace mantels turn your fireplace from just a source of warmth to a delightful piece of artwork. Mantels are great for decoration placement, and range in terms of style and materials to fit the look in your home.

Types of Fireplace Mantels

Solid wood fireplace mantel installed on a mansonry surround for a rustic look and feel

Fireplace Mantels come in a large span of styles to fit any design characteristics. When thinking in terms of materials for mantels they can be made from wood, stone, tile, marble, and more. For home owners who are not interested in placing ornaments around their fireplace there are clean face designs that don’t leave your fireplace naked, but exclude the shelf feature all together. For home owners who enjoy the traditional look of a mantel shelf to showcase family occasions and holiday décor they have a choice of a full wrap around mantel, or a basic shelf hung above the fireplace. Wood mantels can be designed with intricate carvings; as well wood mantels can be painted and stained, if you’re interested in changing your outdated mantel. Stone and marble mantels are perfect for larger fireplaces or stoves so your mantel isn’t stealing attention away from the elegant burning fireplace. Marble mantels are long lasting, sturdy and more suitable for the formal décor already in the home.

Decorating Your Fireplace Mantel

Your fireplace is always a show stopper when it comes to decorating; the radiating fire accents the appearance around the firebox unbelievably. First rule of thumb when doing any decorating is to think outside the box, layer your decorations and avoid lining them together. Use a variety of items to place on the mantel, for instance place picture frames slightly behind some candles. Try facing your decorations in different areas of the room as not everyone will be directly facing the fireplace when visiting. Don’t forget about the wall above the fireplace mantel if the space is already occupied don’t sweat it, if not try adding a decorative portrait or mirror to accent the mantel decorations. The most obvious tip for mantel decorating is to ensure the decorations (seasonal included) match the theme in your home. If your traditional or modern purchase decorations that will match the style of your hearth.

Safety Precautions for Decorations

It is important to know where you should physically place the ornaments on your fireplace mantel to avoid any misshaps

Decorating is fun to do with the family and the ornaments are great to look at, but you want to make sure your decorations stay intact with the fireplace burning below. It is important to know where the safest spots are to place your decorations. The areas around your hearth that are safe from the fire and the combustion heat are above the mantel and to either sides of the fireplace, with at least six inches of space from the firebox opening. Avoid hanging decorations too low they should go no lower than where your mantel ends. Do not place any decorations directly in front of the fireplace even if you have a glass fronted fireplace the glass is one of the hottest parts of the unit and blows heat through the top louver areas. If you can try and find decorations that are flame resistant or non combustible it’s an added bonus, although it’s not mandatory.