Matching a Fireplace Mantel to Your Decor
Dec 9, 2007
A fireplace mantel is like a frame and the fire is the moving art. Choose the right one for your room's dÃ©cor and your fireplace will be a picture of warmth, elegance and beauty. Choose wrong and the whole effect is ruined. Whether you are looking for a fireplace mantel that blends with your dÃ©cor or makes a bold focal point, you must consider the overall theme of the room when choosing the right mantel.
A wooden variation is your best bet for those wanting a traditional look to their fireplace mantel. These types of mantels range from a contemporary feel with little or no decorative carving to the ornate styles of the Victorian era complete with dental molding and large mantel shelves. Usually made from oak, maple or cherry wood, a wooden fireplace mantel can be stained to provide the warm of natural wood or painted any color to match or compliment your dÃ©cor. Wooden fireplace mantels are readily available at local home improvement stores and can usually be installed yourself. Do keep in mind that they are combustible and fireplace safety codes must be strictly followed for safe installation.
If an antique fireplace mantel is more your taste, try choosing a one created from stone. Stone mantels date back as far as the 16th century and were used widely in mansions and palaces. This type of mantel can be made from marble, granite or limestone and will make an impressive focal point in rooms with an antique or Victorian flavor. Due to their extreme weight you will likely need to have a stone fireplace mantel installed by professionals but, unlike wood, stone mantels are fire resistant and provide extra safety when installed.
For a true antique stone fireplace mantel, you will want to search for stores in your area that specialize in antique dÃ©cor salvage. An easier and less costly alternative to a true antique stone fireplace mantel are the popular cast stone mantels. Made to look almost identical to limestone, these are made from a mixture of finely graded aggregates, silica sand and a bonding agent. Like all stone fireplace mantels they can be installed right next to the firebox and require no finishing. The upside of the cast stone mantel is they are lighter in weight and on your wallet.
Lastly there is the modern dÃ©cor fireplace mantel. This style of mantel can range from a sleek and simple wooden mantel made from American black walnut to granite and cast iron fascias framed with limestone. The key to the modern look is to keep the lines straight and very simple. For a completely minimalist look you may only require one large wooden or granite shelf above your fireplace. Minimalist doesn't have to mean boring. An asymmetrical fireplace mantel in a bold color can be just as much a focal point as a traditional fireplace mantel can.
Here is a great selection of Fireplaces with different styles of mantels