All happy owners of fireplaces know that the shelf literally crowns this hearth and becomes a kind of showcase, a very noticeable element of decor. Our tips site will tell you what material you can make mantels from, and also suggest ideas for decorating them, based on the advice of designers.
Let’s immediately note that we will pay special attention to the upper mantel. Yes, often there are two of them by the fireplace, but the lower one is not particularly decorated, this is the basis, the stand for the entire structure, it is necessarily non-combustible, durable, you can install accessories for the fireplace on it, about which the portal has already written in detail.
The top shelf is more interesting. The choice of materials is larger, it is much more decorative and can serve as a stand for a variety of objects..
Let’s talk about the materials from which a mantel can be made. It is not necessary to use the same material as the whole fireplace. On the contrary, it is advisable to highlight the top shelf, to emphasize its presence, so it can look richer, emphasize different from the rest of the finish.
The most popular materials for mantels are:
- Natural wood. Strong, durable, very beautiful material. Moreover, for one single mantelpiece, it is quite possible to use valuable wood, even stained wood. Plus – a shelf made of wood can be cut, polished and refined with your own hands. And the very scent of wood, together with the fire in the fireplace, will make the atmosphere in the house even more comfortable. The original version is half of the log, not sanded on one side. Such natural material will suit the interior in the style of a chalet or country, a rustic, “uncouth” direction of the whole room;
- A natural stone. Primarily granite and marble. The shelf will turn out to be forever, very beautiful and durable. But the price can “bite”, of course. And you won’t be able to do it yourself, you need special tools and skills;
- Fake diamond. A budget analogue of natural stone, which, thanks to modern technologies, is very similar to the original. Yes, you also have to order, but you can try to mount it yourself, as in all other cases;
- Concrete. The shelf is simply poured in a mold from a concrete solution, which is sanded and gets quite presentable. The option is not for everyone only from an aesthetic point of view, otherwise it is durable and inexpensive;
- Gypsum. The shelf will turn out to be inexpensive, strong enough, will perfectly match the decorative frame of the fireplace portal, if any. In addition, gypsum can be decorated like stone or wood..
As for false fireplaces, polyurethane shelves are very popular here, however, they are usually an integral part of the entire portal. Like the entire structure made of plasterboard, where the shelf also just protrudes as the upper part of the portal. True, drywall will still have to be additionally revetted and decorated, you can put a light shelf from a thin board on top, it will be more beautiful.
Such inexpensive materials as MDF, chipboard, plastic also have a place to be, but, you see, they are not very suitable for such a noticeable element as a mantelpiece. It’s better not to skimp on such an important detail..
Structurally, fireplace shelves can be the upper, final part of the fireplace portal, be located separately from the portal, above, in the chimney column, and also be installed on special fasteners and supports. The latter option allows you to mount the mantel after you have started using the fireplace. However, heavy stone shelves are usually ordered at the design stage of the fireplace, since they will become an important part of it..
Now here are some tips for decorating a mantelpiece:
- Do not overload! Designers advise sticking to the three-piece rule. One more and two on the smaller sides are enough. For example, a vase in the middle and two candlesticks on the sides. Such a set is a timeless classic;
- The clock is also a classic decoration of the mantelpiece, do not neglect it;
- If a TV is hanging over the fireplace, you should not draw additional attention to the shelf and put something high – a new center of attraction appears at the top;
- Family photos in stand frames will be a great attribute of the hearth;
- You can use the mantel as a showcase for a collection. For example, beautiful figurines of one type: porcelain, ceramics, wood. Let it be just a collection, for example, elephants or frogs, and not an assorted collection;
- The decor of the fireplace shelf is very easy to change depending on the season. Let it be a lush bouquet of roses in the summer, in the fall – a composition of branches and leaves, on New Year’s Eve – a spruce branch with toys, and in the spring – a modest bunch of lilies of the valley.
Mantelpieces can be very different, but in any case, they are the most important part of the decor of the entire hearth. Choose the right material for them so that they serve for many years and at the same time fit into the interior of the whole room.