6 DIY Tips for Revamping Your Fireplace With a Mantel
When it comes to fireplace upgrades, most people think about redoing the surround or refreshing the hearth tops. But an easier project is actually creating a DIY mantel.
A mantel not only adds visual interest, but plays a major part of the fireplace design. It can be used to display anything from seasonal decor and family mementos to favorite collections and framed artwork. In addition, with many DIY mantels being reasonably priced, a big investment isn’t necessary to give your space a fresh look.
So, how do you install a DIY fireplace mantel? First you must take size and proportion into account. If replacing an existing mantel, it might be best to keep the original dimensions. However, if creating a new one, you’ll need to figure out the dimensions you want. Consider using painters tape to map out the length and height. Pick a length that is roughly double the fireplace box. While building codes differ from place to place, it’s generally acceptable to leave about a foot between the bottom of the mantel and the top of the fireplace box.
Here are some DIY mantel ideas to get you started:
1. Floating Mantel
Floating mantels can be thought of as a shelf mounted above the fireplace, but without brackets or legs showing. For an interesting floating mantel, consider finding reclaimed wood to use, or simply cut and stain lumber to meet your needs. Installation requires mounting a strong floating mantel bracket to the wall or inserting lag screws into the wall studs. Corresponding holes are then drilled into the back of the mantel so that the mantel can easily slide over the screws.
2. Decorative Trim & Brackets
Give your ordinary mantel a classic look by incorporating varied pieces of trim. For example, use a quarter round to finish the underside of the mantel, in addition to some chunky and stately mantel brackets. If the brackets are just for looks, they can be made from a range of materials, such as wood, iron or stone. Using brackets on the underside of the mantel creates visual continuity with the fireplace.
3. Stone Top Mantel
For a more contemporary look, try adding a thin slab of granite or marble to your clean-line mantel. If the existing mantel is dark, a piece of stone in a light, neutral hue will give it a more open feel.
4. Stained or Painted Mantel
Giving your wood mantel a fresh stain color is a great way to help coordinate with other wood pieces in the space. In addition, a new stain can accent grain patterns in the wood that may not have been apparent before. Use paint to pick up on repeated hues throughout the room. Either coat the entire mantel or just add accents that pick up on fabric patterns.
5. Tiled Mantel Edge
Tile is an asset that can be used to enhance an array of mantel plans. For instance, applying thin subway tiles to the edge of a mantel works well with contemporary styles, while an attractive decorative tile bordering the top of a mantel brings a rustic feel to a country-style space.
6. Salvaged Mantel
Repurpose architectural salvage to create a fireplace mantel. Find decorative elements like iron scrolls, old tin ceiling panels, thin metal or wood pieces to dress it up. Another option is to build a completely new mantel out of reclaimed wood.