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Fire Mantels - Important For the Look of Fireplaces

Jul 18, 2008
When you enter a room with a fireplace, the mantel is the first thing that catches your eye. This is why homeowners put a lot of though into choosing the mantel and may look at many fire mantels before making the final decision. This is where you will see the family pictures and mementoes displayed and where children will hang their stockings for Santa on Christmas Eve.

The design of the mantel for the fireplace can be very decorative or simply functional. Some fireplaces are simply spaces in the wall and the insert fits flush against the wall. In this case there is no need for a mantel. However, when you want to add a decorative touch to the fireplace and the room itself, you do need to look at the various styles of mantels. The mantel surrounds the fireplace, giving it a finished look, thus enhancing its appearance and making it the focal point of the room. Most people think of wood as the material for mantels and although it is the one most commonly used, there are many more materials to choose from, such as stone, marble and composite materials.

You can also look at the shape of the mantel. The sides are usually straight, parallel legs, but the top of the mantel is where you will see the differences. The design of the legs can also match the top in decorative designs. You can choose a finish that matches the finish on the furniture in the room and this is available in many different colors. Traditional mantel designs usually have molded and carved designs, such as scrolls, very similar to period furniture. You can also have a sleek classic design with straight lines and gold or brass trims. The broadest choice exits in custom ma de mantels in which you choose your own design and have the mantel made to order. The only requirement that you have to be aware of is that the mantel fit the size of the fireplace.

A fireplace mantel can be compared to the frame around a piece of art. You do need to choose the right one for the dor of the room. For example, if you have contemporary furnishings and window treatments in the room, a mantel featuring a Victorian or regency design would look out of place and the reverse is also true. If you are looking to create an antique look to your fireplace, choose a mantel made from stone, such as granite, marble or limestone. If this is a bit too expensive for your budget, you can create the same effect using composite materials that have the look of stone.

Cast stone mantels also have the antique look and are cheaper. This material is made from aggregates that are finely ground and then mixed with silica sand and a bonding agent. This material does not require finishing, which will also save you money. If you want a modern look, the key is to keep the lines straight and simple. If you have the time and the talent, you can build your own mantel around the fireplace, as this does not require professional installation as the fireplace insert does.
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