A fireplace is often a focal point in a room, but you can add shelving around it without minimising its appeal. In some instances, fireplace shelving can enhance the visual aesthetic of a fireplace and make it standout. Fireplace shelves can hold decorations and media equipment, and range from a simple to a complex installation project.
Traditional Mantel Extension
Traditional mantels are a single shelf that runs over the top of a fireplace and does not extend far beyond the fireplace opening on either side. Modernising traditional mantels by extending them beyond the outer edges of the fireplace opening creates a larger space to display decorative pieces and turns the entire wall into a focal point. In this scenario, you can centre the fireplace underneath the shelf, or start the shelf at one end of the opening, pass over the fireplace, and stop at the next adjoining wall. This design concept puts a little twist into the room's decor and allows you to tie in other nearby fireplace features such as a fireplace caddie or wood crevice and dedicate that section of the wall to the fireplace features.
You have a variety of options for creating overhead shelving units above a fireplace. You can start by placing a traditional mantel over the fireplace and incorporating same size shelving in a single row or staggered up the wall. You can also start with an extended mantel shelf over the fireplace, either with the fireplace even or uneven underneath, and scatter a series of multi-sized shelves up to the ceiling. This design concept allows you to keep each of the shelves the same depth from the wall or decrease their depth as they go up. Deep shelves at the top that taper down to the mantel will give the wall a heavy visual appearance.
Framing shelves surround the entire fireplace with a series of bookshelves gives you an abundance of storage and display space. This design technique can also accommodate media equipment such as a flat television, cable box, and DVD player. You can hang or rest the television in the space above the fireplace and place the cable box and DVD player on a shelf nearby. If you prefer to have the items on the shelves hidden from view, you can incorporate doors over the nooks so that when they are closed, all you see is the fireplace.