A fireplace mantel is a staple of cosy, sophisticated room decor. A mantel provides a place to display family photos and treasures and lends warmth and elegance to a room, but if you are lacking a mantel, don't despair. You can easily recreate the charm and appeal of a traditional mantel with some artful and unexpected treatments that shine all on their own.
A shelf mounted on the wall above your fireplace is a simple and elegant solution to the fake mantel conundrum. Cut to the length of your fireplace and positioned correctly, it can look built-in, especially if a faux painting technique achieves a match with your fireplace material. On the other hand, a stand-alone shelf in a natural wood finish or painted is also very attractive.
If you don't fancy the idea of cluttering up the space above your fireplace with knick-knacks, try replicating the charm of a mantel with a painted wall design. Paint or stencil an arch or a border motif directly on the wall to frame the fireplace, creating an interesting accent that merely suggests a mantel.
For a more artistic or modern take on the mantel, hang a found object over the fireplace. A large, gnarled piece of driftwood or a repurposed wrought-iron grate is a great conversation piece that makes an updated, creative mantel.
Hanging a large piece of artwork over the hearth is a mantel substitute that helps make a fireplace the focal point of a room. A striking, large-scale work of art draws the eye directly to that spot, the heart of the home. Use a favourite purchased piece or -- better yet -- a work of art created by yourself, a friend or family member
A large framed mirror is another suitable mantel-replacement idea. Hang it directly on the wall, or lean it on a wall-mounted shelf. Another bonus to using a mirror is that it makes the room appear larger. For an even more dramatic effect, place another large mirror on the opposite wall to reflect the firelight.
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