Beautifying your fireplace is one of the most effective ways you can add value to your home and get a new look. However, before you start cutting wood and making the mantel, there are a few things to consider. This is no easy task and I am not going to tell you that it is. What I will tell you is that the design is the first step you need to take. Heres why it is so important.
Certain types of wood are just not utilizable for fireplace mantel designs. You want to stay away from woods that naturally contain oil or other potentially flammable materials. Teak for instance, exudes teak oil long after it is cut and used. So do a little homework and start your fireplace mantel design out on the right foot. Get the right wood for the job.
Another consideration is whether you will want to stain the wood or paint it. Some wood species accept paint better than others and some accept stain more readily. Decide whether you will stain or paint as a first step in the design process. The look of a beautifully stained mantel is hard to beat, but only if you use a quality wood that will take the stain well.
Size, space and existing structure
How much room do you have to work with? What do you have there now? Is there a mantel in place or just a set of doors that are flush to the wall?
These questions can save you a LOT of time and frustration once you actually begin the installation. If there is a constraint on the room or space you have available, you will need to measure and construct very carefully. If you go a bit over, you can always cut down a bit. If, on the other hand, you come up short, it is a much more difficult thing to make it work. Measure carefully and draw it on paper. Make a diagram and add your measurements to it for reference.
If you have a mantel in place now, it is possible to use the existing bracing and attaching structures. This will also help you keep your fireplace mantel design inside the size parameters you need. Those braces and things are probably already anchored securely, so why not use them? If they need replacing, that isnt hard to do either.
If there is just a set of flush fireplace doors there, you will need to create the bracing and breastplate. These will need to be anchored to the wall, which is usually brick, with masonry screws. I like to use 10 inch masonry screws for the brace and 2 inch ones for the breastplate. While youre at it, make sure the mortar and brick is in good shape and can support the weight of a mantel. The best fireplace mantel design in the world isnt worth a dime if it comes off the wall.
Style and taste
This part is totally up to you and your individual likes or dislikes. You may opt for a traditional wood mantel design or a more ornate one. Since you will be creating your own fireplace mantel design, the style is dependent on the home, its feng shui and the owners personal flare. Making the right design choices can not only beautify the fireplace, it can truly transform the entire room.
From traditional styles to more contemporary designs, one thing is for sure. Your fireplace will demand the attention of anyone who enters the room and command the flow of the homes interior. Remember that the mantel will be there for years to come, so choose your fireplace mantel design carefully and tactfully.