How to Select and Size Your Fireplace Mantel

The time has come and you are finally ready to give your fireplace a makeover!

The fireplace is the focal point of the room and your mantel can either fit with the overall style or make your home look unfinished. We’ve seen an array of fireplaces and it’s always incredible to see the the transformation when a beautiful mantel is incorporated into the room.

When it comes to selecting the right mantel for your space, we always ask customers about the space to get an idea of the size and style of the room. The good news is there is no exact science to mantel sizing and selection.  This is also the bad news- the choices can be intimidating. Here are a couple best practices we’ve learned over the years:

 

Timber or Box-Beam?

This is the first question to ask yourself when selecting a new mantel for your space. Both make a proud statement and can elevate your home. If you have a pre existing fireplace or a DIY project, a box beam mantel will be much easier to install. A local chimney sweep or building professional can be a good resource when trying to figure out which would be best.

 
Box+Beam+Mantel+Rack.jpeg
 
 

Sizing

Mantel Length: This is the most contentious part of sizing a mantel.  Some folks like the mantel to go from one end of the wall to the other.  Some make it just larger that the firebox. A safe route is to make it 12” longer than the fireplace box. For instance, if your fireplace box is 42” then you would order a 56” long mantel. The majority of mantels we sell are from 66”-78”, but we make every mantel custom to your unique space.

 
 Live-edge Timber Mantel with Blonde Finish

Live-edge Timber Mantel with Blonde Finish

 

Mantel Face Height: Is your fireplace in a large or small room? A mantel with a 6” Face Height can stand its ground in a large home, however, it can overpower a smaller space. If you have a smaller space, we recommend a mantel that has a 4-5” Face Height.

 
 4x12 Textured & (Heavily) Toasted Mantel

4x12 Textured & (Heavily) Toasted Mantel

 

Mantel Depth: Consider the amount of traffic that happens around the fireplace. Is it going to be a more narrow squeeze between another piece of furniture? Will it open up to a really large, 2-story space? The typical depth of our mantels is anywhere between 10-12”. However, if you are looking for something a bit narrower, we can make it happen.

 
 6x12 Textured Mantel

6x12 Textured Mantel

 

Mantel Height: We recommend installing the mantel 4.5’ from the floor. This allows room for stockings during the holidays. Most housing codes and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) state that the bottom of the mantel must be at least 12” away from the top of the fireplace box. The main factor for distance will come down to the Face Height of your mantel. Your local chimney sweeper and installer should know the proper distance for installation.

 
 5x10 Black Walnut Timber Mantel

5x10 Black Walnut Timber Mantel

 

Consider Your Style

Is your space traditional? Then you may want to stick with a straight edge mantel. What color tones do you typically decorate with? Then we suggest selecting a wood with either cool or warm color tones to compliment your home.

The biggest question we get asked is about matching the mantel with the flooring or pre existing furniture. We say mix it up! By trying to match the wood, you can run the risk of locking yourself in a “one wood room corner.” In order to compliment the wood, match the undertones. For instance, if you have Reclaimed Heart Pine Flooring, a Black Walnut mantel can bring out the tones in the grain and compliment all the details.

For more inspiration, enjoy our portfolio of Mantels we’ve made and have found a place to call home: