How important are fireplaces and mantels? Many people look to the kitchen as the heart of the home. We do as well, however; the idea of a fireplace and its mantel warms our hearts physically and emotionally. Let’s call the fireplace mantel the “hearth of the home”, ha ha. It is a spot to gather, warm your buns and truly embrace the warm-heartedness a home has to offer.
Styling a Fireplace and Mantel
When we moved into our home, we loved the mantel over the fireplace in the family room. Maybe it was because we had never owned a home with a fireplace before and it was numero uno on our “must have” list for our next home? Or maybe it was because the mantel and fireplace truly spoke to the age of the home, giving it that classic character? Maybe it was little of everything combined.
There was MUCH work to be done throughout the entire home before we moved in. It truly looked as if 5 boys lived here (which they did) without their parents. There were hockey stick holes in the walls with sharpie hearts outlining them and adorned with proud initials. There were broken window panes from windows that had been here since 1890 with no screen backings.
We knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but one thing we didn’t feel the need to touch or update was the mantel and fireplace. Right before we put an offer in on the house, the previous owner (who had a strong liking for interior design, but no way to implement it since she was raising a family of 5 boys in an old farmhouse!) decided to paint the fireplace and mantel in a Fine Paints of Europe high-gloss green/gray/taupe-y color. We loved it so much and it immediately became our backdrop for a room we knew we’d spend most of our family time in! We were so happy to check that off the list.
Prior, in the listing photos and when we came to view the home, the mantel was painted, but the rest of the fireplace (the surrounding brick) was a red color. Although we love natural brick for fireplaces, especially in older homes, the color was not in great shape and really made the room feel dingy and old. An update was surely needed, so luckily the previous homeowner seized that moment and we had one less project on our hands. To this day, we love it and have worked our interior design around it in that room.
Executing a New Fireplace and Mantel Look
Mantels can be tricky business. Some overpower a room or the fireplace itself. While others can really set the room up and add such warmth to the space without even igniting a fire inside of them! It is possible to personalize them and gain much personal aesthetic while doing so. Seems crazy because fireplace mantels seem to be a smaller piece of the pie, but trust that they make a bold statement in the room they occupy (and actually the whole home!).
Everyone is drawn to a fireplace. We’ve seen some really special fireplaces and mantels that have their own love language. One of our favorites was a wood mantel that was constructed from a favorite tree that had to be taken down on the home’s property. They shaped it just enough to look smooth and man does it give the home that naturally comfortable vibe.
We wish we had a picture to share! It truly made its own impression. We do recognize, however, that that mantel really spoke to that home’s aesthetic and wouldn’t necessarily fit in any home’s setting. Don’t forget to hone-in on the home’s language and think about the message you want the fireplace to leave.
If there is no handy man in your family and a custom fireplace mantel is not in your budget, then think about a spec mantel with easy install. Get the look you want by sourcing spec mantels online or at a local hearth and home shop. They range in many different styles and sizes to make it easy to find just the right selection for your home. This also allows you to move on to more important things, like cozying up on your couch with a warm beverage and watching a movie or reading a good book while the fire in the fireplace keeps you nice and toasty!
Different Styles for a Fireplace and Mantel
As we mentioned above, we love a painted fireplace and mantel. The family we bought our home from decided on a mono-chromatic look and luckily, we love it as well. The paint they chose is rich and warm. Perfect for a modern farmhouse. Because the paint they chose is high-quality, it upgrades the look even more.
Consider a nicer paint if choosing to paint the fireplace and/or mantel. Since there is not a lot of coverage needed, it is possible to go for a paint upgrade without hurting any budget. The actual painting of the mantel/fireplace can be a DIY as well to save even more money!
When painting a mantel and/or fireplace (the stones as well), high-gloss is a beautiful option as it adds so much texture to a classic part of the home. Again, especially in a modern farmhouse. Picking a rich color that compliments the rest of the home and makes your heart happy to look at is also important.
If painting isn’t for you, then think about adding texture through the mantel itself. Maybe what originally exists there isn’t in your design bracket? Maybe there is a way to add molding or edges so you can obtain the look you want? Or, maybe, you look into either a custom mantel or a spec mantel (as we mentioned above)? There are so many options, so it is just a matter of choosing which would be right for your updating project.
We hope your hearth warms your home because fireplaces and mantels leave a long-lasting impression on you as well as others!