Best Mantels for Brick Fireplaces

By Helen Scott , last updated December 25, 2011

The best mantel for your brick fireplace is one that will pull the room together. A mantel or hearth is a traditionally a great space to display family photos and other personal affects, but can also be a way to express your own decorative style. The right mantel for your fireplace allows you to seamlessly integrate the structure of the room with your envisioned design for the space. A mantel and fireplace should draw the focus of the eyes without becoming an eyesore. It is important in choosing a mantel to consider the rest of the room, and the specifics of your particular fireplace.

There are standard mantel sizes and shapes available, but they may not work for everyone. Every fireplace is different, and one must consider the shape of the room, the desired effect, and the decorative possibilities. Fireplace size, however, is generally pretty standard and fireplaces usually come in two standard sizes. The mantel itself should be approximately 12 inches wider than the width of the fireplace, in order to create a visually pleasing frame.

Depending on your specific room and budget, a mantel shelf is a less costly alternative that offers much of the same effect as a full mantel. This can be a useful option in smaller spaces, or in a room that might be crowded by a larger, more elaborate full mantel. Mantel shelves are installed in a similar fashion, and still provide a hearth space above the fireplace. The mantel shelf still allows for a personalized, decorative space above the fireplace, which is the effect that most people desire when customizing their fireplace.

There are currently many options for ordering a mantel directly. Installation is much easier than building the entire mantle from scratch. Only an experienced professional should attempt to build a mantle. There are many companies that will deliver a custom built mantle to your door, built according to the dimensions of the fireplace and the room and designed according to your personal decorative preferences. Websites such as and make it easy to install a custom built mantel yourself,

If your brick fireplace does not already have a mantel, it may be difficult to envision the affect the right mantel would have. Many websites that specialize in custom built mantels offer the option of entering the exact dimensions of the space in order to assist you in choosing your specific mantel. If your fireplace has a mantel that does not suit your space, do not try to remove it yourself. Especially when dealing with brick, it is best to have an expert assist you in dismantling your mantel.

When deciding on the best color for your mantel, there is no need to be limited by the color scheme of the brick fireplace. If the color of the brick does not fit your intended color scheme, or if it stands out more than you’d like, offers a do-it-yourself fireplace painting kit.

Another option to help highlight your mantel and fireplace is to introduce warm accent lighting. To create the ideal effect, the mantel should subtly appear to glow without being completely washed out.

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