A tan fireplace burning firewood

How to Choose a Fireplace Mantel Design

In addition to being quite useful, a well-designed fireplace mantel can serve as a focal point in your home. Many details go into planning the right mantel design, from the size and style to the materials used. If you’re planning to renovate your mantel or are in the process of building a new home, these tips will help you design the ideal fireplace mantel for your budget and aesthetic.

Choosing a Mantel Size


Mantels are not a one-size-fits-all project. Choosing the right size will first depend on the size of the firebox opening and the fireplace surround. The firebox opening is the actual space where the fire will be lit, while the surround is the space on the wall surrounding the opening consisting of the side supports, hearth, and mantel. These elements all need to be in proportion to create a harmonious design. You’ll also need to consider local building codes to make sure there is enough space between the firebox and mantel. A general rule of thumb is to allow at least 12 inches of space between the top of the firebox and the base of the mantel.

Finding Your Style Inspiration

Once you have an idea of the right size for the mantel, you should start exploring inspirational images to find the right look to match your home. Perhaps you enjoy a farmhouse-chic look that incorporates rustic details and warm tones, or maybe you’re dreaming of a sleek modern design with clean lines. Natural materials like marble, limestone, and copper create a timeless, high-end look. You should also consider the color of the mantel and whether you want to create one cohesive look using neutral colors or if you want the mantel to contrast from the wall.

Don’t Forget About Functionality

In addition to the look, you should consider how to make the design functional. Since the fireplace is a natural focal point for the room, you’ll probably want to use it to showcase beloved items. The mantel could be used to display your family photos or be a place to hang stockings and showcase holiday decorations. Is there a favorite piece of art you plan to hang above the mantel? Taking all of these factors into consideration can help you determine the ideal depth and width for your mantel.

When it comes time to create your perfect mantel, you can find the best materials from Savannah Surfaces. We offer everything you need to complete your interior home renovation or new construction project, and we’ve been proud to serve the Lowcountry since 1996. Contact us to speak with a professional about your options for a new fireplace mantel design.