Photo: James Ray Spahn
1. Reclaim the Space
What could be more appropriate for a timber home than a solid timber beam above a crackling fire? Reclaimed wood works even better, due to its refined durability and inimitable touch of warmth.
The most common dimensions of hand-hewn beams are 6-by-6, 8-by-8 and 10-by-10 inches.
2. Spice it up
Fireplaces are the focal point of most great rooms, but top designers say your mantel needs its own focal point as well. This can be a large single item (an anchor) like a painting or wreath or a collection of smaller items such as frames or harmonious tchotchkes. If you go with a mirror for your anchor, be mindful of what it will reflect. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something that will be comforting to look at when you’re relaxing in front of the flickering flames.
3. Make it Your Own
Mantels are the perfect spot for personal touches – family photos, heirlooms, art – so customizing your mantel can be a good way to continue that unique expression. Think about what you like; some people find symmetry soothing while other prefer an asymmetrical look. Keep in mind that objects with various heights will catch the eye as it skims the room and can make your mantel more interesting.
See also: How to Decorate a Fireplace Mantel