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Why Should The Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace and How To Do It?

Why Should The Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace and How To Do It?

The fireplace and fireplace mantel complement each other and become the focal point of the room. The size of the mantel is important for highlighting the beauty of the fireplace, but what is the ideal size?

To be aesthetically pleasing, the fireplace mantel should be at least 3 inches wider than the fireplace on each side. Most homes, however, have a mantel that extends 6 to 12 inches past each side.

To achieve an asymmetrical look, the width should be at least as wide as the fireplace, but it should never be shorter.

You must consider more than just the fireplace to enhance the beauty of the fireplace mantel. Continue reading to learn more about these elements and how they can be combined to create a cohesive overall design for your living space.

Factors Influencing Mantel Length

Why Should The Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace and How To Do It?

The fireplace mantel can serve as the centerpiece to achieve balance in your home’s interior design. The mantel should extend at least 3 inches beyond the fireplace on each side. However, most homes have a 6- to 12-inch mantel that extends past each side of the fireplace.

The fireplace mantel acts as a protective hood, deflecting heat from the hearth beneath. The above mantel length is adequate for its function without sacrificing its aesthetic appeal.

Other factors must be considered when determining mantel length. Let’s start with the most important:

The Firebox Dimensions
Determining the dimensions of your firebox will give you a good idea of how long your mantel should be. However, there is no hard and fast rule regarding its length. Just keep in mind that it should cover at least the width of the firebox.

However, depending on the available space, a wide and long mantel can stand out even more.

Some homes have larger fireplace mantels, going above and beyond the average of 12 inches on each side of the fireplace. Materials that span the entire wall are becoming more common, depending on the homeowner’s aesthetic preferences.

The Firebox’s Surrounding Materials
The materials that surround the fireplace are accents that give it a framed appearance. They should be fireproof for safety and functionality, as well as for decorative and aesthetic reasons. Bricks, tiles, wood planks, and stone masonry are examples of such materials.

The mantel should never be shorter or narrower in span than the fireplace surround; otherwise, it will appear awkward and out of proportion. Furthermore, it loses its primary function of containing the flame sparks and heat emanating from the hearth.

Make sure the length of the mantel is equal to, or greater than, the length of the fireplace surround.

The Dimensions Of The Hearth
The floor area of your fireplace is known as the hearth. Not all fireplaces are built with a hearth beneath them. The length of the mantel should be equal to or less than the width of the hearth.

A narrow mantel can make a bold statement in homes with a particularly large hearth. A long mantel that extends beyond the width may not be appealing. As a result, the narrow span or the same width as the hearth are the better options.

The Position Of The Fireplace On The Wall
You must consider the fireplace’s placement in relation to the wall to which it is attached. A wall-to-wall mantel will look appropriate if it is centered on a flat wall.

If the fireplace is in a protruding wall, as shown in the photo above, a wall-to-wall span or one that is slightly shorter than the protruding wall may be more visually appealing.

The Room’s Dimensions
Pay close attention to the wall where the fireplace is located, as well as the placement of the doors and windows. It is also important to consider the placement of the surrounding furniture and fixtures. Overall, you must consider the room’s overall layout and design theme.

Long mantels may look good and fit in large rooms. It will draw attention to the fireplace rather than making it appear small and miniature. To look appealing in small rooms, the mantel should be proportionately sized in length.

How To Measure For A Fireplace Mantel

Why Should The Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace and How To Do It?

There are three important measurements to consider when planning your fireplace mantel. They are as follows:

The mantel’s depth is measured from the back edge to the face. It serves as a shelf for the decorations. It should not be too deep so that the heat from the fireplace underneath is trapped.

The mantel’s width is measured from the farthest end to the opposite end. This is the longest measurement and may extend wall-to-wall, or the shortest measurement, which should be equal to the width of the firebox.

The thickness of the mantel determines the height of the mantel. It is calculated by measuring from the top edge to the bottom edge.

The height of the mantel may also refer to its vertical clearance from the floor or ceiling, or from the top edge of the fireplace.

Adding On To A Fireplace Mantel

Consider transforming your fireplace mantel into a floating shelf. This is due to the fact that the standard mantel depth of 6 inches is insufficient for your intended decor. You may need to extend your existing mantel if you intend to install a TV, a metallic chrome mirror, or other heavy objects.

Extending the fireplace mantel provides more space above the fireplace. You should also consider how much extra weight your extension should support.

Extending An Existing Mantel

Wood planks are commonly used for mantel extension. The extension should be strong enough to support the TV’s base and any other heavy decor you may add later. You must still ensure that the extended depth looks proportionate to the pilasters and firebox.

To extend your existing mantel, ensure that it is properly screwed to ensure stability and the weight of any objects and decor placed on top of it.

To support the additional weight and dimensions, you’d need a wood plyboard with width and depth. In effect, the existing mantel will support the extension you will build.

Attaching A Floating Mantel

Why Should The Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace and How To Do It?

A floating mantel can be an excellent addition to your fireplace. It could be a shelf or a decorative platform on which you can neatly arrange your decorations.

The majority of floating mantels are made of wood and can be mounted on the wall. A wooden beam is heavy, requires a lot of support, and requires two people to install properly.

Here are the steps you can take to do it yourself:

Determine The Size Of The Mantel
You must calculate the width, depth, and face height or thickness of your wooden mantel. After that, cut or secure a wooden beam to your desired dimensions.

Mark The Specific Wall Points Where The Mantel Will Be Attached
You must determine the proper height for the mantel. Take measurements from the floor, the top of the fireplace, and the height of the ceiling. Then, along the length of the fireplace, you must mark points on the wall.

Drill Holes in the Wall to support the attached mantel.
Drill the wall marks with a masonry drill bit if you’re mounting on brick or stone masonry. Insert lag shield anchors and lag bolts into the holes. The lag bolt heads should then be removed.

The Mantel Should Be Hung
Hold the beam firmly and push the lag bolts through. If necessary, use a hammer. Check that the holes in the wall line up with the holes in the wooden beam. Check that the support anchors are securely fastened.

Seams Should Be Caulked
Caulk the edges and joined surfaces for a flawless finish. Allow it to completely dry.


The fireplace mantel should be at least 3 inches wider than the fireplace on each side. Most houses extend the width by 12 inches or more on each side.

While there are no hard and fast rules for designing your mantel, the choices are entirely dependent on the overall theme of your living space, the design of the fireplace, and your personal preferences. Always remember that a well-designed mantel can bring out the best in your fireplace.

You can also add to your existing mantel or install a floating mantel. However, consider its proper sizing in terms of height, depth, width, and carrying capacity to support the weight of your TV and other intended decors.

Why Should The Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace and How To Do It?

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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