Choosing a Fireplace Mantel Shelf: 4 Types

When installing a new fireplace mantel shelf it is important to look at all of the options available before selecting the best one. Aesthetically, mantels are very important. Often a mantel will be the most important feature of the room it is in, meaning that the room will have to be decorated according to the mantel's appearance. In addition, fireplace mantels have a functional purpose, and it is important that they serve it correctly. What follows should help you to understand the various types of fireplace mantel shelves, and their unique advantages and disadvantages as they relate to your home.


Wooden mantel shelves are a classic option for any fireplace. They can be installed as an addition to an existing fireplace mantel, or come as part of an entire mantel. Wooden mantel shelves can match any look, and can come in many colors with different finishes. They can also come in different styles.

It is important to note that you cannot construct an entire mantel out of wood, due to the fact that it is flammable and not safe to be used near a fire. However, making a mantel shelf out of wood is perfectly acceptable and commonly done. To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to research your local safety regulations with regards to how close you are allowed to have wooden materials to a fireplace.


Stone mantel shelves are another great option available to you. Whether they are constructed from limestone, marble or granite, stone mantel shelves for your fireplace will fit right in. Stone comes in many colors and textures and can be treated in many different ways, giving you a wide variety of decorative options.

Making a mantel shelf out of stone will allow you to match it with a stone mantel easily. Stone mantels are simple, classy, and functional. They may be more expensive than the other options available—installation costs are high due to skilled labor and large, hard to transport materials—but if that puts you off, cheaper options are available. There are kits to create a stone facade for a mantel that are cheaper and easier to install than a stone mantel, for example.


Metal mantel shelves are an excellent choice for their versatility. A mantel shelf made of metal can be anything from a simple stainless steel surface to an ornate and detailed shelf with designs and tarnish. No matter what your home looks like, there is a metal mantel shelf that will fit right in.


Bricks are the most obvious material to construct any part of a mantel from, and a mantel shelf is no exception. Bricks are common mantel materials for their simple, functional nature, so using bricks—or a brick veneer—to make your mantel shelf is an obvious choice.

Bricks, while not particularly complicated or varied, still give you many options in color. If you like the idea of bricks but find the color or texture choices limiting, you should consider using tiles to cover your mantel shelf, as this gives you additional color and texture options.