The Best Fireplace Mantels of 2022

Make your fireplace the room’s focal point with one of these top-notch mantels.

By Savannah Sher | Updated Sep 27, 2022 9:55 AM

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The Best Fireplace Mantels

Photo: amazon.com

A fireplace brings warmth to any home, literally and figuratively. Fireplace mantels are both functional and ornamental; they frame the fireplace, making it the focal point of any space, and they protect the surrounding walls from damage.

Shopping for a mantel online, however, can quickly become overwhelming because so many options are available at a wide range of prices. This article breaks down what to look for when shopping for the best fireplace mantel and discusses the key considerations to keep in mind while shopping.

Keep reading for tips on choosing the best option, and explore our curated picks for some of the best fireplace mantels.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Pearl Mantels Berkley Fireplace Mantel Surround
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mistana Cleitus Fireplace Mantel Shelf
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Historic Mantels Chateau Series Jordana Mantel
  4. BEST SIMPLE SHELF: Mantels Direct Colton Fireplace Mantel Shelf
  5. BEST TRADITIONAL SHELF: Pearl Mantels Auburn Wood Mantel Shelf
  6. BEST FARMHOUSE SHELF: Dogberry Collections Modern Farmhouse Mantel Shelf
  7. BEST DARK WOOD FINISH: Ebern Designs Breckenridge Fireplace Surround
  8. BEST ORNATE: Pearl Mantels Deauville Wood Mantel Surround
  9. BEST MODERN: Los Angeles Cast Stone Aria Fireplace Surround
  10. BEST COLOR SELECTION: Pearl Mantels Shenandoah Wood Mantel Shelf
The Best Fireplace Mantels

Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Fireplace Mantels

Years of experience covering home goods and furniture as well as extensive product research went into creating this guide. We explored more than 25 fireplace mantel options and weighed a number of practical considerations before making our recommendations.

  • Material: Mantels are typically made from wood, wood substitutes, or stone. Each material has its advantages, so we included examples of all types in our top picks.
  • Type: Mantels come in two types: floating shelves and fireplace surrounds. We opted to include both types in our recommendations.
  • Aesthetic: Mantels come in a wide variety of styles. To provide options that would appeal to the widest variety of readers, we included both traditional and modern models.

Our Top Picks

It’s time to start shopping—the following are the top picks for the best fireplace mantels for your home.

Best Overall

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Pearl Mantels Berkley Fireplace Mantel Surround
Photo: amazon.com

This classic mantel from Pearl Mantels features a simple, traditional aesthetic that fits well with a variety of decor styles. It features a white painted finish, though it can also be sanded down and repainted to suit the user’s preferences.

It’s made from engineered wood, which is durable and combustion proof, making it an excellent choice for mantels. This model is 52 inches tall by 62 inches wide by 8 inches deep. The interior surround measures 42 inches high by 48 feet wide. The mantel comes with a mitered hanger board assembly kit and a mitered scribe molding set for easy installation.

Product Specs

  • Material: medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
  • Style: Surround
  • Dimensions: 52 inches tall by 62 inches wide by 8 inches deep

Pros

  • Made from durable MDF
  • Assembly kit included
  • Classic, streamlined design

Cons

  • Mounting hardware not included

Get the Pearl Mantels Berkley fireplace mantel on Wayfair.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Mistana Cleitus Fireplace Mantel Shelf
Photo: wayfair.com

The Mistana Cleitus Fireplace Mantel Shelf is an affordable option that allows users to add some visual interest to their fireplace. It’s made from solid pinewood and comes in four finishes: weathered gray, broadwalk birch, distressed espresso, and pearl white. The wood features natural variations, meaning no two mantels are the same.

The shelf is available in two widths—48 and 60 inches—providing options for smaller and larger fireplaces. It comes with optional decorative corbels that give the shelf a more traditional look. It’s important to note that the shelf’s maximum weight capacity is just 25 pounds, so this model isn’t suitable for displaying heavy mirrors or art.

Product Specs

  • Material: Pine
  • Style: Shelf
  • Dimensions: 10.5 inches tall by 48 or 60 inches wide by 9.5 inches deep

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Multiple finishes available
  • 2 widths available

Cons

  • Low weight capacity

Get the Mistana fireplace mantel on Wayfair.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Historic Mantels Chateau Series Jordana Mantel
Photo: wayfair.com

A stone fireplace lends a sense of high-end luxury. The Chateau Series Jordana Mantel by Historic Mantels is made from cast limestone and gypsum with a distressed ivory finish. Its silhouette is classic, and some fine detailing adds to its charm. The elegant curves bring a historical gravitas to its aesthetic. The stone is finished with a protective clear coating, making maintenance a breeze.

The fireplace surround comes with a three-piece hearth in matching stone, completing the look. Three filler panels are included that can be cut down in order to fit with a variety of firebox opening sizes.

Product Specs

  • Material: Stone
  • Style: Surround
  • Dimensions: 53 inches tall by 72 inches wide by 16 inches deep

Pros

  • Made from solid stone
  • Comes with a matching hearth
  • Includes filler panels for easy customization

Cons

  • High price

Get the Historic Mantels fireplace mantel on The Home Depot or Wayfair.

Best Simple Shelf

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Mantels Direct Colton Fireplace Mantel Shelf
Photo: amazon.com

The Colton Fireplace Mantel Shelf by Mantels Direct is made from solid pine and has a simple aesthetic that will work in a wide variety of spaces. It’s available in white, vintage white, aged cherry, and chocolate, as well as an unfinished version that can be painted or stained in any color.

The shelf is sold with mounting hardware, including a mounting board, wood screws, and clear instructions, making installation easy. It only has a weight capacity of 20 pounds, so it’s best suited to displaying smaller and lighter items. There are two widths available: 60 inches and 72 inches. Both are 8 inches tall and 5 inches deep.

Product Specs

  • Material: Pine
  • Style: Shelf
  • Dimensions: 5 inches tall by 60 or 72 inches wide by 8 inches deep

Pros

  • 2 widths available
  • Multiple finishes available
  • Comes with installation supplies

Cons

  • Low weight capacity

Get the Mantels Direct fireplace mantel on Amazon.

Best Traditional Shelf

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Pearl Mantels Auburn Wood Mantel Shelf
Photo: amazon.com

Many mantel shelves on the market are simple and streamlined, but this model from Pearl Mantels has a traditional aesthetic that provides a vintage look. Two finish options are available: distressed cherry and an unfinished version that can be painted or stained to complement the surrounding decor. Shoppers can choose from three shelf widths based on the size of their fireplace: 48, 60, and 72 inches. The dimensions of the shelf vary based on the width chosen. It’s important to note that mounting hardware is not included with this model and will need to be purchased separately.

Product Specs

  • Material: Poplar
  • Style: Shelf
  • Dimensions: 12 inches tall by 48 inches wide by 9.5 inches deep; 15 inches tall by 60 inches wide by 10 inches deep; or 15 inches tall by 72 inches wide by 10 inches deep

Pros

  • Available in 3 widths
  • Available finished or unfinished
  • Made from solid poplar wood

Cons

  • Mounting hardware not included

Get the Pearl Mantels Auburn fireplace mantel on Amazon or Wayfair.

Best Farmhouse Shelf

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Dogberry Collections Modern Farmhouse Mantel Shelf
Photo: wayfair.com

Farmhouse-style furnishings have been popular for years and don’t seem to be going out of vogue anytime soon. When refacing a fireplace in a farmhouse-style home, consider this mantel shelf option from Dogberry. It’s available in four widths—36, 48, 60, and 72 inches—as well as two depths—6.25 and 9 inches—so shoppers can choose the size that best suits their fireplace. They can also pick between six finishes, with options including midnight black, aged oak, and natural.

Aside from masonry screws, the necessary mounting hardware is included with the shelf, which has a 50-pound weight capacity, so it can display a heavy mirror or artwork.

Product Specs

  • Material: Poplar
  • Style: Shelf
  • Dimensions: 5.5 inches tall by 36 inches wide by 9 inches deep; 5.5 inches tall by 48 inches wide by 10 inches deep; 5.5 inches tall by 60 inches wide by 9 inches deep; or 5.5 inches tall by 72 inches wide by 10 inches deep

Pros

  • High weight capacity
  • Multiple finishes available
  • Several widths available
  • Mounting hardware included

Cons

  • Masonry screws not included

Get the Dogberry Collections fireplace mantel on Wayfair or Amazon.

Best Dark Wood Finish

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Ebern Designs Breckenridge Fireplace Surround
Photo: wayfair.com

It can be difficult to finish fireplace surrounds with a dark wood finish, but this option from Ebern Designs is an excellent, timeless option. It’s made from solid wood with a premium wood veneer in a walnut-espresso finish, though a white finish is also available.

It’s important to note that this model is compatible with noncombustible heating sources like electric fireplaces but isn’t suitable for genuine wood-burning fireplaces. The back features a cable management opening that allows users to feed cords to an electrical outlet. While hardware is included for assembling the mantel, installation supplies must be purchased separately.

Product Specs

  • Material: Wood
  • Style: Surround
  • Dimensions: 41 inches tall by 36 inches wide by 11.8 inches deep

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Made from solid wood
  • Features a cable management opening

Cons

  • Not compatible with combustible heat sources

Get the Ebern Designs fireplace mantel on Wayfair.

Best Ornate

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Pearl Mantels Deauville Wood Mantel Surround
Photo: wayfair.com

An ornate fireplace surround like this one from Pearl Mantels can make any room feel like it’s part of an Old World parlor. The Deauville Mantel is hand carved from hardwood in a Louis XV French Provincial style.

It’s available in two finishes; the fruitwood finish has a warm vintage feel, and the unfinished version can be stained or painted in the color of the buyer’s choosing. The fruitwood version is 67 inches wide, whereas the unfinished version is available in both a 67-inch and 77-inch width. Each purchase includes a mitered hanger board assembly kit for easy installation and a two-piece mitered scribe molding set to hide any gaps after installation.

Product Specs

  • Material: Wood
  • Style: Surround
  • Dimensions: 53.5 inches tall by 67 or 77 inches wide by 10.75 inches tall

Pros

  • Made from solid hardwood
  • 2 finishes available
  • Includes installation kit

Cons

  • High price

Get the Pearl Mantels Deauville fireplace mantel on Wayfair.

Best Modern

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Los Angeles Cast Stone Aria Fireplace Surround
Photo: wayfair.com

Most mantels and fireplace surrounds available on the market have either a traditional or classic aesthetic, but the Los Angeles Cast Stone Aria Fireplace Surround is a great option for those whose tastes lean more modern. It comes in 12 finishes, so shoppers can coordinate the mantel with their other furnishings. It’s made from cast concrete and is weatherproof so it can be installed either indoors or outdoors.

This mantel is very heavy at 450 pounds and requires professional installation for the best results. Its sturdy construction does, however, mean that it has a very high weight capacity of 350 pounds.

Product Specs

  • Material: Concrete
  • Style: Surround
  • Dimensions: 56 inches tall by 66 inches wide by 7 inches deep

Pros

  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
  • Hearth is included
  • Made from cast concrete

Cons

  • Professional installation required

Get the Los Angeles Cast Stone fireplace mantel on Wayfair.

Best Color Selection

The Best Fireplace Mantels Option: Pearl Mantels Shenandoah Wood Mantel Shelf
Photo: wayfair.com

The Shenandoah Mantel from Pearl Mantels has a simple, rustic look that would fit perfectly in a cottage or ski cabin. It’s available in 10 colors, offering excellent variety in terms of finish. Along with options like rustic cherry and espresso, the pine mantel also comes in an unfinished version that can be stained or painted. It has rough hand-hewn edges, which further add to its aesthetic by adding a distressed look.

Along with plenty of color choices, there are also three widths to choose from: 48, 60, and 72 inches. It comes with decorative corbels, which can be installed for a slightly more traditional look.

Product Specs

  • Material: Pinewood
  • Style: Shelf
  • Dimensions: 5 inches tall by 48, 60, or 72 inches wide by 9 inches deep

Pros

  • Available in 10 colors
  • Available in 3 widths
  • Optional corbels included

Cons

  • Made of combustible materials

Get the Pearl Mantels Shenandoah fireplace mantel on Amazon or Wayfair.

Our Verdict

After reviewing this guide, you now know more about choosing a fireplace mantel. We recommend Pearl Mantels Berkley fireplace mantel for its classic look. For those on a budget, the Mistana fireplace mantel is a great option.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Fireplace Mantel

Although it’s easy to assume that all heat fireplace mantels offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality. Keep reading to learn about the important features to consider when choosing a fireplace mantel.

Material

As mentioned above, fireplace mantels can be constructed from a variety of materials, though the most popular are wood and stone.

  • Wood mantels are affordable, attractive, and can withstand heat. Mantels are crafted from different wood species, with poplar and pine being some of the most popular options due to their low cost. Hardwoods like oak and alder perform even better but come at a higher price. MDF may also be used as an even more affordable alternative to solid wood. Since MDF is noncombustible, it offers great performance.
  • Stone mantels are incredibly durable but come at a high price. They won’t burn if exposed to high heat or flames and work well to disperse heat. Mantels can be constructed from many different stone materials, including marble, travertine, and sandstone, all of which perform well. Cast-stone mantels are molded rather than carved and allow for more intricate designs.

Dimensions 

Whether you’re designing a new fireplace or adding a mantel to an existing one, selecting a mantel with the correct dimensions is essential. When choosing a mantel for an existing fireplace, it’s important to take precise measurements to ensure the mantel will fit correctly. Measure the height and width of the firebox opening as well as any existing surrounding material.

When choosing a mantel shelf, the dimensions of the shelf should be wider than the fireplace itself. The exact width is a matter of preference, but opting for a mantel that’s 3 to 6 inches wider than the fireplace is a good rule of thumb.

Style

There are two types of fireplace mantels: shelves and surrounds.

  • A mantel shelf is a floating ledge that sits above the opening of the fireplace. It’s a decorative feature more than a functional addition to a fireplace.
  • A fireplace surround provides a frame around the top and sides of a fireplace. It provides a more traditional, finished look and protects the walls around the fireplace.

Because mantels are decorative as well as functional, it’s important to consider their aesthetics before choosing a model. Ornate styles evoke a luxurious, vintage feel, whereas streamlined mantels are more modern. Choose a color and style that fits with the rest of the room’s decor scheme.

Installation 

The ease of installation of a fireplace mantel is determined by the materials of the existing fireplace and surround as well as the mantel itself. Mantel shelves are much easier to install than fireplace surrounds since they simply need to be affixed to the wall above the fireplace.

When installing a mantel for a working fireplace, it’s essential to ensure that the process is done according to local safety codes. According to The National Fire Code, “Woodwork or other combustible materials shall not be placed within 6 inches of a fireplace opening. Combustible material within 12 inches of the fireplace opening shall not project more than ⅛ inch for each 1-inch distance from such opening.” Be sure to check your municipality’s guidelines concerning fireplace installation in case it has stricter regulations.

FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about choosing and installing fireplace mantels.

Q. What is the best wood to use for a fireplace mantel?

Hardwoods like oak and alder are the best choices for fireplace mantels.

Q. How much should I pay for a fireplace mantel?

The cost of a fireplace mantel varies based on its size and materials. Shelf mantels are less expensive and can be found for less than $200. Mantel surrounds, however, cost between $300 and $5,000.

Q. Should a mantel shelf be wider than the fireplace?

Yes. Mantel shelves should be 3 to 6 inches wider than the fireplace itself.

Q. How do I install a floating mantel?

To install a floating mantel on a brick fireplace, start by predrilling holes into the brick at the desired height. Add lag shields or anchors to the holes in order to add stability before installing the lag bolts themselves. Many floating mantels come with installation kits that include everything you need for the installation process.