Contemporary Fireplace Mantels

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Contemporary fireplace mantels come in such a wide variety of materials, finishes, and styles that you might not know where to begin. What material do you think you might like? Fireplaces have been with us for about 1,000 years--since the first ones were cut into the stone walls of castles so that smoke could escape. The first fireplace mantels were made of stone, but over time brick and wood and other materials became more popular.

A good starting point, then, in thinking about your options for contemporary fireplace mantels is your overall room decor. It's important to take your time in selecting a mantel--whether you're starting from scratch or replacing one on a fireplace you already have. The fireplace will be the focal point of your home. Fireplaces, after all, have been just that, since the days of the massive hearths in the great halls of medieval houses.

Possibilities for Contemporary Fireplace Mantels

The more research you do, the more comfortable you'll be with your final choice. Maybe a visit to your local bookstore is in order. Gather several home decorating magazines--perhaps Architectural Digest or Better Homes and Gardens, to name two--that feature contemporary fireplace mantels. Buy a cappuccino and start browsing. Do the same thing online, just as you are now, if that's more your style. Refine your decorating scheme.

Maybe you're a traditionalist, and want a touch of comfortable formality. The simple clean lines of the early 19th century Federalist period would be ideal for you to showcase your collection of old photographs. Maybe you are thinking in terms of a warm country cottage with a blue tile surround, soft chintz pillow on the sofa, and plenty of fresh flowers, where you can relax with friends in the winter, or spend the afternoon reading.

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