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Building a Mantel for an Electric Fireplace Insert

Posted by Candace Osmond on

Fireplaces play a huge role in social gatherings, functioning as visual focal points for room décor and a source of comfort and coziness. Even when you’re alone, a fireplace can be that quiet companion that keeps you company and helps you relax. If your home doesn’t already have a fireplace, you don’t have to worry about intrusive construction and the bill that typically follows. Building a fireplace for yourself, be it a traditional design or something a little more unique, is a project that can be as simple or as complicated as you desire. By choosing a electric fireplace, you’re avoiding having to install ventilation or gas lines that can raise the cost significantly, so you can spend more time deciding how you want your room to pull together.

Many of the most realistic electric fireplace pieces are built with any environment in mind: living room, bedroom, gathering space, office lobby, etc. Because you don’t have to worry about running gas lines or building a chimney, the freedom is yours to do with what you please. We’ve put together a few design ideas to help spark your imagination and start your journey towards building the perfect DIY electric fireplace mantel.

Size Your Space

Every electric fireplace heater insert will come with an idea of what size of space that it can comfortably fill. For example, the intimate 26” Amantii Small Insert will bring the perfect heat to about 400-500 square feet, or the size of a single-bedroom apartment or small condo. All electric units feature a box-within-a-box design that allows the inner firebox to remain safely suspended via metal supports and prevents contact with combustible environs. Amantii offers multiple sizes up to 33”, ensuring that you’ll find the right size for whatever space you’re looking to fill.

On the flip side, when it comes to adding the beauty of a fireplace to a much larger area, you might want to consider a heater-less electric fireplace. You can provide the comforting ambiance to a room without the extra effort of attempting to heat a large space and fighting with pre-existing heating and cooling systems. The Dimplex Opti-V Duel Wall Mount promises a solid design with beautiful three-dimensional visuals with an impressive surround that meets the strictest of the strict building codes, making it an excellent choice for both commercial and residential ventures.

Old School: Traditional Design

If your goal is a relaxed atmosphere, start hunting around for reclaimed brick. The natural variation in color that brickwork features can be just the thing a room needs to come together in a harmonious fashion. Stone can evoke the same natural, organic variation and comes in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and arrangements while still maintaining its natural, beautiful texture. If you want to go big, don’t be afraid to build beyond the mantel and go floor-to-ceiling with the brick or stone, giving the impression of a traditional chimney.

A rich wood mantelpiece, consisting of wood, trim, and molding pieces available at any home improvement store, can come together with a little effort to create a beautiful feature. Some of the more formal traditional designs, especially those that are vintage-inspired, can get rather complicated to pull off, so don’t be afraid to look up inspiration and guidance online. Victorian, French, and Greek Revival styles can look absolutely beautiful with a little extra determination. Matched up with the most realistic electric fireplace, your visitors will definitely appreciate and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere. Also stop in at some salvage or antique shops and see what kind of mantelpieces have been reclaimed over the years. Sometimes all it takes is a little love and stain to revitalize an old piece.

A black surround like those found with the Amantii Insert line can integrate beautifully with more traditional designs, especially when matched with brick, stone, or even tilework to bridge the space between firebox and mantel.

Minimalist Design

Just because it’s simple and elegant doesn’t meant that minimalist design is easy. A great deal of work goes into deciding just how much space to leave between the mantel itself and your firebox and its surround, or what colors would work best when finally integrated. If your room décor leans towards the minimalist, modern, or contemporary, consider a simple, floating shelf mounted around shoulder height as your mantelpiece. If your room’s walls are a single color, play around with the idea of building your firebox into an arrangement of matching color tiles, giving the fireplace a seamless, visual impact that doesn’t allow it to simply disappear into the wall. Especially if your chosen base color is white, glossy white tiles embracing a high-contrast pop of black mantel shelf and black firebox will provide a stunning focal point for your room. Accent colors can be added as curios or display art placed on the mantel itself.

Slate is a beautiful natural material with gorgeous variation in shade and texture, making it an elegant option for your surround. Go floor-to-ceiling for maximum visual impact and pull the room in around it, or use it more subtly for a gentle, organic touch.

Everything In Between and Outside the Box

Isn’t the goal of DIY to be original and unique while saving money? Why not entertain the thought of something truly outside the lines? Glass tile mosaics can take a great deal of patience and time, but when the light strikes the colors for the first time, you’ll know it’s worth it. Play with shadow and light by matching your handiwork with a mantel painted to match your existing wall color. Smoothly melding into the wall, you can still take advantage of the display space without taking away from your artwork.

Decide on a material for your surround—brick, stone, tile, etc.—and then build it outward and up, creating a custom framework for the recessed fireplace that the Amantii line features. Your mantel and surround become one and the same as the depth allows for the display of artwork, curious, and keepsakes.

Really want to make people look twice? Raise your fireplace up higher and embrace it with a beautiful painting frame, make it a part of your art collection. Build up an entertainment console and place the most realistic electric fireplace front and center, so you can enjoy the game and the comforting flicker of flames at the time same time. This is also a great way to heat up that spare bedroom or basement to keep your family and friends warm and cozy. 

Already know what you want in a mantel? Dig around on DIY inspiration sites for more ideas regarding electric fireplace surround plans and integrate them with your existing ideas. Do the same on the flip side, and search to see what others have done with their DIY electric fireplace mantels, then twist it with your own creative spin. Enjoy the freedom of design that comes with a wall-mounted electric fireplace heater insert, and let us know what you’ve created!