Many homeowners want to create a visual focal point in their living room, and one of the best ways to do this is by creating a dramatic fireplace. Adding an antique fireplace mantel to your fireplace can instantly change the look of the room and create visual appeal. Many antique fireplace mantels have been salvaged from old homes, so you should have a variety of mantelpieces to choose from from different historical eras. Some common types of antique fireplace mantels include:
Wood mantels were very popular in several different periods of history and they tend to be the easiest type of antique fireplace mantel to find. Antique wood mantles can range from being very ornately carved to more simple in style. If your fireplace is in a large room and you have dark wood furniture, you may want to consider choosing a dark wood mantle, such as mahogany. Smaller rooms can be overpowered by a large dark wood antique mantle, so if you don't have a lot of space, consider getting a mantle in a lighter colored wood, such as pine.
Ideally, you will want to display your antique fireplace mantle in its original state in order to highlight its beauty and history. But it is not uncommon for antique wood mantles to need to be restored. In order to do this, gently clean your mantle with wood oil soap and fill in any cracks or splits in the wood with clear wood glue. If the mantle has been painted or stained in the past, it is not a great idea to try to strip it and refinish it yourself. In order to maintain the beauty and value of your antique wood mantle, it is best to hire a professional furniture restorer to restore your mantle.
Antique stone mantels tend to be large and quite dramatic. In most cases, a stone mantel looks best when the size of the mantel complements the size of the room. If you have a small living area, a large stone mantel may not be the best choice, since it can overwhelm the space. Prior to purchasing an antique stone mantel, look for signs of cracking. You should also keep stone caulk on hand for future repairs.
Cast-iron antique mantels can be more difficult to find, but they can make a beautiful addition to a room. If you have a cast-iron mantel, make sure that you polish it regularly with wire wool and metal polish. Never clean your cast iron antique mantel with water, as this can cause it to rust.