Does anyone else suffer from fireplace envy? I desperately wanted a fireplace in our new house. But, here in the deserts of Arizona, they’re a little harder to come by than in other parts of the country. The house we found (and ultimately moved into) was perfect in many ways, but it was lacking a fireplace. This poses such a decorating dilemma, especially around the holidays! No stockings hung by the chimney with care. No safe place (i.e out of the reach of little boys’ hands) to display breakable items! So, we finally created a solution to our fireplace-less home and made over our dining room/living room area a little by installing our own “faux” mantel shelf! It’s fairly “plain-Jane” on it’s own, but I LOVE it dressed up! The room it’s in is quite large, with giant vaulted ceilings. So, our new faux mantel helps fill some of the space better. We still need more decor in that room (and, well, quite frankly furniture that goes together & matches). But, the mantel is at least a step in the right direction! (Look at how sad & lonely that picture looked on the wall by itself before! Yikes!)
We got all the materials for our faux mantel install at Lowe’s. It all started while I was browsing in the decorative modeling aisle. I had some other project plans in mind. But then, I stumbled upon a whole fireplace kit section–complete with mantels, fireplace surrounds, corbels, etc. They had an unfinished 6ft. mantel for $78. So, we then got some corbels/shelf brackets, picked out a large mirror, and got some red mahogany stain to match our dining room set as closely as possible.
Now, on to the work. First off, if you are going to be using softer/lower quality wood (hence the $78, not $150+), I definitely recommend using a wood conditioner/pre-stain before applying the stain. It will help the overall appearance when you apply the stain. Even with the wood conditioner, a more expensive wood certainly would look much nicer. But, this works fine for us and the price tag is right. If you’re worried about how the wood is going to absorb the stain, you could always just paint instead.
In addition to pre-treating the wood, we also made sure to sand the mantel well before applying the stain. Then, we spent time staining. And, once that was dry, we did a coat of polyurethane (satin finish). We did the same process on the shelf brackets as well.
Once that all was dry and looking the way we wanted, we moved on to installing it. First up, we had to mount a cleat to the wall. This is what the mantel attaches to for added support (the mantel is hollow in back). Then, we attached the mantel shelf to the shelf brackets and installed that on the wall. The shelf brackets go into the wall with large dry wall anchor screws. And, then, you nail the mantel shelf to the cleat, so everything is nice & sturdy!
Once the shelf is up, we hung the mirror. I love how it helps take up some of the vertical space on the wall. It’s a dark wood also (even though I know it looks black in the pictures). Again, the two look fairly plain on their own, but I don’t think the mantel will ever sit just empty again! The only thing left to do then is decorate! And, since Halloween is this week, the mantel got spookified! It is SO nice to have a place to set breakable items that the boys can’t get to! Even though I had displayed my new apothecary jars on the back of the piano before, I had to move everything for fear of the boys breaking it. But, not anymore!
Do YOU have a fireplace or “faux” mantel?
Interested in winning $100 to Lowe’s…then, head on over to this month’s giveaway (ends tomorrow night 10/30). For even more ideas, visit Lowes Creative Ideas. While you’re there, you can sign up to receive their free Creative Ideas Magazine, which is full of all kinds of ideas & inspiration!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Creators & Influencers Network and received a Lowe’s gift card to complete my projects. As always, all opinions and experiences are my own.