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Fireplace Mantel: The Inspiration Pic!

by | Jan 17, 2012 | Decorating Inspiration | 29 comments

Fireplace Mantel: The Inspiration Pic!

Inspiration image: Skonahem via Brown Button

A couple of weeks ago I showed you my faux fireplace mantel and the dilemma I was trying to solve. The situation was I wanted to use a mantel surround in my entry (even though there was no real fireplace there) to add some character. Unfortunately there was an awkwardly placed cold air return vent on the wall that I wanted to put it on. Story of my life! There is always a dilemma, non?

Fireplace Mantel: The Inspiration Pic!

My question was how to keep the mantel on that wall but hide the air vent without blocking the air flow. And in the process I wanted to make the mantel look like it was there on purpose as an architectural element in the room and not some random after thought.

So to get my ideas flowing, I opened the comments to see what YOUR creative ideas were for solving my dilemma! And wow, I had over 200 creative suggestions! Thank you to everyone who left comments for me on that post! I really and truly read and considered all options and appreciated the time you took to share.

As a part of my decision making process, I was considering my limited time (I have a million projects waiting in line!) and lack of desire for a complicated DIY project, as well as the overall cost as I wanted to keep the budget minimal. There were other issues to consider such as how the mantel actually looks in the room (as opposed to how it might have looked in the photo), and of course what style I think would be appropriate in our home.

I had super helpful people send me inspiration photos, and others emailed me with awesome ideas, like my good pal Darlene from Fieldstone Hill who so graciously sent me amazing links to beautiful antique grates. She has awesome taste and totally got my desire to have the mantel be an intentional and beautiful architectural statement (as opposed to it looking just like a faux mantel). Love her.

Fireplace Mantel: The Inspiration Pic!

Are you still with me? OK. Phew. So in the end, I couldn’t find an antique or otherwise interesting grate locally (I live on a peninsula and it isn’t easy to find cool stuff unless you travel a long way or order online). And I decided to not order something online (antique or not) just in case it ended up not being right once I saw it.

Fireplace Mantel: The Inspiration Pic!

One of the interesting and unique ideas in my comments on that post was from Patti (above). She alerted me to a photo she had seen on Brown Button that was strikingly similar to the layout of my wall (which is also at an angle) and the overall look of my fireplace.

Fireplace Mantel: The Inspiration Pic!

Skonahem via Brown Button

What I liked about the above inspiration photo (besides it feeling so similar to the layout of my room and the actual mantel on the wall) was that the design of the “screen” would not only cover up the air return vent without compromising the airflow but it unified the mantel and the screen together as one nice solid architectural statement.


Interestingly, the screen insert was white as opposed to black, which I actually liked a lot because it gave the entire mantel a much “chunkier” unified appearance.

So, with that possible inspiration picture stored on my phone (thanks for the inspiration, Patti!), I headed out to see what I could find on this not-always-inspiring-peninsula. But lo and behold, I think I found just the solution I was looking for. It won’t be exactly the same as this photo, but that is OK. Inspiration photos can be inspiration for your own unique interpretation of an idea.

So stay tuned for my next post and I’ll show you what I found! Oh, such a cliff hanger!



  1. Maria

    Can’t wait to see! :-)

  2. Heather

    I can’t wait to see it!!!

  3. Deanna

    All that build up! Melissa! I can’t believe you left us hanging….

    I hope this project is high on your list – I can’t wait to see it!

  4. JD

    I really like this! It will be sensational. I can’t wait to see how you do it. Hooray.

  5. Lisa

    What a cliffhanger! Can’t wait to see what you came up with!

  6. Vee

    Oh I do hope that this is resolved today! =) I’m so eager to see what you did.

  7. Susan

    That inspiration picture is fantastic – I think it helps us readers visualize what you’re going for! I can’t wait to see how yours turns out!!

    • Melissa

      I agree, it helped ME visualize what I needed to do!! :-)

  8. Jen

    Thank goodness you have so many people to offer ideas, what a blessing. Can’t wait to see what you found!

    • Melissa

      Oh yes, I know! It was so helpful!

  9. Rachel

    Another idea is to use a radiator cover that you could paint the same color as your trim. I saw one used as a magnetic board organizer here: I don’t know what sizes they come in but may be a simple solution.

  10. Patti

    Hi Melissa—-I’m so glad the link I found was of help to you. I can’t wait to see your interpretation!! Don’t keep us waiting long!

  11. Jo

    I’m excited to see what you found!

  12. Fairfield House


    What a wonderful solution to your dilemma! I look forward to seeing your spin on it. One has to wonder what were these builders thinking when they make such choices?

    Your Friend,

  13. lifeloveluxe

    Ah, the inspiration shot is simply divine!! Fabulous solution…can’t wait to see how it turns out! Personally, I love the fireplace covers at Restoration Hardware for a little touch of vintage.

    • Melissa

      They are lovely! Unfortunately they won’t cover my air return vent but I would love one for my real fireplace!! Gorgeous!

  14. Shauna

    Love the inspiration pic. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  15. Christina Rodriguez

    You’re right. Inspiration photos don’t have to be followed literally. They give you the general idea so you have an idea in your mind when you are out looking. Can’t wait to see what you chose!

  16. Graziela

    Yes, like everyone else, I can’t wait to see it!

  17. Marla

    Melissa, you little scamp you! Keepin’ us all adanglin’!

    (In the pic, is that a radiator covered by a ‘custom’ framed piece of lattice? Radiators, UGH! can’t live with em, can’t live without em. Well that last part is debatable.)

  18. Dana at Cooking at Cafe D

    That’s a great idea – can’t wait to see what you did.
    It’s so fun to see before pics…and the remarkable afters!

  19. {darlene}

    the perfect thing? locally??? GAH!!! I cannot wait to see it! I know it will be gorgeous.

    {thank you for your sweet words. puhlease, can you get any more darling?????}

  20. Shelly

    How exciting! I’ll be waiting….

  21. MarySue

    Aw, man, I was all ready to see what you got! Guess I’ll just have to come back tomorrow and read your next post (like that would be different from the norm for me)! ;-)

  22. Vickie H.

    OK!!!! Now we MUST see what you have come up with!!! Very eager! Thank you for sharing!!!


  23. lesley

    Did you think about painting the air vent the same color as the wall? That might help..


  24. Pat

    Oooh! I’m intriued.
    I’m waiting …patiently.

  25. Jo

    Ooh, I can’t wait to see your after photos! I love the black wall in your inspiration photo…very regal!


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