Originally invented to keep smoke from coming into the room, mantels have evolved over time. Now, mantels are mainly seen as an aesthetic choice. A modern mantel incorporates both architectural and decorative elements to create an eye-catching focal point within a room. Choosing the right one is somewhat of an art.

Whether you’re a homeowner in the early stages of shopping for a new mantel or you’re a designer looking for mantel options to fit with a certain project, look no further! Our experts at Mantels Direct can coach you through the decision process.

Here are some of the most popular mantel styles to inspire your choice.


Contemporary wood mantel shelf over a recessed fireplace in a beige wall.


Characterized by clean lines, simplicity, and neutral color palettes, contemporary mantels are a great option for architecturally-minded homes with open floor plans.

This Houston Hidden Storage Mantel Shelf is perfect for a contemporary space, as it avoids excess ornamentation while still offering functionality, just as any modern element should.


Farmhouse style wood mantel shelf over a fireplace in a rock surround.


The farmhouse style is cozy and warm, drawing together both rustic or antique and contemporary elements that give off ‘country’ or natural vibes. A staple of the farmhouse style is the use of wood, giving you a straightforward choice for your mantel.

Opting for a farmhouse mantel like this Bellamy Wood Mantel Shelf will pair well with other wooden elements, like exposed beams or reclaimed wood flooring.

Metal mantel shelf placed over a bed against a light gray wall.


Embracing raw, unfinished elements and effortlessly combining utilitarian and salvaged materials, mantels that follow a minimalist approach are ideal for industrial spaces.

For example, this Tucker Black Metal Mantel Shelf is rugged yet clean.



Rustic wooden mantel shelf over a fireplace in a light wall with shelves on either side.


Similar to the farmhouse style, rustic design often incorporates natural materials (like wood) to achieve an organic ambiance that is reflective of the Great Outdoors. Mantels that have visible splits and slight imperfections in the wood like this Breckenridge Fireplace Mantel Shelf are great for this purpose, as it will appear as though you plucked the shelf straight from the woods and give any space a cozy, ski-lodge feel.

Another rustic option for the mantel is the Vail wood fireplace mantel shelf. This rough sawn pine mantel features grain variations, knots, and natural distressing with clean and simple lines perfect for a modern rustic look.

Vintage-inspired wood mantel shelf painted white with decor on top.


The vintage style tends to embrace the charm and character of bygone eras, mixing antique, second-hand, or retro elements together to showcase various time periods.

When shopping for a vintage mantel shelf, look for an option like this antique-inspired Hudson Fireplace Mantel Shelf, which is brought to life by its unique medallion and reed inlays. The key to vintage is items that are one-of-a-kind, and your mantel should reflect this same offbeat or upcycled nature.


Modern black mantel shelf in a large white living room.


Modern design is another popular interior style that’s characterized by a monochromatic color palette, minimalist lines and decor, and natural lighting.

An excellent modern mantel option is this Bedford Fireplace Mantel Shelf, which is both sleek and simple. Making sure the mantel gives your hearth or fireplace a streamlined profile is essential in a modern space, which can be easily achieved with a floating option.


Ornate wood mantel shelf over a fireplace in a brick surround.


Last but not least, the traditional style is a classic and timeless style that emphasizes elegance, symmetry, and rich detailing.

Traditional mantel shelves are therefore equally as refined and sophisticated, like this gorgeous Salem Fireplace Mantel Shelf in warm, dark pine wood. Decorators suggest pairing your traditional mantel with luxurious fabrics and classical patterns elsewhere in the room, such as floor-length curtains and floral or striped upholstery, to create symmetry and balance.

Ready to make your choice and take your fireplace to the next level with a beautiful new mantel?


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