The decor of the room: This is where you narrow down your fireplace mantel ideas. Once you start shopping around, you'll quickly discover that you have a ton of colors, shapes, sizes, makes, materials, and appearances to choose from. So, always consider the decor of the room where the mantel will be mounted. You want your fireplace mantel to accent your fireplace and blend with the room. If you're looking for a fireplace mantel for a cabin, stick with the antique, rugged models, if that's the decor of the room. Picking a mantel shelf that doesn't blend with the room can turn an exquisite mantel into an eye sore.
The wall space available: The amount of wall space available will dictate the maximum size you can get. It's not uncommon to have a mantel shelf that extends past the width of the fireplace. If you want a long fireplace mantel shelf, measure how much wall space you have. As they say, measure twice, cut once (in this case, it's measure twice, buy once - you don't want to end up with a mantel that's too long and have to go back and buy another).
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