Fireplace mantle surrounds provide one of those settings in a residence where your creative imagination is put to good use. Fireplaces, like stairways and cabinetry provide a unique place to focus the attention of both homeowners and guest. With this is mind, I have put together a series of graphics to help my customers with design ideas for their fireplace mantels. I have listed these mantle surround graphics in three different categories and so will post these in separate posts.

In this first post I will illustrate a few design ideas for the mantel surround with columns. Remember to observe your local fire codes for the clearances necessary for home safety.

Column Mantel Surrounds

Column Mantel Surround

Column Mantel Surround

The mantel surround shows a full round column or leg (It happens to be a Greek type column but many turning profiles are possible). This type is possible if you have a lot of room to work with. Since the columns are full round, the mantel shelf will accordingly protrude out into the living space quite a bit. Makes for a beautiful show doesn’t it.

If you don’t have enough room for a full column mantel surround you might want to consider the split column
mantel surround. See below. This design doesn’t protrude as much into your living space. I should add here that these drawing are very simple and really no ornamentation is included but certainly possible. For example, hand carved scrolls or centers would look really nice in the center section of the mantel.

split columns mantel surround

split columns mantel surround

Corbels would also be a possibility particularly on the split column mantel surround.

A variation on a theme which I particularly like is the wrap-around mantel surround. See below.

corner-column-mantel

corner-column-mantel

You need a lot of room for this surround. Note that the columns in this version are three quarter turns. Or another way of saying the same thing is that a one quarter section is cut out of the columns.

And lastly, another variation of a theme is to leave the surround part off altogether with the face (brick, stucco, etc) of the fireplace exposed. The connecting points on this surround is the mantel shelf and the plinth blocks of the columns.

double_column_mantel

double_column_mantel

This surround has double columns which is a possibility for the other surrounds as well. Are your creative juices going yet?
And finally this column mantel surround is one I built for a friend several years ago. The columns are six inches in diameter X 50″ high. They are salvaged cypress turned with a barley twist. We first wrapped the old unsightly brick with plywood panels and then added the mantel shelf and columns afterward.

spiral column mantel surround

spiral column mantel surround

For further reading you may find these resources helpful:
Fireplace Surrounds
The Balanced Mantel: 10 Ideas

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