Repurpose An Antique Fireplace Mantel

Historical homes have many interesting architectural elements that are not constructed in homes today. One of these elements is an antique fireplace mantel. Though the mantel originated as a functional hood to catch smoke coming out of the fireplace, it has since evolved into a decorative element, with options to fit every taste. If you can find an antique fireplace mantel, you can repurpose it in many creative ways. Here are some of the ways in which you can adapt and customize an antique fireplace mantel:  

  • Fireplace Mantel Headboard:  An antique fireplace mantel can be repurposed to use as a very unusual headboard. A bed can be positioned under the mantel shelf and the side pillars can frame the sides of the bed. The firebox of the mantel headboard can be covered with wood and upholstered (for a soft look) or filled with horizontal wood or stone slats in an interesting pattern (for a more constructed and formal look). Alternatively, the firebox space can be left empty so that the color and texture of the adjacent bedroom wall shows through. 
  • Fireplace Mantel Bookshelf:  The decor of any room can be enhanced with the addition of an antique fireplace mantel that has been converted into a bookshelf. The firebox space can be filled with horizontal shelves to hold books and other items. This antique mantel bookshelf can be hung on a wall or it can be attached perpendicularly to a wall to serve the dual purpose of a bookshelf and a room divider. 
  • Fireplace Mantel Range Hood:  You can also install an antique fireplace mantel in a kitchen above a stove as an interesting kitchen range hood. A vertical exhaust flue can be built on top of the mantel shelf to eliminate heat and odors. A ceramic tile backsplash can be placed on the wall behind the stove and mantel range hood for easy cleaning. 
  • Fireplace Mantel Bathroom Vanity:  An antique fireplace mantel can also be installed in a large bathroom as a decorative frame around a bathroom vanity with a sink. A mirror can be placed in the firebox space and lights can be hung from the ceiling to light the mantel vanity. 
  • Fireplace Mantel TV Cabinet:  You can hang an antique fireplace mantel around an alcove in a wall to frame a flat-screen TV. Accordion doors can be hung on the interior edge of the side pillars of the mantel to hide the TV from view when it is not in use. When the TV is placed in an alcove that is at optimal viewing level, you may want to build extensions of the side pillars on the mantel TV cabinet so that they reach all the way to the floor.   

Antique fireplace mantels are made of wood, carved stone, ceramic tile, concrete, and other materials. They can be repurposed in countless ways. If you can find and purchase one, you will have a distinctive conversation piece for your friends, neighbors, and house guests whenever they visit your you in home.