mantel feat pic

Viewing all the beautifully decorated mantels is enough to give anyone some serious fireplace envy if you don’t have one of your own.   Don’t worry–you are not alone!

While I have a tiny mantel with my TV above it, it isn’t much to decorate. Quite a few homes are built without fireplaces these days, and if you are living in an apartment or condo, then your chances of having a mantel to decorate are pretty slim.

And there’s a good chance that even if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in one room, you’d love having a few more elsewhere in your home. Fortunately, the lack of a chimney and firebox don’t need to stop you from getting the architectural impact of a fireplace in your space.

Check out these creative ways to get all the fun of a mantel without the flames.

fake a fireplace mantel

1.  Bookshelf Mantel

Design Sponge featured this bookshelf fireplace.

You can read about how the homeowners attached a vintage mantel to a bookshelf to create a faux fireplace that was both dimmensional and functional.

2.  Salvaged Decor

This piece of architectural selvage at Curly Willow Drive DIY is just leaning against the wall, but it still manages to give the impression of a manteled fireplace.

The gorgeous display on top of the mantel only fools the eye even further.

3.  Rustic Wood

Instead of hunting at flea markets for an actual mantel, the owners of this fake fireplace, featured at Apartment Therapy, collected old wood from the local lumberyard.

The stacked wood manages to convey the feeling of a cozy fireplace and add lots of texture and interest in an otherwise bland rented space.

4.  Flameless

When Decorchick‘s Emily found a beautiful mantel at the Pottery Barn Outlet, she didn’t let the lack of a fireplace stop her from using her thrifty find.

She created a focal point with her mantel that works just as well as an actual fireplace.

5.  Fake and Flaunting It

When Jaime at Caught in Grace brought a mantel into her living room, she realized that just attaching it to the wall wasn’t enough.

She added the element of a chalkboard to not only create the illusion of depth where there wasn’t any, but to effectively (and playfully) show off her faux fireplace.

Do you have a fireplace with nice gas logs burning?  If not, have you found another way to create a focal point in your rooms?

Check out my fireplace mantel makeover

styling shelves and bookcases

Family Room Makeover Part 1: Installing the IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-Ins

Family Room Makeover Part 2: Framing out the Fireplace

Family Room Makeover Part 3: Building a Hollow Rustic Mantel

Family Room Makeover Part 4: AirStone Fireplace Makeover

Family Room Makeover Part 5: Finishing Touches

Family Room Makeover Part 6: Styling the Built-ins

Similar Posts


  1. Yes, I have to say the bookcase is my favorite- the pop of yellow makes it especially appealing. I also love the chalkboard fireplace! I have a fireplace, but no mantel! Also, there seems to be a metal flue directly under the drywall so I haven’t had any luck hanging a shelf. To further complicate things, it’s a corner fireplace- otherwise I would buy a mantel and float it in front of the fireplace. Ever see anything like this? Any ideas?

  2. Gorgeous ideas! Any clues on how to cover up, refurbish, etc. a SUPER ugly decorative faux fireplace in an apartment? I absolutely loathe mine 🙁 Absolutely ANY help would be appreciated! Thank u!

  3. I love the stacked wood with the candles. We have no mantel in our rented house, but have a beautiful dresser given to me by my parents last year (it was a wedding gift to them 40 years ago). I grew up with it and love it and it makes a great focal point in our kitchen/diner. At Christmas it was covered in homemade trees with my paper cone wreath hung in front of the mirror above it, and decorations made by my children.

  4. I have an addiction to fireplace mantels, have purchased 3 antique ones over the years- the first one was installed over a fake hearth built by my son in law in a corner of my living room and we inserted a large tv in the opening ( this was before flat screen tvs were affordable) i tiled the hearth with broken tiles and the mantel was painted 2 colors- white and tan- since then my daughter moved and took the mantel with her and again her husband built a hearth for a corn burning stove and installed the mantel behind the stove. My oldest mantel i purchased was 150 years old- very rustic, unfinished wood ( very rough ) with a dark stain- my daughter is using it as her headboard- she inserted a piece of plywood covered with upholstery grade material in the opening. My last purchase was a very large white oak that is painted white and it replaced the missing mantel on my fake hearth. The first two mantels cost me $50 each- what deals they were, the white oak i paid $120, to those who might get the mantel bug like me, search out antique stores and such and happy manteling.

  5. I love the mantle used with a bookcase inside the opening. I also like the stacked wood piece w/o the “legs” of the mantle. I already have the faux mantle. It is made from old chippy white wood with very old metal tile inserted just below the shelf part and inside the top of the opening. I have have it in storage for years. I love it but wonder if I am trying too hard to blend styles that will not look right. I want to use the mantle in our bedroom. We have dark cherry furniture. It is repro antique. but has no distressed marks. It is in perfect condition.
    SO———-my question is, Should I use the mantel at all (even though I really really want to?
    I need honest answers please. Thank you fellow decorators!

  6. Just bought a house that has a fire place but they filled it in wit concrete I don’tknow what to do with Iit please hel I can send a pic I just don’t know to what email address

  7. I’m changing my house, one room at a time, to French/Shabby and have just acquired a mantle to do as a faux fireplace. I have a white lounge with 2 chairs, restoring another 2 (carvers) and I feel I’m so out of my depth. This is first attempt, I’m enjoying the whole process but aaaagh !!!

  8. Wow, I am sure it will be beautiful when it’s all finished! Please keep me posted, and let me know if I can help in any way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *