Designing DIY fireplace mantels does not require a degree in engineering or construction. It simply requires some imagination and a vision for how one wants the room to look. Whether the homeowner wants to give the space a more cozy appeal or update the room, there are plenty of options and a wide range of materials that can be used.
Wood is the most common material used for the shelf above the surround. A single solid wood beam is a great way to add character to a rustic home. There is little work involved in installing such a beam, beyond bracing and attaching it to the wall. It can be left unfinished, with a coat or two of linseed or lemon oil. It can also be stained in a variety of color finishes, with a high gloss coat of polyurethane on top.
Those who have homes with traditional decor, may select wood DIY fireplace mantels, which are trimmed with elegant looking molding. They can be left natural, or painted to match the molding on walls and existing wood work. Both wood options look nice with glass fireplace doors. The enclosures come in a variety of finishes, which can be selected to coordinate with the style of DIY fireplace mantels.
Stone or marble can also be used, for the top of the shelf. If this is an option, it must be supported very well, with its added weight. Adding a thin layer of marble or stone can give the hearth a rich look that is suitable for both traditional and modern decor. Either choice will go nicely with glass fireplace doors.
Those who want to create their own piece from scratch, can find plenty of instructions on websites, such as DIY Network or Extreme how-to. There are plenty of pre-manufactured choices, available in home improvement centers and building supply stores.