By Tina Jepson
Does your fireplace have a mantel? Chances are it does, and you probably use it to hold knickknacks and seasonal décor. That’s the real purpose, right?
Did you know that fireplace mantels were first used to catch smoke from a lit fire during medieval times? Yet, over the centuries, homeowners have adapted these fireplace staples to include different design elements, while still fulfilling their main purpose of catching smoke. Nowadays, they aren’t just for diverting smoke, they’re also super functional and are often crafted as beautiful works of art.
Which begs the question: are you using your mantel to its full potential? If you aren’t using yours for occasional storage, you’re missing out.
Why should you use a fireplace mantel with storage? It’s simple. You need storage, and this is a prime spot that’s already there. Here are a few different ways you can use your mantel as a place for everyday storage.
A mantel shelf is a single piece of wood, metal, or natural stone mounted directly above the fireplace. Fireplace mantel shelves are different from traditional full-surround mantels in that they’re not usually attached to the face of the fireplace: they’re separate.
Floating mantel shelves are a popular option for fans of modern design. However, brackets can add texture and depth to the shelf.
Everything you store on a mantel shelf is visible to your family, friends, and other guests, so keep that in mind. For example, we have 7 different fireplace mantels in our home. Since we don’t use the fireplace in our children’s room, we use the mantel shelf as a space to store the special rocks our children collect from our travels.
Remember that mantel shelves don’t have to follow a particular style or design scheme—there’s a mantel shelf out there for just about anyone.
If you have a television mounted above your fireplace, then a fireplace mantel with media storage may appeal to you. After all, you want all your DVDs, video games, and other media an arm’s reach away!
Some mantels are available with built-in media storage, usually in the form of hidden drawers or a drop-down front cover. However, you may not be interested in hiding all your media away from sight, so another way to handle media storage is to use decorative bookends to hold your media.
Don’t feel guilty that you’re using your mantel to store media as opposed to décor or memorabilia. The only thing that’s important is that your mantel setup works for you.
As you can see, mantel media storage doesn’t have to be complicated! Whether you choose to use a built-in shelf or just bookends, your mantel media storage saves you the hassle of buying an entirely separate (and potentially expensive) piece of media furniture.
Do you live in a small apartment or are you struggling with a small living room? If so, look for fireplace mantels with hidden storage. A fireplace mantel with storage can be used to hold media or anything else you may want to have tucked away but still available.
Homeowners who play a lot of board games, own one too many books (if that’s possible), or even want to keep a spare pile of baby diapers and wipes ready and available may benefit from a mantel with hidden storage.
Will you store anything fragile in your mantel? Go ahead and line your mantel storage area with a soft fabric or felt to keep your belonging safe and secure.
Other Storage Ideas
We’ve discussed adding things on top and inside a fireplace mantel, but there’s one spot we’re missing: under the mantel.
Sure, the fireplace is there. But do you keep your fireplace lit all year long? Probably not! During the months of the year you’re not lighting fires in the fireplace, consider storing items under your mantel. For starters, you can use C-hooks or those handy Christmas mantel hooks (all year long!) to hold photographs and your kid’s original artwork.
Another idea is to add shelves under the mantel and next to the fireplace to store extra items like remote controls, magazines, books, wood for your fireplace, and anything else you may need.
Fireplace mantels may have once just worked to keep smoke out of a home, but today they do so much more. Don’t fret a minute longer about purchasing another new piece of furniture to store things in your living room. Instead, use your fireplace mantel!
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.shutterstock.com and www.dreamstime.com