Fireplace Mantel Design Glossary

Discover many fireplace mantel design terms and get a better understanding of the type of styles involved. If you have questions about your fireplace, check out our fireplace mantel shelf FAQs.

Antique Fireplace Mantel: 1) a fireplace mantel from an older generation (e.g. mid century, turn of the century); 2) a mantel piece designed to look like an original mantel from a stated period.

Break Front: the part of a fireplace mantel design where the frieze (e.g. decorative piece across mantel) sticks out in the center of the piece.

Caddy Style: a fireplace mantel design where the mantelpiece has flush edges.

Corbel: an arch or protruding support piece of a fireplace mantel designed to support weight.

Corner Mantelpiece: a mantel shelf designed to accommodate a fireplace positioned in a corner; typical corner fireplaces include electric fireplaces that do not require a flue or ventilation.

Flue: the pipe that leads from your fireplace upward to the top opening. The flue is designed to allow excess hot air and smoke to escape.

Mantel Kit: a do-it-yourself mantel building kit that either shows you how to build your own or includes unfinished pieces that allow for customization.

Patina: a finishing technique used on alloy surfaces such as copper or bronze, or other materials (e.g. wood) that gives the finish an aged look.

Rustic Fireplace Mantel: a fireplace mantel design where the finish of the wood has a rough, untamed appearance. This type of style is popular among wood cabin décor.

Sight Opening: the primary opening in a mantel (also known as the daylight opening).

Unfinished Mantel: a mantel shelf that hasn't been finished with paint, a stain, or any additional type of finishing coat. This type of mantel allows for personalization of final finish.

Veneer: a thin piece of wood mounted to different material to give the non-wood material a wooden look. For example, a mantel piece that has thin oak pieces of wood applied to a fiberglass frame is considered to have an oak veneer.

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