A year-round focal point that deserves special attention come fall, the mantel presents a prime opportunity to make a statement. To learn more about what goes into creating a memorable mantel, we turned to Dallas-based interior designer Denise McGaha, who sells stunning custom mantels in a variety of styles and finishes in addition to designing gorgeous spaces. Whether you’re building a new home, renovating, or looking for ideas on how to upgrade your fireplace area, McGaha’s tips for selecting and styling a mantel will help you achieve a beautiful hearth.
Consider a classic material. “When selecting a mantel, the material is as important as the style,” says McGaha. The designer says that homeowners should not be afraid of classic marble or stone, as the materials are timeless—an excellent quality in a piece that will serve as an eye-catching element for years to come. (You can see a variety of marble and limestone finishes on McGaha’s website here.)
Achieve a custom look. According to McGaha, having a hearth that is flush with the floor is a sign of a truly custom installation. If you’re in a position to have a new mantel installed, McGaha advises planning ahead so you can order the hearth material in a thickness that will keep it from rising above the flooring surface. “This shows you went the extra mile to make it perfect,” she says.
Create interest when styling. Think having a traditional mantel means modern art and accessories are off-limits? Think again. “I love mixing periods,” McGaha says of her styling preferences. “So a formal mantel topped with modern art is always a go-to for me. Inversely, I love to use a beautiful traditional painting over a modern mantel for interest.”