My former apartment was full of character, and while I love living in a more modern space now, the one thing I miss the most about my previous place is the charm of having a fireplace mantel. While the fireplace itself was non-functional, that didn’t matter to me. Having a mantel to decorate fulfilled all of my French-inspired design dreams and just made the room feel that much more luxe.
That said, I’ve always known that adding a faux fireplace to my space was a possibility, but it would just take a bit of searching. After spending months trolling Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, my efforts finally paid off. When I spotted the gorgeous mantel pictured above for $200, I knew it was the one. You can certainly find these types of pieces for way more and a little less—sometimes even for free. Cheaper options typically don’t have this much architectural detail, however, and usually are the kind of thing you would put around an existing fireplace. I liked this one because it created the entire illusion of a fireplace from scratch. Though there were quite a few logistics involved in the pick up process (I ended up using Bungii to coordinate a socially-distanced delivery), I was committed to adding this beauty to my bedroom, and nothing was going to stop me.
I’m still working on styling this piece out but couldn’t be more pleased with how naturally it blends in with the rest of my bedroom decor. I’ll be curious to see what guests have to say when they see it in person for the first time. The concept of adding a faux mantel to one’s home doesn’t seem to be hugely popular, but trust me, it’s doable. My guess is that many people will assume this piece has been in my place all along.
My favorite part of this upgrade is twofold. First, there’s little to no work involved in install. All you have to do is the slide the marble part of the piece against the wall and put the mantel on top. Of course, you could always use some type of fasteners to secure the entire thing to the wall if you have small kids, pets, or are worried about safety for any reason (and even that wouldn’t take too much effort).
Second, there are so many ways that I’ll be able to decorate this piece going forward. I’m looking forward to draping greenery and setting candlesticks on the mantel during the holiday season, for one. And while I’m leaning toward purchasing a larger, ornate mirror to place atop it, the mantel would look just as stunning if I opt for something round and modern instead. I’m also debating piling a stack of books in front of the “hearth” or even placing a small plant there for a pop of color. The possibilities are truly endless, and I don’t have to worry about potential fire hazards here either.
What’s also convenient about purchasing a faux piece is that I’ll now be able to move this mantel to any of my future apartments, too. While I’ll always be partial to spaces that have at least some amount of original vintage charm, it helps to know that with a little patience and some clever Craigslisting, there are simple ways to fake such characteristics, too.