Fireplace Mantel Height?
lizkrohn
March 10, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are redoing our fireplace and I was wondering if there is a standard height or say minimum height that a mantel should be from the floor? I'm trying to keep the TV above as low as possible on the wall but I don't want the mantel to look out of proportion or too "low". Thanks for any advice you might have.
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
What's the ceiling height. Since the answer has to do with proper proportions, we need to know.
March 10, 2013 at 11:14AM   
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lizkrohn
Sorry - the ceiling is 9' and the top of the fireplace opening is 34" although we are considering dropping it a bit. We have to reframe so we have the option of lowering the FP box up to eight inches.
March 10, 2013 at 11:54AM     
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Dytecture
A mantel is not necessary especially with a TV above the fireplace.
March 10, 2013 at 12:00PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I would lower the fire box and would NOT install a mantel. See drawing.
March 10, 2013 at 12:19PM   
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lizkrohn
Thank you Carolyn for the advice and drawing, I really appreciate your input.
March 10, 2013 at 12:31PM   
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lizkrohn
One more comment ... My husband is the one who actually seems determined to have a mantel. If we put one at say 55" up from the floor and then the tv right above ( the TV is 27") Would the proportions look ok? I do realize that the tv will not be at the optimal height but he doesn't seem concerned. Something similar to
?
March 10, 2013 at 12:45PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You can place the mantel at 54" and the TV above that, but that's going to put the TV into "sore neck" country. A 27" TV is quite small to go above a FP. What are the the exact dimensions of the TV?
March 10, 2013 at 12:53PM   
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BeautifulRemodel.com
HI lizkrohn,

If your husband insists on a mantel then the best type would be what I call a wrapped mantel. The benefit to this style is that you can bring the overall mantel closer to the firebox opening than a regular mantel because its acts more like a picture-frame to the opening. Here are some examples below of what I'm referring to. Btw, you will need to keep any combustible surround 12" away, so stone, steel etc would be a better choice than wood if you'd like it to be closer. The other huge benefit to a mantel is that the flat-screen (unless recessed into the wall) will be protected from the heat of the fireplace.
-Steve
North End Formal Living Room
Condominium
March 10, 2013 at 1:03PM     
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lizkrohn
Carolyn, the TV is a 50". The measurements are 27" x 45".
March 10, 2013 at 1:09PM   
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lizkrohn
Steve, thank you for the pictures. Thats a direction that we hadn't considered at all.
March 10, 2013 at 1:10PM   
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BeautifulRemodel.com
Liz - btw I agree with Carolyn that the TV size seems quite small for the room and viewing. The TV size should ideally be chosen based on both its visual weight on the wall (as you would with art work) and also the distance you'll be viewing the TV from. Here's a chart which can give you a general guideline for that. (Most manufacturers have their own slightly difference versions of this)
-Steve
March 10, 2013 at 1:10PM     
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BeautifulRemodel.com
You're welcome Liz! (Looks like we posted our last comments at the same time!) :o)
March 10, 2013 at 1:11PM   
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lizkrohn
For what it's worth here is a pic before demo. The TV above the FP we hope to keep. The viewing distance shouldn't be more than 10 feet. It's a smallish area.
March 10, 2013 at 1:21PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Goodness, if you're used to it at that height, you can certainly go for it. Your mantel in the photo seems too high. Here's what it would look like with the mantel at 54". I also like Steve's idea.
March 10, 2013 at 1:24PM     
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BeautifulRemodel.com
Liz, even your "in progress" photo shows what a big transformation this is going to make from your before photo! What other finishes did you have in mind for the room?
-Steve
March 10, 2013 at 1:25PM   
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lizkrohn
We knew we wanted to redo the wall when we bought the house a year ago. We tried the TV above the FP as that's where the prior owner had his and we both felt it was much to high. We where thinking of using a cave rock stone that has been sawn on the face so it's smooth and taking the stone to the ceiling. Unfortunately I don't have wood to repair the hearth area so I'm thinking a slab of stone called Rattlesnake which is a similar color and then the mantel would be out of the rattlesnake as well to tie it all together. After that new more modern cabinetry on each side and better lighting. One that's finished on to new furniture as nothing there current really fits.

The pics are samples of the stone.
March 10, 2013 at 1:34PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Liz, I think that if you're going more modern in the room, I'd definitely strongly consider having a cleaner look with no mantel. And I'd use the same stone tile for both the fireplace wall and the hearth.The Aurea Modern Appeal
March 10, 2013 at 1:42PM   
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Amenities Home Design
I like the look / idea of a mantel. And a height between 48-54" seems appropriate. I would do a dark marble or granite surround with a wood mantel with side pilasters. The moldings you use for the mantel and pilasters can be as simple or ornate as you like. The important thing is that the dark surround be as wide as the TV to visually balance the "weight" of the TV. In your before picture the TV is much bigger than the fireplace box.

If you plan to build bookcases back in on the sides, be sure to make the shelf height relate to the mantel height.
March 10, 2013 at 1:43PM   
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lizkrohn
Carolyn - I was told by the stone company that I couldn't use the same stone on the floor but maybe they misunderstood me, that would be my first choice. I was also looking at a marble tile that was close in color. I haven't ordered anything yet still trying to get all the pieces in place.

You all have given me great suggestions and its been so helpful to have people to just brainstorm with - thanks again.
March 10, 2013 at 1:52PM     
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You might want to consider 12 x 24" stone tile for a contemporary look.
March 10, 2013 at 2:22PM   
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lizkrohn
I do really love the contemporary clean line look but the house has a real traditional flavor and I'm afraid if we went to contemporary it wouldn't fit. We don't know how long we will be in this house and are afraid of turning off buyers at resale. You don't see many modern looks in our area.
March 10, 2013 at 3:03PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Ah, I got carried away when you mentioned "modern" cabinets. Sorry about that. What area are you in?
March 10, 2013 at 3:09PM   
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lizkrohn
We are in a suburb of Dallas TX. Most of the houses in my immediate area where built in the early to mid 90s. We moved here from NY where it seemed modern / contemporary was much more commonplace so I'm trying to balance our tastes with the house. Here is a pic of an idea for cabinetry.

March 10, 2013 at 3:20PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Here in Austin, we're seeing a lot of contemporary. Your transitional look should work well for resale.
March 10, 2013 at 3:27PM   
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lizkrohn
I think we would have liked Austin. We visited once and want to go again and spend a bit more time. In any case you see a lot of what I would call "old world" here.
March 10, 2013 at 3:38PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I'm happy to say that that look is fading away, tho faster in some places than others. Tuscan is another look that is definitely dead.
March 10, 2013 at 3:44PM   
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lizkrohn
I'm so glad to hear you say that as I really didn't want to add to that look. I'm slowly removing as much as I can. The stone we are considering is limestone from Austin. Having Austin stone seems to be a "big" deal here for some reason and since we liked it we where hoping it would be a somewhat safe choice. Anyway thanks for all your advice - I wish you worked closer :-)
March 10, 2013 at 3:53PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Liz, thanks for the kind words. Remember that I'm as close as your computer. For stone here in Austin, I usually use Materials Marketing, which in Dallas is at 1626 Hiline Dr., ph 214 752 4226. They have a beautiful showroom here and no doubt in Dallas also, and their sales people are very design oriented and can help you achieve the look you want.
March 10, 2013 at 4:07PM   
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lizkrohn
I will take a drive this week and check them out. I'll be sure to post a picture of the end result and I'm sure this thread won't be my last question. Thanks again to all!
March 10, 2013 at 4:18PM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Liz, we look forward to hearing from you again and also wish you best of luck in your remodel!
March 10, 2013 at 4:31PM   
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weby42
I have a 6' long mirror hung horizontal over a sofa. I would like to build a decorative shelf underneath. Could you please recommend the height of the shelf as well as the mirrror height over the shelf. Ceilings are 8'. Thanks for any suggestions. BW
January 14, 2014 at 4:42AM   
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
You need to start a new dilemma of your own.
January 14, 2014 at 5:12AM   
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