Transform your fireplace from fine to fantastic with these rustic fireplace mantels--each brimming with hearth-warming character.

By Jan Soults Walker
April 10, 2018
living room

The best rustic fireplace mantels begin with a backdrop brimming with primitive character, and what could be more basic and backwoods than fieldstone? This cozy lodge makes the fireplace a focal point with its broad facade and creative use of stone. A rough-hewn timber mantel partners perfectly with the stone.

Faded Glory


Chippy, worn painted finishes transform any mantel into a rustic centerpiece. This traditional fireplace surround and paneled wall display a coat of white that appears worn away from years of exposure. You can create the look by distressing the wood with various tools and painting the surface with chalk paint. Once dry, sand the finish here and there to partially expose the wood and promote rustic character.

Natural Beauty

Credit: Decor, Carter Kay, Sea Island

Earth's handiwork, at its most basic, is fodder for a showstopping rustic fireplace mantel. This simply carved mantel and surround, for example, take advantage of the beautiful, earthy tones and natural imperfections of unfinished wood to create an architectural masterpiece that's both primitive and elegant.

Chiseled Profile


Sometimes just a hint of a mantel is enough to imbue a space with rustic character. This venerable fieldstone fireplace brings textural drama to a living space. A swath of hand-chiseled bluestone nods to the architectural need for a mantel, while fieldstone draws attention to high ceilings.

Lasting Impression


Rustic fireplace mantels don't have to be dark and rugged. This country French living room features a white solid-limestone fireplace mantel and surround. The smooth, yet unpolished, surface pairs with pecky cypress walls and salvaged ceiling timbers to create an airy, unpretentious gathering space.

Repurposed Design

rustic living room

Scour architectural salvage yards and flea markets, and you might find a discarded element that you could reimagine as the highlight of your room. That's the case in this living space, where an unadorned white plaster fireplace facade sets off the authentic age-worn character of a salvaged wood beam reassigned as a rustic fireplace mantel. The simplicity of the repurposed design makes the room feel relaxed and inviting.

Balancing Act


Enliven and enlighten a rustic fireplace mantel with thoughtful pairings. This cozy sitting area gains sunny demeanor with the addition of club chairs slipcovered in refreshing Belgian linen. A landscape painting above the rustic fireplace mantel adds a splash of color.

Golden Glow

Before and After Fireplaces

Few materials evoke visions of a cozy backwoods retreat like yellow pine. This rustic surround and mantel instill natural beauty in the living room and showcase knotty imperfections and a natural golden glow. Beaded-board wainscoting and cozy layers of rugs and throws make this the place to snuggle and read a good book.

Medieval Muse


Ornate iron sconces and gilt-framed mirrors accentuate the old-world character of this rustic fireplace mantel. A crisp facade of limestone blocks, neatly arranged into a graphic masterpiece, transports this living room to another place and time. The unpolished stone surfaces, with naturally occurring holes and pockets, are the secret to creating this look of rustic antiquity.

Display of Affection

Antique Farmhouse House Tour

Even if your home doesn't have a fireplace, you can create the look of one in practically any room. Thanks to online stores and auctions, you can shop for a showstopping rustic mantel anywhere in the world. And, of course, you can have loads of fun going on a treasure hunt through local flea markets and yard sales. This freestanding rustic fireplace mantel, curated from an old Victorian home and dressed in original worn white paint, creates architectural interest and serves as a charming rustic display for salvaged keepsakes.

Comments (1)

October 14, 2020
From meh, to downright ugly!