A few months ago, I wanted to change the look of our faux fireplace. I started first by adding a single stained board to see how it looked. After deciding I loved it, and wanted something more substantial, we decided to build a DIY Faux Beam Fireplace Mantel Cover. It was really easy, and really inexpensive to add a faux wood beam mantel. Our split level home, which was built in 1959 is what I call a basic stacked box. It’s all squares and angles without the charm of anything architectural, so we’ve been adding in character as we go along such as this transom in between our kitchen and dining area. This house didn’t come with a fireplace, so about 10 years ago, I added a reclaimed faux wood fireplace mantels for interest. I love how it looks, and it really is a great focal point when you come in the front door, and it’s so fun to decorate for the changing seasons. There is something about a fireplace that adds so much warmth to a room, even if it’s fake.
You can see a video below of how it looks completed in our home, and styled for the holidays different ways, and continue to the rest of the DIY.
I felt like our mantel though was starting to look a little dated, and I wanted to give it a face-lift with a chunkier looking mantel and give it more presence. We recently added foam crown molding to the room, and I love how the mantel and crown molding look together. I knew by addung a faux wood beam to the top of the mantel I could give it that chunkier look it needed.
Building a faux beam mantel cover is actually fairly easy, and it fits right over your existing mantel. We used pine common board, so the total cost was right around $20, which is so little to make a huge impact! This would be so amazing with reclaimed wood too! Hubby cut all of the boards and assembled for me by nailing and then using wood glueto make sure they stayed together, but I also love that our local home improvement store will cut the boards for us so it’s ready to assemble at home if you don’t have access to a circular saw or a table saw to make this project. Just have them cut the wood to measurement there. It’s crazy to see how much our faux fireplace mantel has changed. You can see here how much it has changed.
You’ll basically need 4 boards. A mantel “top” long board, a front “skirt” board, and two small side boards (from the same kind of boards) to make your cover. This version of the project is even better because it requires no miter joints at all, so no stressing bout how to make a mitered edge at just the right angle. We already had the first board cut and stained since I had tried it out a few months ago.
I had picked a board that was a little wider width and had it cut lightly longer as my existing mantel, and cut it so it stuck out an inch longer over the ends. This way it fits almost like a cap on top. When we built the box, we decided that would become the front board since it was already stained and then we would add top and end pieces.
See this project: Stripping the paint off of our faux fireplace surround to natural wood
The new mantel top board was cut slightly smaller (the depth of the boards) so the side pieces could be inset in the faux mantel cover. You can see how it rests on the top of the mantel. We screwed it into the top so it would stay put.
We measured the small rectangle area between where the two boards joined and cut the end caps to size. If you buy a longer board, it’s easiest to cut them off of that so they match in thickness.
We put them together with a finish nailer, and once the new boards were stained to match the old boards, we fit it over the top of the old mantel and secured the DIY faux beam mantel with a few screws from the top like I had mentioned earlier. The nail holes were filled with wood filler and then I added a dab of dark brown paint to the top of the nail holes to hide them. The screw tops I added some paint to to match the stain. I didn’t want to lose them incase I wanted to remove it later,but most of the time I have enough decor pieces covering the top that the screws won’t even be seen. Check out this post to see how I replicated a wood look with paint.
Here’s a peek at what the living room looked like before I added the faux mantel.You can see more about the post here. This living space has gone through a makeover more than once!
I know you guys have seen a lot of changes with art and mirrors above this mantel. Last year I had a wintery chalkboard canvas. This year I decide to put my grandmother’s mirror back up to add some holiday glam (though I know you guys really miss that bread slice mirror! 😉 ). In another wood mantel update, You can see how I removed and stripped the mantel back to unfinished, natural wood and painted the wall behind it a really cool black color for a fresh look!