Nothing is better than sitting by a warm and cozy fireplace in the cold days of winter. In the past, fireplaces were the most ornamental and artistic feature of a room as they boasted decorative frameworks and elaborate designs that often extended to the ceiling, and mantels served functional purposes, to prevent smoke from entering the room. However, nowadays, as modern methods of heating are becoming more commonplace, fireplaces are smaller and the artistic and practical significance is lessened. With this change, mantelpieces were often simplified to accommodate smaller scales. Even if you decide to take the 21st century route and use heaters, there’s no reason why your fireplace can’t still be a place of beauty and style in your home. Decorative mantels are an easy way to spice up an oft ignored aspect of room design. Most mantels use rich materials, such as marble, limestone, granite, or fine woods, though modern designs may implement tile and metals like brass and cast iron. A hand-carved mantel is an amazing way to bring in a human touch of craftsmanship and make the room feel majestic. A simple oak or marble fireplace mantel can give off a more stately and authoritative atmosphere. If you don’t want to commit to the full mantel, look for some decorative over-mantel fragments or pediments that add a similar flair. Don’t forget to pick up fireplace accessories, like some vintage andirons, to add a more personal touch to your mantel!