The fireplace surround in my living room is stone. Well, fake stone but whatever. It's pretty and I love it. BUT, the mantle is also stone and doesn't stand out and it is teeny. It is about 6 inches deep and really hard to decorate with much of anything.
A little closer? It blends too well. I love the stone but I hate that thing. It should be a couple inches wider and deeper.
Add a box? Yes, I think so. I was sitting on the couch with my sick child and decided I was sick of looking at it. So I went to the garage and grabbed some MDF and made a little box around the mantle in the size I was thinking of.
Clearly I did a very patient job of it, too... Ok, not so much. Don't laugh too much, please. I did go back and counter-sink the screws later, though, so they wouldn't stick out.
I cut the bottom piece around the supports (that took a few tries of taking it back out to the garage to trim here and there).
See that nice extra depth? A couple inches should be much better for decorating while not overhanging enough to sag in the future.
Now, to be completely honest, I made the box around it and then left it there. For WEEKS. I did buy the trim for the face of it but I got a little lazy and didn't finish it. BUT, this weekend we are having people over and it's on that list of "things that will embarrass me if the company sees it". Especially since these are people that I work with and we tease each other about everything anyway. So I figured out how to use the tilt function on the compound miter saw so I could have some pretty corners. I messed up but luckily not badly enough that a little wood putty couldn't mostly hide it.
I nailed the front on with a nail gun (that didn't work very well and I ended up having to grab the hammer to finish the job anyway). Then added a little wood putty to the holes, sanded and spray-painted and voila! I now have a mantle big enough to put things on, one that will stand out a bit from the rest of the fireplace. And if I ever tire of it (and let's be honest my design mind changes constantly) then it will just slide off because it is in no way actually attached to the fireplace. Oh, and speaking of changing minds, what do you think of the white? I want it to stand out but is that the right choice? Would you use something else? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.