Add a Little Heat to Any Room With a Faux Fireplace!

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A fireplace typically adds so much more than just warmth. As the
central gathering place, the fireplace is often the focal point of any
room. But, unfortunately, we're not always lucky enough to have

If you're currently in an apartment or a home without a
chimney, having a fireplace used to be something you would
just be relegated to dreaming about. However, we have some
good news. There are a number of things you can do to add
the element of a fireplace without actually adding an actual

The architectural flair of a fireplace is really what sets it
apart from anything else in the room. But it is the
mantelpiece in particular that stands out as the true
"eye-catcher." So, one way to give your room a
sense of oomph is to simply add a mantelpiece to any wall you

There are a number of options at your disposal. Our preference is to
recycle old materials. You might be shocked to find that in your own
city there are construction scrap yards that are a literal dumping
ground of all sorts of treasures. Now, don't worry - we're
not telling you to go "dumpster diving." However, what we
do want to get across is that these "salvage" yards are
often filled with gorgeous pieces including used mantelpieces that
with just a bit of effort can be cleaned up and made to be the perfect
addition to any room of your home.

This is where we want you to use a little imagination as
well. In a typical salvage yard, you may not be able to find
the "perfect" mantelpiece or any mantelpiece for
that matter -- so think outside the box a bit. If you find
two arches or carved brackets, you can recreate the look of a
mantelpiece with just a little creative juice. By joining
the two pieces together as a single arch by mounting them on
your wall, you can get the effect of a truly one-of-a-kind

Pre-Fabricated Mantels

Another option is to purchase a new, pre-fabricated mantelpiece.
This is usually a pre-built "frame" for your wall that you
can simply purchase then adhere to the wall. You have your choice of
stone, marble, wood or you can often find "faux"
mantelpieces that are made of much lighter materials such as plaster
or plastic. You can paint, faux finish, or stain as desired.

Here are a few pre-fabricated mantel ideas:

Remember that when shopping for your mantelpiece, it's important
to consider the size of the room you're going to be placing it
in. "Scale" is an important concept with a fireplace. That
is, how large is the fireplace in proportion to the rest of the
room. Is it a large room with high ceilings? Consider going with an
oversized mantel for added drama. If it's a small room, be aware
of the proportion of the fireplace and how much of a focal point you
want it to be. In addition to the look and style you wish to
achieve, have your measurements written down PRIOR to going out to
shop. Trust us when we say this often saves you time, energy and tons
of grief later on!

Because your new mantelpiece won't have the usual support system
of a typical fireplace, you will need to be sure to secure it to your
wall. Using a cordless drill, attach L-brackets to the corners, top
and underside of the new mantelpiece to mount it to the wall. Use a
stud finder to find the wall studs to help insure a secure fit.

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Cool Tool! A Stud Finder is by far
one of the handiest tools to have around. But what
makes it better? When it's attached to a cordless
drill! One of our favorite new tools is the
Skil 12 Volt X-Drive Cordless Drill with
detachable Stud Finder
! The lightweight
variable speed cordless drill has the power and
durability you'd expect from a company like Skil,
but the detachable Stud Finder allows you to drill it
right, the first time! For more on this truly
innovative product, click here!

If you're using two pieces to 'create' a mantelpiece, you
may consider mounting each piece separately to the wall. If you
can't find the studs, use wall anchors for added support. But
remember, wall anchors can only hold so much weight, so take this into
consideration when installing your mantelpiece.

Decorating the Fireplace

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Once your new mantelpiece is in place, you can decorate it
however you see fit. We love the effect that a set of
candles of various sizes can bring. There are also screens
that you can add that have beautiful votives variably placed
throughout. If you choose to utilize the opening of your
mantelpiece for candles, be absolutely sure that you take
precautions before doing so. You may want to lay a few floor
tiles underneath the candles to insure that they don't
ruin your carpet as they melt. Also, be sure that there is
enough clearance between the top candle and the top of the
interior arch of the mantelpiece to allow any heat to escape
-- especially if your mantelpiece is made of wood or other
flammable material.

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Don't feel that you're relegated to using your
mantelpiece as wall d├ęcor either. You can make it
more functional as well. A mantelpiece can be used as a
headboard, a TV cabinet, or whatever your imagination
allows! The point is - have fun with it!

Portable Fireplaces

Now - another option if you absolutely must have a fire is to look
into the purchase of a portable fireplace. Yes, that's right - a
portable fireplace!

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These aren't exactly new, but the styles have
certainly come a long way in recent years. Initially,
they looked like old televisions with their screens
replaced with a fire. But, now manufacturers have taken
note and have greatly expanded the styles, colors and
materials you have to choose from.

A portable fireplace works with a gel type fuel that
emits no smoke, no ash and most importantly, no harmful
fumes. These systems are a great alternative if you
live in an apartment or a home without a chimney where
the cost of adding one is too prohibitive.

Because these freestanding units aren't tied to a chimney, you are
free to move them to any room of your house. These units are
relatively inexpensive and require no other labor than bringing them
into your home. For more on these systems, check out a few of the
following links:

Regardless of the route you choose, we know you'll love the
aesthetic benefits you'll get from adding a mantelpiece or
portable fireplace to any room of the house.

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Do the electric fireplaces emit heat or are they just cosmetic?