One of the perks of this petite 1940s beach cottage, besides a prime location, is that it comes with architectural details like a fireplace mantel. A fireplace, working or not, provides a small space with a large focal point that can distract the eye from the room’s slim proportions. But this white mantel set up on a white wall seemed to disappear. It was calling out for a custom design touch that would add depth and texture to a plain, shrunken living room. The challenge: create a fireplace liner that could be easily installed and removed.
Add Cozy Wood Elements
A stark space truly benefits from natural elements like wood. A wood herringbone pattern was the design goal for the fireplace mantel, but it had to be done on a shoestring. Inexpensive jumbo wood craft sticks were the perfect answer. You get 300 sticks in a box for around $6, and they are easily stained and cut with craft scissors to fit. I chose a Classic Gray stain from Minwax.
Color Stain Tips
You will want to create varying levels of color and saturation from the stain. You can achieve this by rubbing on heavier or lighter amounts of stain onto the wood. Leave the stain on the wood longer before you wipe it off to get a deeper shade. If you want to introduce an additional color to the mix without having to buy a full can of stain, use wood finish stain markers from Minwax. Let dry.
Measure and cut a piece of foam board so it fits snugly into the back of the fireplace. Remove and use this board to glue the craft wood tiles you stained. Measure and mark the center line of the board and cut and glue the wood sticks at a 45-degree angle from the center on out. This Youtube video explains the process the best. It is easier to see it than read about it.
When you are finished, the foam board should hold in place. If you want to be extra secure, you can add a few strips of carpet tape to hold it it firmly to the back of the fireplace.
Give it a whirl!