What is the recommended distance of the mantel from the floor and fireplace hearth

What is the recommended distance of the mantel from the floor and fireplace hearth

It doesn’t matter whether you are remodeling a fireplace at home or are just going to get one – you probably understand how vital a mantel is in this case. This element serves not only to give the fireplace a harmonious complete look and to arrange the decor but also protects against soot escaping from the firebox. And if you want a mantelpiece to fulfill both a decorative and a practical function successfully, you need to calculate its height accurately. Let’s take a closer look at what distance from the floor and the fireplace itself the mantel should be mounted and whether there are any standards regarding this parameter.

Factors affecting the height of the mantel

First of all, it is, of course, the height of the fireplace itself. Depending on the size of the room, it can be anywhere from 4 feet (120 cm) to 6 feet (180 cm). Obviously, the more spacious the room, the higher the height of the fireplace is allowed. If you have any doubts, it is quite possible to take the average height – 4.5 feet (135-140 cm). At the same time, we draw your attention to an important point: this distance is measured from the lowest point of the fireplace itself and not from the floor. The fact is that, as a rule, the fireplace is located on a small podium, so it is a little more challenging to determine the height from the floor.

Of course, the location of the mantelpiece directly depends on the height of the fireplace itself, but you should not focus only on it. There are other factors that affect the place of attachment of the upper element of your fireplace.

Height of the upper part of the firebox

The distance between the shelf and the fireplace itself is more about security than aesthetics (although, in this case, it also plays a role). The fact is that it is not worth placing it too low relative to the firebox. So, if it is made of wood, the fire risk increases many times over; if you choose fire-resistant drywall or artificial stone, the shelf will quickly become smoky, and the decor on it may also suffer.

The minimum shelf distance allowed relative to the fireplace is 12 inches (30 cm), although you can install it even higher if you wish. Of course, if you have an electric fireplace, you may not strictly follow this rule, but this measure is also optimal from the point of view of aesthetics.

Ceiling height

In this regard, such a moment as proportionality and an attractive appearance of a wall with a fireplace and the entire room as a whole comes to the fore. That is why it is so important to correlate the height of the ceilings and the location of the mantel.

So, for example, with a ceiling height of 9 feet (2.7 m), it will be sufficient to install the shelf 5 feet (150 cm) from the bottom of the fireplace with a height of 4 feet (1.2 m) or 5.5 feet ( 165 cm) with a standard fireplace of 4.5 feet. The remaining space will be enough for you to place the decor and even mount the TV to the wall – however, more on that later.

If the ceilings in your house are lower, both the dimensions of the fireplace and the corresponding shelf height must be calculated individually. However, still, keep in mind the golden rule of 12 inches between mantel and fireplace.

Fireplace mantel height with tv above

The TV set over the mantelpiece is one of the most popular interior solutions today. However, its location also depends on the height of the mantelpiece, and in two aspects at once – reliable protection against the heat effects of the fireplace and the ability to accommodate the decor you need. Based on this, experts and designers offer several options:

  • If the mantel is less than 4 feet (1.2 m) from the floor, the TV must be at least 12 inches (30 cm) from the shelf.
  • If the mantel is over 4.5 feet (135-140 cm) from the floor, there should be about 6 inches (15 cm) between the structure and the TV. In this case, you will have to say goodbye to high decor, but if you hang it higher, this will create inconvenience when viewing.

Also, check the wall temperature above the fireplace before installing the TV. If it gets very hot, you need to provide the device with additional protection or install it in another place.

And one more tip: when installing the TV, mount the screen at a slight incline for easier viewing.

Other parameters of the mantel

So, as you can see, everything is more or less clear with the placement of the mantel. However, you might be interested in other sizes that allow you to install this element following all the rules of aesthetics and safety. If so, we suggest that you learn a little more about calculating the size of the mantel.


Again, the question of the length of the mantel refers to the individual, but the designers still deduced a specific rule for the doubters – and this is an allowance of 6 inches (15 cm) on either side of the fireplace. So, if the fireplace is 24 inches (60 cm) wide, then the shelf length should be 36 inches (90 cm). Whether to make it a little shorter or a little longer is up to you, of course. However, it is still not worth putting the shelf from wall to wall, since in this case, the wall will visually shrink, and the fireplace will look smaller than it is.


In general, this parameter depends on the material you are using. So, stone and drywall mantels can be thick 3-7 inches (8-20 cm). As for the mantels made of wood, in this case, the thickness is also calculated from the type of elements – logs or boards. However, the thicker they are (within reasonable limits, of course), the safer the design and the more impressive the fireplace looks.

Mantel ledge

Naturally, the mantel should not be at one level with the fireplace, but how far to push it forward is a particular question. This is because designers and fire safety experts call a minimum overhang of 3 inches (7-8 cm). However, in some cases, this width is not enough to place decor items on it – then the ledge will have to be increased.

On the other hand, the same designers do not recommend making the ledge too large to avoid discomfort and distortion of the room’s proportions – so everything will have to be decided individually, and try not to overdo it.

Finally, we would like to remind you once again: just as two houses cannot have identical fireplaces, so there is no universal position and size of a mantelpiece either. The fireplace is the heart of your home and is therefore unique. This means that before designing and installing it, you must carefully measure and choose the ideal proportions for your room. And, of course, do not forget about the fire safety requirements – without them, there is simply nowhere in the case of a fireplace!

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