I can’t believe we waited this long! We finally finished installing our fireplace surround and mantel and I am so happy with how it turned out.

The Planning

It took us longer than I’d like to admit to finish this project. Most of the time was spent with me trying to decide what in the world I wanted to do, so our living room looked like this for months.

I know, not great! I finally decided that a floating shelf would make a perfect mantle, so we built one using these plans.

Then, in classic form, I changed my mind. I decided that I wanted a more designed fireplace surround. And I wanted the mantel to wrap around the sides of the wall. After many Pinterest searches, I decided on this look.

To ensure  I wouldn’t want to change my mind again, I cut pieces of paper and taped them to the wall where we planned to install tile and I left it there for a few days. I even drew in the structural pieces and the mantle. What…? I wanted to be sure! Who am I kidding, drawing on the walls was kind of fun.

Thankfully my husband was a-ok with hanging the floating shelf we’d already made in the laundry room instead. So, we were back square one and built another floating shelf.

The Building

We used the same general design, but elongated the sides of the shelf to wrap around the side of the wall.

Next, we got to work on the tiling. We’d never tiled anything before, but the whole process was very straightforward. We measured off the tile sections to figure out how many we needed to use to span the fireplace.

One of the best tips we heard was to start in the middle and work our way out. I drew a vertical line in the center of the wall above the fireplace and drew horizontal lines where the bottom tile should be.

We tiled outward until we reached the end of the fireplace. Then I drew a vertical line to help us ensure we were placing tiles in a straight line down the side of the fireplace

We repeated the same process on the other side, grouted the whole thing and boom!

I didn’t like that the tile ended so abruptly, so I decided to add some detail to make the surround look more finished. I cut down some some strips of wood and attached them against the tile, the edge of the wall, the bottom of the mantle and the top of the trim.

To fill in all the seams and nail holes, I used some caulk. Then we were ready to test-fit the mantel.

The Finishing

After the surround was painted and we had a chance to stain the mantel, we built a simple frame to support the mantel above the fireplace. My favorite part about this type of floating shelf is how easy it is to hang them.

We finished this project a few months ago, and we’ve been loving it ever since. I’m glad we had the chance to try something new. I suppose that’s why I was dragging my feet for so long on this project, I really wanted to get it right. Here’s to trying new things!

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