Fireplace mantel designs have always been the interior decorator challenge, although their purpose has shifted slightly in the last fifty years.
Earlier fireplaces were the main source of heat during cold winters. Large homes had a fireplace in each room, which were laborious to maintain, creating a mess alongside their cheerful warmth. The fireplace served as a natural focal point, drawing families to gather, and stood as an important decorative feature. Wealthier homeowners hired tradesmen to build elaborately carved mantels out of wood, stone or marble.