Try this Easy and Modern Fireplace Facelift for a Floating Mantel


Check out this before-and-after fireplace facelift for a floating mantel to give it a beautiful modern makeover on a budget.

Are you looking for a way to beautify your floating fireplace mantel? See how we transformed our floating farmhouse fireplace mantel in a beautiful modern traditional style with a super easy DIY for under $30.

Welcome back to the New Year New Room Refresh where 16 bloggers give a makeover to the room or space of their choosing during the month of January. The gal in charge is my dear friend Stephanie from Casa Watkins Living and I look forward to it every year!

German smear fireplace surround with a floating mantel makeover using corbels and decorative wood embellishment with green and blue decor.
Floating Mantel Makevoer
A german smear fireplace is updated with a floating mantel makeover using corbels, wood embellishment and black paint.  A brass peacock screen completes the look.
Modern Traditional Floating Mantel Makeover

This is week 3 and so far I’ve shared plans for a modern living room makeover and the ins and outs of reupholstering furniture. Today I’m excited to share the first DIY for this project with a modern mantel makeover on a budget.

Update: You can now find all progress posts and the final reveal below.

  1. Modern Living Room Mood Board 
  2. Is it cheaper to reupholster old furniture or buy new?
  3. Easy Floating Mantel Facelift (You are here)
  4. DIY Textured Paint Vase and Planter Makeover
  5. Organic Modern Living Room Reveal!

Fireplace Mantel Facelift with Corbels

I’ve already tried a matte dark blue and light blue for the last four years on our mantel. I loved the light blue with a thrift store oil landscaped I found here in Fort Worth! But I have wanted to add more pizazz for a while now.

A german smear stone fireplace with a light blue floating mantel and a brass peacock screen.
Fireplace Before

What you need for a floating fireplace mantel facelift

  • Decorative Corbels
  • Decorative Wood Applique
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Wood Screws (long enough to go through the corbel and mantel at least an inch)
  • Hot glue

I found a pair of corbel bookends at an antique mall for $15 and the rest of my supplies from Lowe’s.

Corbels, paint, and wood trim sit on a fireplace ready for a mantel makeover.
Corbels, Paint, and Wood Embellishment
Colormax acrylic latex satin black paint is going to be on a fireplace mantel.
Black Satin Paint

First, paint all of the pieces and let them dry to the touch. Then you have to add the corbels to the mantel. We decided to screw the corbels into the bottom of the mantel since it is on a stone surround.

How to install corbels on a mantel

  1. Drill a pilot hole in the top of the corbel. My husband put a hole on each side of the center.
  2. Hot glue the top of the corbel to the bottom of the mantel making sure the back is making a good connection with the stone/brick or wall. Most corbels are close to the outside edges. A good spot is flush with the outside of the fireplace opening near the border.
  3. Use the pilot hole to drill into the mantel. Use a large enough bit just at the surface of your pilot hole so a screw head will sink into it 1/8th of an inch or so.
  4. Screw in a wood screw through each pilot hole to firmly secure the corbel to the bottom of the mantel.
  5. You can add a little putty and sand at the screw head if you want but ours were so obscure I didn’t bother with that.
  6. Repeat with the second corbel on the second side.
  7. Touch up any paint if needed.
Drill a pilot hole for how to install a corbel.
How to Install Corbels
A man screwing a screw into a corbel underneath a floating mantel.
Whoa, biceps! lol
How to install corbels under a floating fireplace mantel.  Picture of a black mantel and corbel showing where the screw is.
Corbel in Place

Add extra molding or wood embellishments if you want! A little hot glue worked fine with the small decorative wood piece I used in the front and middle.

A beautiful floating black mantel that has been updated with wood molding and corbels on german smear fireplace.
Wood Molding
A floating black mantel makeover with molding and corbels on a german smear stone fireplace surround.
Black Mantel Makeover with Molding and Corbels

The entire project took about 2 hours with painting and all. I’ve been wanting a more traditional style mantel since we moved in so I am very pleased with this update!

Modern Living Room To-Dos

Here’s what’s left for the refresh! I’m excited to add that I just partnered with a company with a new area rug.

  • Fireplace mantel makeover with corbels and ornamental molding painted
  • Reupholster a pair of barrel chairs found in Japan with neutral fabric by a professional $$$$
  • Purchase burled wood console table from CB2 $$$
  • Add second-hand modern accent tables $$
  • Add mcm style with salvaged brass gear and a thrifted perpetual face vase $$$
  • Simplify tabletop styling
  • Repurpose a large gold planter with DIY clay treatment
  • Add a new area rug!
  • Refigure layout

New Year New Room Refresh Participants

Make sure to visit all of the fabulous gals below for loads of inspiration and their weekly progress!

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