Mantel Bracket

Picture of an installed fireplace mantel bracket

A mantel bracket is a simple, yet effective way to update your fireplace. They have become popular again in recent years, especially with the rise of vintage styles and rustic design. You can buy one that is custom made or you can find them at any home improvement store as well as many other places online including here at Pillars Customs.

Mantel brackets come in many different shapes and sizes so you can find one that suits your style. Mantels are typically quite heavy which means they need support from the wall or ceiling, and mantel brackets provide this for you! If you have an old fireplace with no mantel then adding one is a great solution to create more space in your family room. The structure of the bracket attaches right to the side of the fireplace and it will help support any weighty items on top of it as well as keep them balanced.

Pillars Customs offers a wide variety of handmade mantel brackets and corbels that are exactly what you need to improve the look of your fireplace. Our mantel brackets and shelf brackets are made to the highest standards with great quality American made steel. Since our brackets are handmade, we are able to quickly fulfil custom orders.

Types of brackets

Many people are not aware of the different types of mantel brackets. There are many styles and designs to match your home's décor, regardless if you have a traditional or contemporary design. The type of bracket you purchase should depend on what you are going to mount, and what look you want to have on the wall.

Fireplace Mantel Bracket Corbel

Mantel bracket corbels are the most popular type of support for a fireplace mantel. These are very sturdy since they have additional supports, and also provide a protective and stylish front lip to keep the mantel in place. A fireplace mantel bracket is just what you need to have a modern and rustic look for your fireplace. With their robust structure, a fireplace mantel bracket corbel has the highest weight capacity of all types of brackets.

Stock picture of a fireplace mantel bracket in black paint

Shelf Bracket

A shelf bracket is similar to a fireplace mantel bracket corbel, except these brackets don't have the front lip. A shelf bracket and a fireplace mantel bracket share all of the same other features. These shelf brackets can be used to mount wood shelves or a mantel.

A shelf bracket has all of the support of a fireplace mantel bracket, and because the shelf bracket does not have the front lip, you need to make sure you attach the shelf to the bracket. Many shelf brackets come with holes that you can screw the shelf into. These too have the highest weight capacity of the brackets.

Picture of a floating shelf bracket in black paint

L-Shape Bracket

You can use an L-shape bracket to hang shelves and other mantels. These have a different look than the mantel brackets, since the L-shape bracket attaches to the wall above the shelf.

The L-shape bracket does not does not have the extra support under the mantel like a fireplace mantel bracket corbel, so it does not have that high of a weight capacity.

Picture of an L-shape bracket

Bracket rods

A floating shelf bracket rod is a sleek way to hang a shelf. Floating shelf brackets do not have any visible support since they are installed directly into the wall and stick straight in the shelf.

We recommend you professionally install a floating shelf bracket rods since it may require drilling holes in your shelf if the shelf does not come with pre-drilled holes.

Picture of a floating shelf rod

Floating Mantel Bracket

Floating mantel brackets and floating shelf brackets are effectively the same thing. They only change names based on what you are mounting: a floating mantel bracket mounts mantels; a floating shelf bracket mounts shelves with the help of bracket rods.

Picture of a floating shelf bracket with multiple rods

Parts of a Mantel Bracket Corbel

Mantel bracket corbels may look very simple, but each one is full of many different parts and details that you should be aware of before purchasing.

Picture depicting different parts of a mantel bracket corbel including the body, the height, the width, the support, and the lip


Mantel bracket corbels are made out of steel bar - typically between 1" and 5" in width and 1/16" - 1/4" in thickness - and bent to the desired measurements. Each part of the bend has its own purpose and name that you the consumer should be aware of.


The height of the mantel bracket is the part that is on the wall side of the bracket. This is one of the three visible parts of the bracket and this is how the bracket is attached to the wall. This typically has pre drilled holes so you do not have to worry about modifying the metal and scratching the paint. Make sure your mounting hardware matches the size of the mounting holes when installing!


This part is the mantel side of the bracket, and this is where the mantel or shelf will sit. Sometimes this section will have mounting holes for use too. While we recommend they are used, especially if you need to safely secure a shelf, sometimes the weight of the mantel and the front lip will keep everything in place.


Fireplace mantel bracket corbels will have a lip while the other shelf brackets will not. This is the second part of the bracket that will be visible from the room, and perhaps the most important as they stick out the most. We recommend brackets with the lip no taller than the shelf, and offer custom mantel brackets to fit any size.


The support is the diagonal part of the mantel bracket corbel and is typically welded on to provide extra support for the mantel or shelf, as they appear on both fireplace mantel brackets and shelf brackets. Brackets with a support often have a higher weight capacity than brackets without.


Your choice of paint depends on what look you want to match in your house. Some customers like the raw metal look, others like a nice powder coated black, others like something more flashy like a gold or silver finish. Typically customers get brackets of the same color, though we would love to see what yours look like if you have each bracket a different color!

Different paint options for fireplace mantel bracket corbels and floating shelf brackets including raw, black, white, silver, gold, and copper

How to Size a Mantel Bracket

Sizing the dimensions

So you got your new mantle, now what? First, you need to know what size mantel you plan on mounting. Sometimes they will come with the measurements, other times you need to measure yourself. Next, you need to see how you want the mantel to sit. Once you figure out dimesons and orientation, you will see the size that will go against the bracket. That is the size you should order. Most standard mantels are whole inch sizes, and we recommend ordering that size since the brackets come with enough room to fit the mantel. Our standard brackets come with the same length and height. If you require any other sizes, make sure to request a custom made bracket.

For non-standard mantel types, check out our guide What size mantel bracket corbel do I need?

Fireplace Mantel bracket corbel dimensions with the length and height

What width fireplace mantel bracket corbel do I pick?

The desired width and thickness of the fireplace mantel bracket metal is up to the customer, and typically matches the aesthetic of their house. We recommend taking the measured length of the bracket from earlier in the guide, and dividing by two to get the recommended width of the bracket. The goal is to not get a bracket that looks too thin for the mantel, nor one that looks too large. If you do not know what to choose, we recommend the 3" wide bracket as that looks great on all sizes in our experience.

What width fireplace mantel bracket corbel do I pick? The desired width and thickness of the fireplace mantel bracket metal is up to the customer, and typically matches the aesthetic of their house. We recommend taking the measured length of the bracket from earlier in the guide, and dividing by two to get the recommended width of the bracket. The goal is to not get a bracket that looks too thin for the mantel, nor one that looks too large. If you do not know what to choose, we recommend the 3" wide bracket as that looks great on all sizes in our experience.

Custom Made Mantel Brackets

Pillars Customs offers a variety of customized, personalized mantel brackets. We can make a bracket to your custom sizes - including the height, length, width, and lip - and we also can make custom designs in the lips. We recommend confirming the dimensions and designs are correct before manufacturing since most non-standard designs are completely custom built for you the customer and typically do not offer a full refund.

Custom Sizes

Since our brackets are handmade for your and your custom dimensions, we can create just about any size! Reach out to us if you have a non-standard size. Some examples of custom sizes we have made for customers:

  • Different Height and Length (7" H x 8" L) - typically when you have a wall space limitation that wouldn't fit a standard bracket
  • Fractional inch sizes (7.5" x 7.5") - typically when your mantel has a fractional length to it, or you want extra space
  • Custom lip heights - our standard lip on the 2" wide brackets are 2", and the standard lip on the 3" and 4" wide brackets are 4". Customers typically do this when their mantel is shorter than the standard lip height and want to make it so it only comes part of the way up the mantel.

Custom lip designs

We also make completely custom brackets with great quality designs on the lips! Some examples of what customers have done in the past are monograms, shapes, state outlines, and animals. We can cut almost anything into these mantel brackets and you will be sure to have a one of a kind piece in your house!

Custom mantel bracket corbel with a shape of Texas cut into the front lip


Pillars Customs put together a quick guide on installing your mantel brackets, with a more detailed installation guide to come!

  1. Find the studs in the wall. The brackets need to be attached to studs in order to support weight. You can find wall studs by using a wall stud finder or by knocking on the wall and listening for a difference in sound. If you don't have studs then you can use hardware anchors.
  2. Mark the wall through the holes in the bracket. You must make sure that the studs are in the right place and that you've marked where they should be drilled.
  3. Drill holes in the wall. When you drill through wall studs make sure to drill slowly (so you don't crack the wood) and on a level surface (so your screws or bolts go in straight).
  4. Install an anchor into each of the wall studs. This process will vary depending on what type of hardware you're using; wall studs, anchors, etc. Ignore this step if there are no anchors needed.
  5. Screw in the bracket!

Picture of black fireplace mantel corbels installed above a fireplace

What are you mounting?

The type of bracket will depend on what you plan on mounting. The two most common are fireplace mantles and floating shelves. Each one has different product specifications and price points, and we wanted to make a guide on the different details for both.

Fireplace Mantel

Most people think that when you have a mantel it is just an accent piece, but the whole point of a mantel is to balance out the fireplace. Mantels come in many different shapes and sizes with some being more decorative than others while still maintaining their function as an anchor for your fireplace.

Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a shelf that is attached to the wall with little to on support underneath so the shelf looks like it is floating - hence the name floating shelf.