This One Décor Piece Instantly Upgraded My Home—Without Breaking the Bank

Bedroom with a fireplace mantel

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photo

A side effect of being someone obsessed with all things interior design is that my apartment never truly feels finished. In one sense, this is a positive, as I’m always open to working new furniture finds into my space. But on the other hand, it often feels like I’m playing an endless game of musical chairs. Anyone with me?

Recently, I scored a large, like-new white West Elm dresser for a fraction of the retail price thanks to Facebook Marketplace. Needless to say, I was thrilled. But as soon as I brought the dresser home, I was also a bit uncertain about how to best style such a large chest alongside the other pieces in my bedroom. My main concern was that the large wall perpendicular to my bed was still entirely open, and I was struggling with how to fill it.

Though I’ve long lusted over luxe armoires, I was worried about introducing another bulky case piece to the space, and because I do enjoy redecorating frequently, I didn’t want to make a major splurge. Every time I considered just adding a large piece and calling it a day, I found that most of the furniture I gravitated toward featured wood tones, which I worried would clash with the dresser’s white lacquered hue. 

closeup of bedroom fireplace mantel

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photo

Then, one morning, I found the perfect solution. While doing one of my multiple daily scrolls through Facebook Marketplace (as you can tell, I’m a major fan), I spotted a gorgeous, extremely affordable, white brick fireplace mantel located just an hour away from my house. Anyone who’s ever lusted over an effortlessly chic Parisian apartment or cozy farmhouse-inspired living room understands how a fireplace mantel—real or faux—can truly make a space. They are the perfect styling backdrop, for one, but also add intrigue and dimension in a way that even the most intricate furniture pieces can’t fully replicate.

Having previously lived in a historic rowhouse unit with mantels galore, I’d found myself majorly missing this darling detail when I moved into my existing space. Once I realized I could easily purchase a faux mantel to fake architectural intrigue, it was game over. During a previous Facebook Marketplace binge, I’d managed to snag a more traditional-style fireplace surround to add French flair to my living room, so I knew that I couldn’t go wrong with adding another. 

white fireplace mantel

Lauren Zillinger for Laura Metzler Photo

Of course, the piece was super heavy, and therefore wouldn’t be conducive to my redecorating habit, which was one downside as a serial furniture mover. However, I was willing to make a compromise given just how character-filled and cozy it looked—not to mention that I was already scheming about how lovely the piece would look draped with a festive garland in December. With the help of a professional moving service, the piece made its way to my apartment later that same day, and I was instantly in love. 

Now, the mantel is one of the first things I see every time I step foot into my bedroom, and based on my friends’ enthusiasm when I posted about the glow-up on Instagram, it was 100 percent the right call. Because there aren’t any doors or drawers to open, a piece of this kind is the perfect solution for a narrow space that needs a little love. Not to mention it’s made my city apartment bedroom feel like a soothing Nordic retreat, which is definitely the vibe I need in my life right now. 

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