Landing a place with a century-old mantel was beyond my expectations, and having a functional fireplace would be total housing lottery jackpot. Mantels are great for their solidity and often their detail, and they help anchor any room. They'll fit with traditional or more modern styles, and as a built-in focal point they're a perfect place to start decorating.
MORE MANTELS ON APARTMENT THERAPY
• Perfectly Paired: Mantels & Bookshelves
• How To: Transform a Fireplace Mantel into a Headboard
• Tips for Hanging a Flat Screen TV Over a Fireplace
• Best of Fireplaces & Mantel Decor
• Good Questions: Neat Ideas for Non Operable Fireplaces?
Images: As linked above.