A few months ago I saw an Antonio Treatment episode on HGTV that involved a super cool wall-piece/mantel made out of multi-colored stacked wood. I looked everywhere trying to find pictures of it to add to my folder for future projects and couldn't find one anywhere online, so I gave up... Then, I came across this beautiful stacked wood mantel on Rachel Meeks' Small Notebook blog the other day and fell in love with it. Not only is it relatively simple to construct (instructions for building your own can be found here), but it's also built on a plain wall - that's right, it can be built as a faux mantel. No fireplace required!
This looks amazing with natural-colored stain finishes, but it would also look great with painted wood or colored stains. The version by Antonio was done with reclaimed/salvaged wood that was painted and stained a variety of colors - purple, red, blue, yellow, green, you name it.
Here is a picture of Rachel's mantel decorated for Christmas:
They have small kids so you can see how they safely anchored the mantel to the wall.
Rachel, thanks for the inspiration. It makes me want to start stacking wood - oh, and start decorating for Christmas - myself! -Kristen