Some builders include this little surprise in their homes:
Outlets on top of the mantel. You don’t see them very often, but it’s primarily done in homes built by traditional builders.
Having lamps on top of a mantel was kind of in-style not too long ago. The outlets were there so lamps could be plugged in. And they were especially convenient to have during the holidays when garlands needed to be lit.
Nowadays, in custom homes, people are hardwiring their lighting with sconces and more sophisticated spot lighting to highlight art and other decorative features. However, I do still see this done around here in The Woodlands (Houston area) in homes that were built around 20+ years ago.
If the outlet is there, you might as well use it.
You’ll have to get the lamp cords shortened so they don’t bunch up in the back; and the lamp you use has to have a base that hides that plug in; but, if well done, the outcome can be beautiful and charming.
Let’s take a look at some good examples of lamps on fireplace mantels...