If you’re tired of your fireplace looking traditional, give it a modern update with a coat of bold paint. This dark gray one from Nanette Brown adds drama and elevates a room with a moody vibe.
If you don’t want to lose the functionality of your fireplace, consider adding a set of built-in bookshelves on either side. This living room from Black Lacquer Designs offers a gorgeous example.
1. Painted Fireplace
As a focal point in many living rooms, fireplaces often serve as a canvas for design. One of the most popular ways to transform a fireplace is by giving it a fresh coat of paint. While white is a popular choice, dark colors like this charcoal gray can add richness and warmth. This painted fireplace also features a contrasting herringbone pattern that brings bold personality and texture to the room.
When choosing a color for your fireplace, consider the overall look of the space and what type of accessories you plan to use. For example, a neutral shade like this gray can allow the colorful books placed inside this nonworking fireplace to do all of the talking. A vibrant hue, on the other hand, will be a showstopper that will quickly draw attention and conversation.
It’s important to remember that when painting a fireplace, you need to use a specific kind of paint that’s designed for high heat. Because of the firebox’s extreme temperature, regular drywall paint will chip and peel. Instead, choose a special high-heat paint that’s available in a variety of different shades and can be applied in a few easy steps.
Another great way to enhance a traditional fireplace is by updating the tile or molding with an eye-catching color. This homeowner’s patterned herringbone tile looks fantastic coated in a rich red, which complements the dark wood mantel and other warm elements in the space.
There are endless ways to make a fireplace more attractive. Aside from swapping out the tile and changing the color of the surround, adding a new piece of art, or arranging the decor on the mantel, the simplest way to update your fireplace is by giving it a coat of paint.
2. Wooden Spheres
Whether or not you have a fireplace, a wooden sphere is an easy way to make any space more cozy and attractive. These sculptural pieces come in three different sizes and feature a matte finish with raw unfinished textures that bring dimensionality to any centerpiece, and they also have the added benefit of providing warmth by adding a layer of ambient light.
Traditionally, a fireplace’s design is quite simple and often has straight lines. However, you can be more creative with a fireplace design that has an asymmetrical appearance like this rugged stone version from Erin Williamson Designs. The uneven tiles and varying colors of the stone offer an organic look that complements the home’s natural elements, including the wood ceiling beams.
A beautiful fireplace can become the focal point of your home, and it’s important to decorate it accordingly. For a modern style, try displaying vases or art books on the mantel instead of traditional decorations, such as framed photos or candles. A few houseplants on the mantel can add a touch of green and help keep the area fresh, too.
Another great way to decorate your fireplace is to change it up with the seasons. For fall, display pumpkins and warm hued flowers on the mantel while for Christmas you can go all out with twinkling lights, ornaments, berries, and a festive wreath.
If your fireplace is located in a room that you don’t plan on using, you can create a cozy reading nook with an armchair and bookcases. Add a plush throw and some textured pillows to the corner for an inviting and comfortable spot to relax and read, and you’ll have a perfect place to enjoy your favorite book this winter.
3. TV Against a Perpendicular Wall
A fireplace adds so much cozy character to a living space, and it’s often the focal point of the room. If you’re ready to upgrade your fireplace but don’t want to remove it, consider installing a TV against a perpendicular wall instead of the mantel. This approach simplifies furniture combinations and makes the TV less of a distraction.
Another way to make a fireplace even more attractive is to create a stacked bookcase look on the opposite side of the room, as shown in this living space by Maite Granda. The shelves provide a place to display decor and ties together the wood beams on the ceiling.
If your fireplace is still in good condition but needs a bit of updating, try repainting it. Pick a color that contrasts with your walls to give it more visual impact. If you prefer a more subtle finish, a neutral hue will also work well.
Instead of a traditional mantelpiece, you can use sliding barn doors to unveil your fireplace or your flatscreen. This option is ideal for homes with an open floor plan where the living spaces connect, but it’s also a great choice for rooms that have two focal points like this one designed by Ladd Drummond.
If you’re not a fan of the cluttered look of a television stand, try placing an art grouping above your fireplace to frame it instead. This way, the artwork will look like it was meant to be there, and you can swap out the pieces as needed. To ensure the arrangement works, keep in mind that it’s best to choose tightly-grouped, even numbers of pieces for narrow spaces and larger canvas wall art for large walls.
4. Decorative Insert
Whether or not your fireplace is functional, you can still use it as a focal point with a gorgeous decorative insert. This is an ideal option for homes with open floor plans, as it creates a room divider while adding visual intrigue. Varying dark gray tones in this fireplace design add depth and create a sense of coziness.
Alternatively, you can hang a portrait over your non-functional fireplace to give it an elegant feel. This is a great choice for those with traditional décor or even modern and contemporary designs as it adds a timeless look that is sure to make your guests feel welcome and warm.
If you’re a’more is more’ type of person, try a maximalist scheme. This fireplace idea is perfect for those who love to curate their interiors with a mix of textures, colors and patterns. A floral printed wallpaper, clashing door paints and kitsch framed prints all come together to create this eclectic yet well-thought-out style.
For those who love to curl up with a good book, a cozy reading nook is the perfect choice next to your fireplace. This style of space can be tucked into the corner of your living area with an armchair or sofa and a textured throw for added warmth and ambiance. A rattan log basket is also within easy reach to top up the fire when needed. The mirrored fireplace design reflects the lights of the books and helps to illuminate your cozy spot even when it’s not lit up. This is a great alternative to a TV and a wonderful way to encourage the family to gather around for a relaxing night in.
5. Fireplace Fender
Fireplaces aren’t just cozy—they can also be beautiful. Whether it’s the classic brick surround in this living room from Nannette Brown or a simple white molded wall as seen here, these designs showcase how a fireplace can work with almost any style.
A fender can help disguise a less-than-lovely fireplace, but it’s important to assess the proportions of your room and choose a fender that fits. Using a bright color on the fender can pick up details from other areas in the scheme, like this blue fender that pairs nicely with the piping on the large cosy armchairs covered in my ‘Friendly Flowers’ fabric for Chelsea Textiles and the spines of the books on the shelving above.
Adding a fender is an easy DIY project that can be done at home and is the perfect way to spice up a basic fireplace. If you’re a beginner, start with a simple stencil and then progress to more complicated designs as you gain confidence. The example by East Coast Creative features a honeycomb pattern, but any geometric design would work just as well.
The most important thing to remember when designing a fireplace is that it should be used for more than just warmth. As a focal point, it provides the opportunity to display storied collections or extraordinary pieces of artwork. But a fireplace can also serve as a conversation starter, which is why this room from Alison Victoria is centered around the nonworking fireplace and topped with a cluster of pine-scented candles.
If you don’t have a working fireplace but want to take advantage of the warm atmosphere it can create, use a screen or replace the traditional fireplace tools with sleek brass ones. The brassy matte army green of these fireplace tools has a cool, modern vibe and adds interest to the neutral mantel.