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9 great tips to make your fireplace a feature

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minimalist  by Francesco Pierazzi Architects, Minimalist
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We live in a modern world, with all the modern conveniences available to us. But when the temperature drops during the chilly winter months, one of best and most appealing ways to heat the home remains one of the most tried and tested: the fireplace. As it has been for centuries, having an open fire in the home gives a domestic living space an unparalleled sense of warmth and invitation, conjuring up cosy images of kicking back after a busy day over a glass of fine wine, and a good book at the ready. Of course, we've come a long way since the days of old, and so too has the humble fireplace. There's no denying the functional usefulness of a fireplace, but these days it need not be simply that: today, fireplaces have become a domestic aesthetic feature in their own right. Some of them look so amazing, it really doesn't need to be that cold outside to warrant having them!

Today on homify, we're heating up with a fiery look at how you too can turn a fireplace into a fantastic interior feature as well as a well-needed warming device.

Paint the surrounding walls

While we typically associate the term 'fireplace' with a more traditional variety: an open flame with an ornate iron or tiled frontage, modern convenience today brings us a range of closed wood, and electric, fireplace models. Sometimes, these modern varieties—while losing nothing of the warmth, and in fact probably being even more heat-efficient that their predecessors—lose a little when it comes to an appealing aesthetic. Modern design often can't compete with the old. 

However, in this lounge room, we experience a fine example of modern fire, and while it's covered with a sheen of glass, its effect is trebled by its contrasting surrounds: artfully painted walls, which play with the central unit and help make the fireplace stand out against the darker tones. This is a fine example of how a simple flourish of paint or pattern can turn a basic modern fire heater into a fine feature fireplace.

Add vintage homewares

Now here's a neat and cosy setup. Just try to not feel at ease, relaxed, warm and harmonious when sitting back in this comfortable, contained lounge. And while much of the goodness seems to emanate from this traditional fireplace, it's not particularly large, or much of a feature in its own right: remove the vintage homewares, including the cabinets, tables and mantelpiece trinkets, and you've probably got yourself a fairly plain fireplace area without anywhere near as much charm. 

However, with all these ingredients in place, the scene is complete: a fantastic feature, aided amiably by a cast and crew of supporting vintage homeware elements. For maximum effect, always consider the way in which you dress your lounge, and the area immediately surrounding your fire. If you need a little help with the design and decoration of your room, consider chatting to a professional to get some handy tips and tricks. 

For the faux fireplace, add candles!

Perhaps your chimney or fire well was closed up long ago, with only the remnant feature of the fireplace's exterior shell remaining. Well, it's much better than not having anything at all: while this space won't be conducive as a 'warming' space in terms of temperature, it can be enhanced effortlessly in order to maintain it as a feature area. Simply add some candles of your choice, light them up, and pay homage to the fireplace that once was! A neat effect.

Incorporate electronics

When it comes to turning an ordinary fireplace, especially a modern variety, into a real feature, it's all about what you use to punctuate the space immediately surrounding it. Here, the use of electronics, through a stylish flatscreen television, gives this fireplace wall a sense of command and authority over the living room, binding together and partnering with the fireplace in order to create a much more defined feature wall. So, always consider that empty space above a low-lying fireplace: what you do with it can have a real impact.

Enlarge the space with a mirror

Full renovation on Trinity Road, London Modern living room by Grand Design London Ltd Modern
Grand Design London Ltd

Full renovation on Trinity Road, London

Grand Design London Ltd

Of course, not everyone wants a television in their living room these days, and the aesthetics of their domestic spaces may not be conducive to these sorts of modern appliances. Such is the case in this fabulous period apartment: high ceilings with ornate ceiling trim and impeccable vintage furniture partner with polished parquetry flooring set the scene here for an inspired room. 

Needless to say, the central fireplace fits in very well here. Yet the inclusion of the gold trimmed mirror above it certainly enhances its natural allure, while reflecting the grand chandelier's light to create even more warmth in the space.

Art, art, and more art

Buckingham Street: Embankment Classic style living room by Roselind Wilson Design Classic
Roselind Wilson Design

Buckingham Street: Embankment

Roselind Wilson Design

If not a mirror, why not consider some well-curated artwork? What a difference this stunning modern floral piece makes in this lavish, five-star hotel-themed sitting room and in particular, the way it transforms an otherwise quiet fireplace into a dazzling feature area.

Keep it all symmetrical

Macauley Road Townhouses, Clapham Modern living room by Squire and Partners Modern
Squire and Partners

Macauley Road Townhouses, Clapham

Squire and Partners

An important element to consider when transforming the fireplace in your living space is that symmetry is crucial. Yes, it might be an element drawn from eastern philosophy, but these days, symmetry is almost as much a modern western convention. 

We see this ingredient at play here in this fine example: an austere, contemporary living room really benefits from a symmetrical touch—and in particular, the central fireplace: symmetry enhancing its position and its primacy in the room where it's truly presented as a feature piece.

Magical minimalism

minimalist  by Francesco Pierazzi Architects, Minimalist
Francesco Pierazzi Architects


Francesco Pierazzi Architects

For those who like to keep things simple, minimalism is almost always the best course of action. Simplicity is the key ingredient to minimalism: the art of stripping things back to their primary function or essence. 

Look at this fantastic example of minimalism at play here: a quaint marble fireplace, with none of the hallmarks of the 'traditional' fireplace—just a feature inlay with central fire area: nothing more, nothing less. When you strip things back to basics, their natural, essential character truly becomes more of a feature than anything else.

Create a rustic and charming atmosphere

A Character Cottage Country style living room by Heart Home magazine Country
Heart Home magazine

A Character Cottage

Heart Home magazine

If you're unsure how to dress up a basic traditional hole in the wall fireplace like this, simply work with its natural rustic inclinations. Here again, it's all about the 'additions'—the flavours surrounding the fireplace. This might be a relatively basic setup, but a neat selection of aesthetic ingredients really helps make this room, and fireplace, sing: the rough wooden mantelpiece with accompanying statues and candles; the quaint rustic furniture and trimmings. Whether this fireplace is firing or not, it comes across as a real feature and can't help but bring about an air of relaxation and intrigue.

If you would like some more home inspiration, check out our other Ideabook: Living room furniture: unique chairs

Do you have a fireplace? We’d love to hear how you decorate your feature in the comments below!
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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