There’s nothing quite like a fireplace to make a house feel like a home and — when well designed — add major style to a room.
Of course, given its prominence as a design feature, a fireplace also has the power to date a room back to the 1980s — and not in a good way. So it’s important to choose your design wisely and with intention.
We reached out to top designers around the country to share the most fabulous fireplaces from their portfolios. They let us in on their top fireplace styling tips, applicable for all room sizes and aesthetics.
Chic, modern fireplace with emerald green marble
As the backdrop to this fireplace, emerald green marble travels from the floor all the way to the ceiling. The regal fireplace adds dimension to the room, balancing the otherwise modern decor.
Since this modern living room features low-profile furniture, designer Samantha Gallacher, co-founder of IG Workshop based in Miami, designed the dramatic, floor-to-ceiling fireplace to visually balance the room.
“I’m a big fan of utilizing one color palette with varying textures to add dimension. The floor-to-ceiling fireplace doesn’t add another level,” she says. “However, it allows the eye to not be level on one plane, thus drawing the eye up and creating height to the room, shaping the wall, and giving a grander feel to the room.”
Get the look: Green marble mosaic tile, $34.99 per square foot at Home Depot
Minimalist mantle in a neutral palette
This monochromatic travertine mantle designed by IG Workshop couldn’t be more elegant. The single color keeps the design clean and minimal, while the curated pottery in the opening hearkens back to the antiquities.
Gallacher explains that adding sconces alongside or above a fireplace can be another great way to add levels and style to the space, along with additional light, of course.
“Your fireplace should be a reflection of your personal style. If you are an art lover, bring something abstract; a nature lover, bring some unexpected from the outdoors,” she says.
This design also exemplifies another of Gallacher’s top tips for designing a stunning fireplace: “Try and create height without being too symmetrical,” she says. “You want to draw your eye up and create height so that it really shapes the entire wall. We always love a mirror on a mantel — it has such a regal quality.”
Get the look: Round brass mirror, $179.99 at World Market
Bold fireplace with a masculine, maximalist vibe
Like the other details in this Winston-Salem home, this library is all about boldness and maximalism.
While the fireplace itself might appear traditional when taken alone, the bold, colorful details contrast and complement it, drawing attention to it while balancing its aesthetic. Of course, there are the deep green walls surrounding this fireplace — and did you catch the patterned wallpaper on the ceiling above?
“I go for a maximalist approach to my design, with antiques being a feature, as well as beautiful stained wood moldings and bright paint colors to make that pop,” explains its designer Anne Rainey Rokahr of Winston-Salem based Trouvaille Home. “This house was a remodel of a home in North Carolina, so the fireplaces already existed, and we just revamped them and gave them new, colorful life.”
Get the look: Metal centerpiece bowl, $70 at West Elm
Curated mantel with centerpiece clock
In these before-and-after pictures, Instinct Home Design’s Kennedy Reese shows how simple and affordable it can be to update a fireplace by intentionally curating objects that excite you.
A few of her top tips for fireplace design are reflected in this look. First, she says, keep your design simple. “Most fireplaces are way too busy and cluttered. All the different styles and family photos can be visually distracting and make it difficult to relax and enjoy the space you’re in,” she says. “Therefore, my number one tip is to stay minimal and keep your theme consistent.”
Next, vary the heights of your decor and add a centerpiece — like the clock in this example — to serve as a focal point.
“In addition to being visually stimulating, decor of various heights can make a space feel full and balanced,” she notes. “Centerpieces give your subconscious something to focus on, so don’t be afraid to go big. Studies show that seeing beauty in our environment boosts our serotonin levels, making us feel more content.”
Add some candles to the mix. “It may sound redundant to add fire to a fireplace, but in the summer months, you may not want the fire on,” she says. Opt for some natural wick-burning candles that offer the gratifying sound of a burning fire without the heat.
For an organic touch, include an element of greenery on the mantel. “Human beings possess an innate desire to connect with nature and other forms of life,” Reese shares. “In addition to improving your air quality and reducing your stress, indoor plants can help you feel grounded and connected to the world around you.”
Lastly, Reese says, when in doubt, follow the less-is-more mantra to achieve peace in the space. “If you feel like the area around your fireplace is too crowded, it probably is,” she advises. “Don’t be afraid to minimize, prioritize, and be patient enough to find the right size for decor in your space!”
Get the look: Oversized galvanized wall clock, $349 at Pottery Barn
A clean-lined fireplace surrounded by storage
When is a fireplace more than a fireplace? When it’s flanked by built-in storage, contributing visual appeal and abundant functionality. Cabinets at the lower half provide space for games, books, and miscellaneous. While shelves that aren’t needed for utility serve as a canvas for a minimalist or maximalist collection of curated objects — whichever style you prefer.
Andrea Hysmith of ASH Interiors and Design created this fireplace as a way to both update the space and solve her client’s problem. “This space was a traditional brick fireplace with no storage,” Hysmith explains. “Our client really wanted to make the space feel fresh as well as embrace her love of the beach.”
To do so, the team framed the existing brick fireplace to seamlessly install shiplap around the surround. They added cabinets for storage with shelving above to house an array of home goods as well as framed photos.
“You can do this yourself by adding cabinets — even from Home Depot — or a beautiful piece of furniture to each side for the space,” Hysmith says. Then add floating shelves above in natural wood or white.
Get the look: Modern timber craft rustic fireplace mantel, $85 at Amazon
Header Image Source: (Pxhere)