An out-of-use fireplace offers up all manner of decorative possibilities for a room. We asked our style editor, Jessica Hanson to share some of her styling tips.
1. Cluster candles
“Re-create the warmth and glow of a working fireplace by arranging a series of candles inside. Substantial pillar candles in varying sizes oozing with wax will look better than unused, pristine candles. Flameless candles or a string of lights wrapped around a few logs make a safer, more child-friendly alternative.”
2. Stage a vignette
“Use an empty fireplace as a way to share your favourite objects, and add your personal touch. Layer interesting shapes and bring it all together with a single colour palette or theme. The key to this is to always incorporate a sense of nature. My tip: group vases or vessels in different shapes and sizes for a visually united vignette for displaying fresh flowers. “
3. Wallpaper your fireplace
“For a dramatic effect, decorate a disused fire box with a bold, patterned wallpaper. A busy pattern will hide the inevitable mismatches between surface joins. Be adventurous with colour on the fire surrounds and use the same shade on the walls so that they seamlessly blend in and make the wallpaper the focal point. A strong contrast between the wallpaper and paint colour will add extra depth. Take the look further by painting some display logs in a contrasting strong tones.”
4. Group interesting objects
Take your style cues from your fireplace’s vintage – a crumbling older style suits a whimsical, romantic arrangement. Here, shapes, texture and forms are grouped to charming effect, with smaller clusters up top playing a supporting role to the bigger, more attention-grabbing mirror ball and wooden deer below.
5. Use it as storage
Children’s rooms can never have too much storage, so think creatively and use an old fireplace to tuck away your little one’s favourite soft toys. Set at the perfect height for tiny arms, an old fireplace helps foster a kid’s sense of pride in their room. Keep revolving the mantelpiece display to create a personalised tableau – think photos, artworks and invitations.
6. Keep it simple
Warm up dark, modern materials with a cut wood display, advises Jessica. “Use a large number of split and cut logs,” she says. “The logs should be long enough to fill the depth of the fireplace, without hanging over the edge.” Logs of different shapes and sizes add a texture all their own. “Stack a variety of scrap and reclaimed timber for a more rustic look,” adds Jessica.
7. Create a mini library
A favourite trick at Inside Out is to repurpose an old fireplace as a creative book store. Have fun with your arrangement, advises Jessica. “You can stack books both vertically and horizontally inside the fireplace to develop a fun pattern,” she says. Colourful spines add an eclectic look or, “Face them inwards for a more uniform, neutral effect.” A tight pack keeps everything in place.