How to Make a Fireplace ‘Work’ in a Small Living Room

Reinvent your fireplace and make it an attractive part of your home, even when you only have a small living room!

how to make a fireplace work even in a small living room

If your living room is on the small side, you could struggle to give the space an attractive focal point.

However, the good news is that not only could a fireplace act as this focal point. It can also give you a surprisingly wide range of creative options with regards to how you display this feature.

Here are several ideas that you could particularly consider for your small living room’s fireplace — whether you have one already in place or not.

Strip plaster away to reveal enchanting brickwork.

A fireplace might already have been sitting pretty in your home when you first moved into it, especially in the case of a period property, and enhancing it with an indoor ethanol fireplace can elevate both its aesthetics and functionality.

However, if this fireplace is in a compact living room, you could be left with little space — literally — in which to add a lot new. In this instance, then, how you spruce up the fireplace could be very much more a matter of what you remove instead.

One option — and it can admittedly be a divisive one — is to expose bricks of the fireplace. It’s worth heeding that if your home was originally assembled before the 1950s, chances are that plaster currently on the fireplace is concealing some beautiful, elegant brickwork.

Be careful where you put the TV.

“One of the big problems is that most people tend to have two very different focal points in a living room — the fireplace and the TV.” Interior design expert Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen tells Ideal Home, adding: “And somehow we want to accommodate both within the same axis.”

Through putting the TV above the fireplace, you can essentially combine these two focal points into one. This prevents them from competing with each other. Additionally, making sure that the TV’s size is in scale with that of the fireplace underneath will allow for a more balanced look.

Alternatively, you could position the TV in a corner of the room if space is especially tight.

Paint your fireplace’s surrounds in a bold color.

Doing this can draw attention to the surrounds and make for a nice visual contrast. This is especially true if the living room’s walls are in a pale color and complemented with light-colored furnishings.

The overall result can help in giving the room a greater sense of space, since the background colors wouldn’t be constantly competing for attention. Nonetheless, don’t be afraid to balance the yellow fireplace with a small number of further yellow accents around the room.

Install an electric fireplace.

If you are looking to install a fireplace afresh, an electric model — that is, one powered with electricity rather than gas or wood — would make an especially space-efficient option.

Dengarden explains that, as “these units do not require a firebox, fireguards, safety clearance, and masonry, they can be placed in any and all rooms of a home.”

There are also many different electric fireplace designs for you to choose from, allowing you to select one that can be slotted into your particular living room’s layout with ease.

Use a fireplace to partition and section off parts of the room.

If your living room is an open plan or studio apartment space, a fireplace can serve surprisingly well as a room divider.

For example, you could apply some clever spatial planning while placing a freestanding fireplace in the room. Or use a double-sided fireplace to link two adjacent spaces together.

If neither of these ideas would be an option in your case, you could still consider simply having a fireplace built into an existing wall of the room. As a result, a fireplace can still demarcate the room visually even when it wouldn’t be practically possible for it to do so physically.

Affix floor-to-ceiling tiles above the fireplace.

If that fireplace is at the bottom of a chimney breast wall, you might want to tile that wall. Rather than go down the more traditional route of painting or wallpapering it.

That’s because covering the chimney breast wall with floor-to-ceiling tiles would draw the eye upwards. And, as a result, make the room feel taller than it actually is.

As for exactly what kind of tiles you should attach, Moroccan-style Zellige tiles would be a good choice. Their irregular form makes them more visually interesting than standard ceramic tiles.

Use fireside alcoves as storage compartments.

If your living room does have fireside alcoves, these could too easily be non-standard widths and heights. However, you could arrange for a carpenter to build you bespoke cabinets and open shelving. These must be designed to fit precisely into these spaces.

This would enable you to put those alcoves to good practical use. For example, use them to store books or display ornaments.

Create a stunning mantelpiece if your home doesn’t have one already.

If your home is a classic Victorian terrace, it might still have its original chimney breast and fireplace. And this complete with a beautiful mantelpiece.

However, if your domestic property actually lacks any kind of pretty period mantelpiece, you might have underestimated how cost-effective it could be for you to create a mantelpiece. You don’t necessarily have to look far to unearth a worthwhile source of inspiration for that project, either…

“In this living room there is a lot going on. So, I wanted the mantelpiece to have a relatively simple design.” Interior designer Pandora Taylor has told Livingetc about one especially striking mantelpiece she has designed. The website shows in a photo.

This mantelpiece is notable for its marble finish, the veining of which particularly stands out. Taylor has admitted that, though this ‘Pocahondas’ marble is the last thing she chose for inclusion in the mantelpiece, she was besotted with the marble’s bark-like texture.

Taylor further explained: “When designing mantelpieces in spaces like this I like to go low and wide. This can make the room appear taller than it is whilst adding grandeur with its bulk.”

You might already be brimming with ideas for how a mantelpiece of your own design could come together. This will definitely help in framing your small living room’s fireplace to aesthetically impressive effect!

Ready to reinvent your fireplace?

Your fireplace can be just the right thing to be in your living room. But that depends on how creative you are.

And that’s where these above-mentioned ideas will prove itself handy. With these, we’re confident that you can make your fireplace an attractive focal point even in a small living room!

Need more decor ideas for the living room? Check these out!

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Not sure how to make your fireplace an attractive focal point in your small living room? Here are simple tips and ideas to help!

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