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21 Fireplace Ideas That Make Brilliant Focal Points

stylish fireplace ideas in a traditional home
(Image credit: Garden Trading)

The best fireplace ideas aren't just about keeping you cosy in the winter months, they're about using this feature as a focal point for your space. In many period homes, living spaces are arranged around the fireplace — this is how the former owners used to keep warm, after all. This means it's an important part of your overall scheme to get right, whether it's now got a log burning stove, a gas or electric fire or no fire at all. 

If you're building a new home or extension however, your options are much more open when it comes to designing a fireplace into your home. 

Whatever type of project you're undertaking, these 21 fireplace ideas are sure to inspire. 

1. Create a Focal Point With an Exposed Brick Fireplace 

an exposed brick fireplace idea

(Image credit: Arada Stoves)

When it comes to a classic fireplace idea, you can't get much better than an exposed brick fireplace. It's a design that works for both traditional and modern homes and, in the right home, it's a relatively easy job to uncover your brickwork. 

However, before you go pulling off plaster to expose the brick underneath, bear in mind the brick may not be what you're expecting, or be in the best condition. It's a calculated risk, but one that might see you looking for a plasterer to re-instate the wall. 

(MORE: How to Find a Good Plasterer)

If you think your home's brick might not be up to scratch, you could also consider create an exposed brick fireplace with brick slips, thinly cut brick tiles that will look like the real thing when adhered to the wall. 

2. Reinstate Period Charm With the Right Fireplace

a period fireplace idea in a traditional home

(Image credit: Renaissance London)

If you live in a period home that has been stripped of its features at some point in its life, consider sourcing a period fireplace to restore some of the home's charm.  

“I’d always recommend sticking to the period of the house when looking to purchase a fireplace," says Owen Pacey, Founder of Renaissance London. "This ensures that the styles align and the fireplace will look like it’s always been there."

But how do you know what the right type is for your home? "The ground floor of Victorian properties always used to have a marble or slate fireplace and later on in the Edwardian era, slate became much more popular. My go-to material would always be marble, however, as it is generally very durable."

 3. Paint the Fireplace the Same Colour as the Walls  

a fireplace idea with the walls painted the same colour

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

Usually a fireplace surround is neutral, but a dominant accent in a room, if not just because it's such a large, boxy form. However, this doesn't work for every room. 

Painting the fireplace surround the same as the walls is an interesting tactic, as it sends this domineering figure into the background, but still retains its form and texture and continues to frame the fireplace, as well as providing a mantel for displaying your interior accessories. 

4. Centre a Fireplace in the Room for Real Wow-Factor  

a freestanding fireplace idea in the middle of a room

(Image credit: Planika)

If you're self building or building an extension, don't be limited to the idea that a fireplace is solely on a chimney breast. Modern fireplace designs allow for interesting set-ups, including this design with a fireplace creating the divide between living and dining area in this broken-plan space. 

But how can you have a fireplace with no chimney for wood smoke? Simply, don't get a wood burning fire. Modern bioethanol fireplaces are great as they don't need extraction as there's is no smoke, while still giving you the joy of a real fire in your home. 

4. Use Cladding for a Feature Fireplace 

a design idea with a granite clad fireplace

(Image credit: Cosentino)

Fireplaces can be clad in all kinds of interesting materials to make them a design feature of your space. One brilliant idea is to use a material such as hardy granite or quartz, pictured here in Sensa from Cosentino, which allows you to create the look of a dramatic slab of stone in one piece, retaining the beautiful veining with no visual breaks. 

5.  Source a Characterful Fireplace to Make a Statement  

a unique fireplace idea from a reclaimed source

(Image credit: Graham Atkin Hughes for Renaissance London)

Reclaimed fireplaces can be found from all kinds of sources, from scrapyards and reclamation centres to online marketplaces on social media. These period designs are more likely to be detailed in a way that many modern fireplaces aren't, and so can bring some real flair to a room design. 

This fireplace, sourced by antique fireplace specialists Renaissance London, transforms what is otherwise quite a simple room by giving it a sense of grandeur and history. 

6.  Choose a Dramatic Art Deco Style Fireplace 

an art deco fireplace idea

(Image credit: Haddonstone)

Art Deco fireplaces are very distinctive, often featuring concentric ridges while also monolithically sized. Choosing an Art Deco fireplace over an alternative design from another period will instantly set the scene for your scheme, allowing you to commit to this glamorous, decorative style in full. 

7. Modern Fireplaces Ideas for a Living Room

modern fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

If you're designing from scratch or updating an existing fireplace, the key is to ensure the chimney breast, surround and mantel (if you're having one) are proportional to the room as a whole. 

This is especially true of modern fireplaces, where styles and trend might adapt and change how you feel about a certain shape — just think about the garish brick and stone clad beasts of the '50 and '70s. 

While wide and putting a twist on traditional inglenook fireplaces, this contemporary fireplace blends seamlessly into the room at large. 

8. A Simple, Classic Fireplace Idea

traditional fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Haddonstone)

Traditional fireplaces for solid fuel, gas or woodburning stoves are generally made up of two hearths (one front and one back), a fire surround and, last but not least a chimney breast. 

While more can be added for decoration or for various practical reasons, use these of your starting point when looking for fireplace ideas to spark a design. 

A minimalist yet timeless look has been created for this log burner by using a stone hearth with no mantle or fire surround, meaning the stove does all of the work to add character and warmth to the interior. 

9. Choose a Timber Fireplace Surround

Scandi fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Next)

Adding a fire surround can be a quick update to any fireplace, but make sure the wood or veneer is of decent quality to ensure a fresh look thats worth the time and money. 

10. Remodel Your Space for a Double-Sided Fireplace

Fireplace makeover ideas

(Image credit: Richard Parsons Photography)

Existing fireplaces aren't to everyone's tastes but there are certainly steps homeowners can take to makeover and update an ugly duckling. 

Plastering, tiling, brick cladding or even painting, as in this example, can drastically remedy a dated fireplace. Using a bulky fireplace to showcase his woodburning stove and to create a broken plan interior design was another ingenious idea by this homeowner when remodelling his mid-century home. 

11. Creating a Fireplace Without a Fire

Empty fireplace ideas

(Image credit: CTD)

Now this might seen like an oxymoron, but in modern, more efficient homes fireplaces can be redundant and a real fire seldom lit. 

Consider adding visual warmth to an empty fire using inset candles, LED strip lights or simple some decorative logs. 

12. Ideas for Modern Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Adam Manola c/o Fireplace world)

An eye-catching feature, this gas fireplace (Adam Manola Fireplace Suite from Fireplace World) costs £389 and requires no recess, meaning it can be installed in the perfect spot in a connected home. 

13. Make the Most of a Vaulted Ceiling with a Fireplace and Chimney Breast Wall

Contemporary fireplace wall ideas

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

This show-stopping self build utilises the chimney breast to divide the open plan space, while making the most of the vaulted ceiling

14. Mix and Match Modern and Traditional Styles for a Welcoming Fireplace Finish

Modern fireplace surround ideas

(Image credit: Ludlow Stoves)

A unique fire surround, inset log burner and Scandi-inspired hearth are paired with a modern take on a log basket, creating an individual and timeless fireplace. 

15. Consider an Open Fireplace for a Cosy Room

Open fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Xisha Dong c/o Koopower)

While woodburning stoves offer a certain charm, an open fire is without a doubt one of life's simple pleasures. 

This characterful fire pit creates an alternative to a regimented and boxed in fireplace — and it beautifully completes the cosy aesthetic to the rest of the room. 

16. Electric Fireplace Ideas Don't Have to Lack Personality

Electric fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Dimplex c/o B&Q)

Electric fires, while without the inherent visual appeal of a gas or solid fuel stove, are a cost-effective way to shake up elements in a living room or snug — add instant charm to an electric fire by installing an oak beam or mantel. 

(MORE: Best Electric Log Burners)

17. Transform a Stone Fireplace with a Modern Insert

Stone fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Decoflame)

Although recent trends drifted away from larger stone-clad chimney breasts, the current love of mixing mid-century and modern styles definitely works to the advantage of inter-war homes. 

Striking the perfect balance, this living room stays true to it's '60s roots while adding some modern pizzazz in the form of a gas insert. 

18. Add a Splash of Colour with a Tiled Fireplace

Tiled empty fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

Adding tiles to a fireplace is a great opportunity to create colour and material variation in a room. 

These pale blue tiles (from Walls and Floors) have raw edges for a rustic finish that blends perfectly with the exposed brick and black painted walls. 

(MORE: Opening Up a Fireplace)

19. Create a Slate Fireplace using Slips or Cladding

Inset fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

The slate fireplace here is the perfect modern counterpoint to the traditional oak frame structure of the home and it's easy to create using a modern stone cladding system. 

20. Corner Fireplaces Offer Room for Something Special

Corner fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Dik Guerts c/o DRU Fires)

Locating a fireplace in a corner is a great way to open it up to the room, particularly if you've chosen an open plan living space. 

This two-sided fire is lined by a contemporary anthracite frame while a monochrome tile and stone plinth elevate the design to a unique feature. 

20. Create a Focal Point by Installing a TV Above a Fireplace

Tv above fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Malcom Menzies)

If you can avoid it, don't put your TV over a fireplace, as it draws too much attention. You don't want a bit of oversized tech to be your focal point, after all. 

However, if it's unavoidable, placing the TV on the dark wall means it is slightly concealed, putting full focus on the stove below. 

21. Modern Chimney and Fireplace Ideas

Fireplace ideas

(Image credit: Simon Maxwell)

Remember, fireplaces don't have to be boring. Designing a chimney breast and fireplace that makes a room feel individual is difficult but inherently worth the time. 

The floor-to-ceiling glazing of this self build frames the inside/outside fireplace feature beautifully while log store on both sides add character. 

(MORE: Log Store Ideas)

Amy Reeves

Assistant Editor Amy began working for Homebuilding & Renovating in 2018. She has an interest in sustainable building methods and always has her eye on the latest design ideas. Amy has interviewed countless self builders, renovators and extenders about their experiences for Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. She is currently renovating a mid-century home, together with her partner, on a DIY basis, and has recently fitted her own kitchen.