A Dozen Ways to Reimagine a Non-Functioning Fireplace

Many Silicon Valley homes have masonry wood-burning fireplaces. With so many Spare the Air days and the move toward using fuels that create fewer pollutants, burning wood in our homes is less common.

For those who still have an original hearth in their home, here are some ways to make a non-functional fireplace an aesthetically pleasing focal point.

Before repurposing, be sure to clean the inside of the fireplace thoroughly and close the flue. After scooping up remaining ash and charred wood, a shop vac is ideal for removing any remaining soot from the bottom and sides.

1. Fill It With Wood

A classic nod to nature is to fill the fireplace hollow with logs. They can be split or round, the same size, or a mixture. Stack artfully upon an ornate log holder or fill the entire chamber top to bottom.

2. Mini Book Nook

Add a mini library to your space by filling the firebox with books, both big and small. Stack them neatly, pile them haphazardly vertically or horizontally, or create an actual nook by adding in a few simple shelves. For those who love to keep magazines, add racks or baskets, or simply pile them high!

3. Game Gallery

To keep board games and puzzles easily accessible, stack and store them inside the hollow of your fireplace.

4. Indoor Garden

Showcase a large houseplant inside or in front of the fireplace. Design an indoor “atrium” by using a variety of plants of varying heights, textures, and colors that occupy the interior hollow and spill out onto the hearth. For a crisp appearance, use containers with a consistent color and design. Or embrace your eclectic side, mixing and matching a variety of containers.

5. Display Decor

Find a statement piece and allow it to stand alone set back inside the firebox or in the fireplace opening. The firebox can also be used as a shadowbox to showcase several pieces. Some ideas include vases, pottery, driftwood, artwork, baskets, family photos, and collectibles.

6. Cover with a Fire Screen

Fire screens come in styles from traditional to contemporary. Whether you desire clean, simple lines or something more artistic, the options are limitless.

7. Illuminate with Candles

Pillar candles of all shapes and sizes are an excellent way to create the ambiance of a cozy fire. Choose a favorite scent, like evergreen, to add to the ambiance. Lanterns illuminated with LED string lights also work well to achieve a warm glow. Place candles or lanterns on a large mirrored tray to reflect even more light.

8. Pet Hide-Away

An empty fireplace is a puuurfect place for a nap. Tuck a cozy and attractive pet bed inside, and your furry friends have an instant nap nook!

9. Showcase Wine Bottles

Measure the inside dimensions of your fireplace, find a wooden or metal wine rack, and you instantly have a place to store and display your collection.

10. Pillow Pile

If you have floor pillows or poofs, an extra-clean fireplace chamber will keep these items close at hand.

11. Storage

Use stackable baskets or vintage crates to design attractive and straightforward storage. A trunk can serve as a statement piece and serve to store extra blankets or other items.

12. Beautify Your Brick

To retain the overall look of a fireplace and hearth while giving it an aesthetic update, clean the firebrick surround completely and apply a coat of paint. White is crisp, clean, and airy, while matte charcoal gray offers an edgy, urban vibe. Allow the painted chamber to stand alone, or use one of the above options to maximize the space.

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