10 Fantastic Ways to Heat Up the Space Around a Fireplace

No built-ins? No problem. Here's how designers maximize — and let breathe — those hard-to-define areas around hearths and mantels.

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September 28, 2018

Photo By: Savage Interior Design

Photo By: Emily Jenkins Followill

Photo By: Charlotte Lucas Interior Design

Photo By: Davenport Designs

Photo By: Laura Negri

Photo By: Lauren Rubinstein

Photo By: David Christensen

Photo By: Dustin Peck Photography

Photo By: Matt Odom

Photo By: Jennifer Foster

Consoles and More

Sleek console tables on either side of the fireplace in a transitional living room function as a place for art and sculpture says designer Jonathan Savage. Benches underneath each console allow for additional seating to be tucked away, but also easily accessible.

Rustic Respite

The great room in a lakeside living room has a sofa nestled next to a large stone fireplace. Carter Kay Interiors was tasked with giving the room a more human scale and creating a welcoming, cozy environment for small and large gatherings. The custom high-back Saladino sofa is scaled to relate to the fireplace opening and mantel. The designers had horizontal iron rods made for the draperies and had those same rods turn the corner, adding vertical straps to create an ever-changing art wall. The cozy corner also has plenty of pillows to sit back and watch the boats, along with a vintage iron and suede chair, a pair of iron lamps and layered rugs.

Gorgeous Greenery

This living room serves as an extension of the property's lush surroundings on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Charlotte Lucas Interior Design used greenery in elegant containers, natural fibers and organic colors around the fireplace to exude the same peaceful energy that the coastal views provide.

Dress It Up

"I like the idea of having a chest next to a fireplace because it allows for artwork or mirrors to be displayed," says designer Lauren Davenport. The chest provides a way to store games, throw blankets and items that don’t need to be accessed every day but can be kept close at hand. The two-drawer chest has a Greek key design with a limed oak finish, while reclaimed wood is used for the mantel. The mirror captures and reflects light throughout the living space.

Writing, Anyone?

A desk is positioned next to the fireplace in an elegant master bedroom designed by Phoebe Howard for a Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Atlanta. It's a spot to reflect, and maybe pen a note, in the sophisticated space with a soft gray-green palette.

Kid-Friendly Function

A carved wood media cabinet holds TV and stereo components on one side of the fireplace, while the other side serves as a reading corner with furry white stools in a contemporary kid-friendly space. The family has two young girls who love anything “furry” or with glitter, so Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs chose stools with furry tops to turn the nook into a quiet reading hideaway. "They loved it," says designer Kelly Kole.

Polished Look

Designer Suzanne Kasler's elegant white dining room combines contemporary and classic design. The buffet and artwork fit seamlessly into a nook beside the fireplace, while the light blue curtains are a focal point opposite it.

Artsy Abode

Build an art-and-furnishings plan around a central focal point, such as a fireplace. In a northern California arts-and-crafts home, designers Jason Oliver Nixon and John Loecke with Madcap Cottage painted the red-brick fireplace so that it would become part of the room rather than dominate the space. They also switched out the hearth to a pale stone to tie it together with the painted mantel. Remember that artwork can hang low to the floor and below eye level, say the designers, author of "Prints Charming: Create Absolutely Beautiful Interiors with Prints & Patterns." A bar next to a fireplace is a cozy spot — pour yourself a martini, they say, then curl up beside the fire.

Marking the Spot

A traditional wooden hutch is next to a fireplace with a decorative screen in the living room of a decorators' Design House in Macon, Georgia.

Let the Light In

Windows were originally planned on both sides of the fireplace, but designer Jennifer Eanes Foster says she asked for them to be changed to doors leading to a covered side porch. "Bookshelves would have looked cluttered and jammed up against the mantel on such a small wall," she says.

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