11 Chic Ideas for Fireplaces

Go for a classic look or a creative twist on fireplaces, either indoors or out

Miranda Crowell
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Go for gold

Instead of letting the fireplace recede into the background, the homeowners decided to make it the room’s shining star: They applied gold leaf to the brick to tie it into turquoise-and-gold color scheme of the rest of the space. The dark paint around it makes it stand out even more. Gold leaf, from $10/18 sheets; michaels.com

More: See the rest of this colorful home

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Embrace patina

In this 1910 beach house, the homeowners removed some dated teal tile around the fireplace, only to discover some beautifully aged brick underneath it. Rather than cover it up again, they decided the patina fit the home’s character and left it as is.

More: See the rest of this beach house makeover

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Let it stand out

The dark ceramic tiles, by Heath Ceramics, create a perfect backdrop to a showpiece freestanding fireplace. The turquoise pops in an otherwise subdued, neutral living room, and serves as a focal point even when it’s off.

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Use it as a space divider

The modern concrete fireplace serves as a focal point, but by being sunken, the seating area around it feels like a distinct “room” on the spacious deck.

More: 26 great ideas for decks

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Just add paint

It’s one of designers’ favorite tricks for making a ho-hum fireplace look modern: Paint it white. Be sure to use masonry primer and at least two coats of water-based interior paint. (And don’t paint the inside of the fireplace!) White Opulence OC-69 by Benjamin Moore.

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Buck tradition

A non-functional fireplace allows you to make unconventional decorating choices. Here, the homeowners turned their simple fireplace into a dramatic accent wall by applying a dark patterned wallpaper. Wallpaper shown: Graham & Brown's Midsummer: Black (56503).

More: 10 unconventional wallpaper ideas

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Let it blend in

This rustic-looking outdoor fireplace perfectly suits its slightly untamed backyard surroundings—and looks great against the bougainvillea. It makes a cozy spot for drinks and conversation.

More: See the rest of this entertaining-friendly home

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Float it

The typical fireplace is a space hog, but the Fireorb—as seen in this mid-century modern living room—frees up both wall and floor space, so the room looks spacious and airy. fireorb.net

More: 10 modern living rooms

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Make over the mantel

It’s easy to fill the mantel with tchotchkes, but a careful edit will go a long way in a room. The mix of vintage photographs and paintings ties into this living room’s classic library look. The white painted brick keeps the room looking fresh, not musty.

More: See the rest of this creative country house

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Scale down

You don’t need a big yard—or budget—to get a backyard glow. This compact wok-style gas firepit, in a small Venice yard, provides enough warmth for the seating area around it.

More: 38 ideas for firepits

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Balance dark and light

In a light, airy space, like this glass-walled living room, a dark fireplace can provide much-needed visual grounding. This one also keeps the otherwise minimalist space from feeling cold.

More: 30 living room style tips