Many of us love a good, cozy fireplace, but there are still plenty of folks who might have theirs closed up or not in use. In fact, the fervor for fireplaces is burning out; the number of fireplaces in newly constructed homes has been dropping steadily since 2015.
But even if your fireplace no longer lights your fire, it doesn’t have to be wasted space. There are still a ton of ways to “use” your fireplace without big, smoky flames. Keep reading for some cool fireplace ideas that don’t involve lighting a single match.
1. Fill your fireplace with books
Who doesn’t need a little extra storage for their book collection? Rather than keeping your fireplace looking empty this winter, get creative with your favorite books to fill it up, just like in this photo from @rosabeltrandesign.
“One tip I love for this idea is to stack the books in various different ways,” says Sherri Monte, interior designer for Elegant Simplicity. “Have some vertical, horizontal, with the binding displayed or with the pages showing. Create something visual that adds to the effect of showing off your personality.”
2. Stuff it with logs
Just because you’re not burning them doesn’t mean logs can’t be a festive addition to the fireplace. Just look at this post from @shayfarm7.
“This look is so rustic and log-cabin feeling,” says Stephanie Purcell, owner of Redesigned Classics. “The logs work because it’s something you automatically associate with fireplaces anyway, so you don’t really think about it not being a working fireplace.”
3. Cover your fireplace with a poster
If you really want to hide the sooty, messy hole that is your unused fireplace, consider covering it with a favorite poster, just like we see in this post from @gretchenanndesigns.
“Fireplaces are already ornamented with a great frame, so why not put that frame to good use around a picture or poster? Use what you already have to create a majestic focal point with art,” Purcell says. “I suggest a poster with a large print to really give it a ‘wow’ factor.”
Find a poster that you love by shopping Etsy.
4. Install a chalkboard
Install a chalkboard over your fireplace, and then use it to write or sketch out your favorite seasonal greetings, like we see in this post from @stacie.taylormoore.
“This is such an elegant idea for a cozy winter vibe, and for fun holiday word art,” Monte says. “The entire fireplace is pulled together by the imperfect chalk art that’s also really fun for little ones.”
Check out this tutorial to make your own.
5. Board up your fireplace
If logs and chalkboards aren’t your thing, consider boarding up the fireplace and painting it in your favorite color. Rather than being an empty space, the finished boards give you a whole new surface for hanging decor, like we see in this photo from @quaintandsimple.
“The whimsical and shabby chic look of this fireplace is divine,” Monte says. “The dimensional columns are aged and appear distressed, the mantel is arched and opens to a panel of beadboard painted in a soft cream. Attaching a simple wreath made out of twigs adds a layer of warmth, and what really pulls this particular fireplace all together is the two chairs anchoring it all—they’re not only adding dimension but offering an invitation to cozy up.”
6. Create seasonal vignettes
If your fireplace is clean enough to stay opened up, you might consider styling it with seasonal vignettes rather than covering it up. Add some pumpkins or seasonal floral displays and your favorite vases and pots to re-create this look from @simplywovenalwaysvintage.
“If you think about it, a fireplace is very similar to a mini stage, so why not create your own vignettes in this mini auditorium? It’s perfect for highlighting holiday themes and creative scenes,” Purcell says. “You can use gourds in the fall or greenery and woodland creatures in the winter.”
We love this collection of seasonal vases from Pottery Barn.
7. Fill it with candles
OK, so we know we said no fire, but how about a few itty-bitty flames, like these ones featured by @remediumcandle?
Put your favorite holiday candles to work and give your fireplace that toasty glow you’ve always dreamed of—without creating a roaring blaze.
“I absolutely love the idea of filling a fireplace with various sizes of tiered candles,” Monte says. “There isn’t anything cozier than warming up to the glow of scented candles.”
Stock up on candles of all types at Cost Plus World Market.
8. No fireplace? Build your own!
If you don’t have an empty fireplace to fill, why not build your own? Faux fireplaces (like this one in progress from @kdiondesign) create a great focal point for any living room and are incredibly easy to build yourself. Follow this DIY tutorial to get started.