That forlorn fireplace that nobody has used for ages doesn’t have to sit there looking lost in your living room design. Transform it into something beautiful even if you don’t plan on building a fire in it ever again.

These 12 non-working fireplace ideas will get your creativity fired up. Most of them are even renter-friendly.


Reface

You don’t have to keep passing by those smoke-stained bricks every day hating your old fireplace. Give it a new, fresh look by covering the bricks with a unique tile. A new mantel or an update to the mantel might give your fireplace a new lease on life too.


Paint

You have two general options when it comes to giving the firebox an update: make it stand out or let it blend in. If you want your firebox to be the center of attention, paint it a light color. This will allow more light into a recessed area and draw attention to it. If you want it to blend, paint it a dark color. It cuts the light to the area and you won’t notice the void as much.


Stack

An unused fireplace is a great place to stack things. One popular approach is to stack some rustic logs in the firebox. Turn them perpendicular to the wall to show the round, ringed end of the logs for some interest. You can stack all kinds of other things too: books, records, etc.

 

An un-used fireplace with a screen.

Screen

Go traditional and add a screen in front of the non-functional fireplace for a quick and elegant solution. Screens come in all different looks so it’s easy to bring your old fireplace into harmony with a more contemporary design.


Vignette

An empty, unused fireplace is the perfect place to create a little personality-filled vignette. Create a collection of items that tell a story and arrange them in your firebox. As a rule of thumb, mix different shapes, sizes, and levels to achieve design balance.


Statement

The fireplace naturally creates a place of honor for a statement piece. It is essentially a ready-made frame just waiting to highlight a floral arrangement, piece of art, or statement-making decor item. It doesn’t have to be ornate or large. Keep it proportional to the size of the fireplace and the size of the room.

 

An un-used fireplace with an assortment of candles placed inside.

Lighting

Shed some light on your darkened fireplace with an arrangement of decorative lanterns, twinkling lights, or candles. A candelabra makes for an interesting way to add different heights to your candles plus some structure to your arrangement.


Andirons

Andirons are decorative stands that are used to stack logs on, however, today many andirons are simply decorative. Andirons make a great addition to an unused fireplace. You can maintain the fireplace’s identity without leaving it an empty hole in the wall.


Storage

The unused fireplace creates a little nook that makes for a bit of extra storage space. Install a couple of shelves in the firebox or even some small drawers to add storage to your living room. Select something that reinforces your design style to add a little something to your space.

 

Logs

You could always keep to the original purpose for your fireplace and convert it to an electric fireplace. You’ll sidestep all the mess and worry that comes with a wood-burning or gas fireplace but still be able to enjoy the ambiance of the fireplace. Opt for a log set, which you simply have to set inside the firebox and plug in.

Insert

The same concept as a log set, the electric fireplace insert adds a housing and sometimes a front for your fireplace for a complete look. Be sure to measure correctly to get a proper fit, as the electric fireplace insert slides snuggly into your firebox.


Transform your fireplace into something that adds to your living room design even if you plan to never use it again. An unused fireplace can become a centerpiece of the living room again with a few creative ideas.

 

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