Fireplaces: we love to sit by their warmth on cozy nights, but they can be a pain more often than not. Not only do they require regular maintenance, but they also get dusty and stained—and their dirt often finds its way throughout the rest of your home. So, it's no surprise that so many fireplaces are no longer functional or go unused.
However, just because your fireplace is unused doesn't mean that it takes up any less space or is any less of a focal point. The question then becomes what to do with your unused fireplace—cover it up? Accessorize it? Hide it away? Let us help. Follow along for 15 great ideas on what to do with your empty fireplace.
Even if your fireplace is no longer functional, it can still be a source of warmth. Place an electric heater, a wood-burning stove, or a heater that looks like one inside your fireplace for a creatively functional centerpiece.
Place a Plant
Plants can easily be the centerpiece of your décor, so why not make them the centerpiece of your room? Place a statement plant or two in your empty fireplace to make an all-too-often dark void a bit more green. Add a few more on top of your mantle for a lush look that stands out.
Make It Rustic
Love the look of a wood fireplace, but hate the clean-up and maintenance? Place a dog grate inside your sparkling clean fireplace with a few pieces of pristine wood—think birch or another type of light wood that will stand out—upon it. Then, let it be. You'll have the look of a functioning fireplace without the mess that goes along with it.
A Splash of Seasonality
Your empty fireplace can become a great spot for showing off a little bit of seasonal décor. Consider placing a fresh vase of flowers inside it to mark the passing of spring and summer, or throw some faux pumpkins in for a touch of fall.
For the winter holidays, go crazy—your empty fireplace is the perfect spot for advent candles or a menorah.
Leave It Be
If your fireplace looks more like a vintage relic than a source of heat, embrace it. Instead of trying to cover or fix it up, make it a focal point of your space. Clean up the outside as best you can, then add a few carefully selected pictures and knick-knacks to the mantle for a unique fireplace that's uniquely you.
Paint It White
For a minimalist elegance that will blend in nearly anywhere, go for the tried and true method of painting your unused fireplace white. An off-white or cream will also do, but it's important that however you paint your fireplace, it's painted well—poorly painted brick can look just as bad as a stained and damaged hearth.
Be Boldly Brick
We can all picture the typical '70s and '80s brick fireplace in our head: big, reddish-brown, and occasionally an eyesore. However, your unused fireplace can be transformed into something far better with some creative brick usage. Lay lightly colored bricks in a unique vertical or diagonal pattern for some fun and grown-up texture.
Break Out the Baskets
Your unused fireplace can also be the ideal spot for a little bit of stylish storage. A clean and bright hearth is the perfect place for your favorite statement basket. Inside the basket, place items you want to keep tucked away when not in use, like blankets or books.
Lay Some Tile
Even if you're not using your fireplace, it's often still the focal point of your space. Rather than trying to make it not be that way, embrace it by highlighting it even further. A stylish way to do this is by laying some unique tile surrounding the fireplace. And because you'll be using so little, make your tile count: pick high-quality tile you know you'll love.
Make Your Mantle Stand Out
Another great way to embrace your fireplace is by incorporating a large and colorful mantle. Not only does a mantle provide a great place to display a few of your favorite things—and a spot to hang your stockings come the holidays—a mantle also adds to the visual appeal of your fireplace.
This effect can be increased even more by painting it a fun color that complements the rest of your space.
Lay It On Me
Break from tradition and display your favorite art and frames in a new way—rather than hanging them above the mantle, carefully lay them atop it. It can give your unused fireplace a casual, carefree, and modern look, and it brings an understated elegance to the space.
Marvel at Marble
Embrace the transforming power of marble adhesive for a fireplace that's a sure showstopper. Though you're often unable to use contact paper or other adhesives on functioning fireplaces due to the effects of the heat, your unused fireplace has no such restrictions. Have fun trying out different materials, like contact paper with a quartz or granite design, to create a fireplace that is so chic.
Go Back to Black
For a moody and elegant feel, paint your fireplace black. By painting both the exterior and interior of it, you'll get a dramatic look that hides any scrapes, scratches or stains. Take this look a step further by painting the interior a slightly lighter shade of black—this will give the feature a sense of depth and texture.
Don't Forget Seats
Since you aren't using your fireplace, make sure the space in front of it isn't wasted. Place a few stools or ottomans in front of the hearth for convenient overflow seating, or add a long bench for some extra storage.
Make Room For Timber
Want to give your space that log cabin vibe without committing to dressing everything in plaid and wood paneling? There's an easy solution if you have an unused fireplace—stack logs inside of it. This trendy look gives your fireplace a rugged vibe and is the perfect touch for a vacation cabin or chalet.