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Decorating Your Fireplace

For every fireplace that exists, there's a hundred ways it could be decorated. Some have mantels. Some don't. Some are rustic. Some are modern. So let's see if we can figure out some clues that will help you sort through the maze facing you with your fireplace and how to decorate it.

Here are some fireplace decorating tips to think about.

First, where is the fireplace located? It is in the family room, a great room, a living room, a master bedroom, or even in a bathroom? If the fireplace is located in a great room or family room, think about making it feel more cozy. You can do that by surrounding it with wood paneling or stone. Put up a large wood mantel above the opening. You could even put wood paneling above the mantel.

What do you have that would make a spectacular display for above the mantel? Perhaps a trophy head, a great work of art, a kimono from Japan, a large screen TV. Each side of the fireplace, if situated in the middle of the wall, could be a great location for floor to ceiling bookcases. Consider paneling the entire room.

Is the room formal? What style is the decor? Intricately carved wood works great with such styles as Old English, Tudor, Queen Anne or French Provincial. Over the mantel, hang a gilded mirror. Choose a very large, impressive mirror with an ornate frame. If you don't have or want a mirror, choose a large painting of a distinguished person, perhaps someone in your family. It should also be framed with an ornate molding.

But when it comes to decorating your fireplace, what do you do if your room is modern or contemporary? Sheets of mirror framing the hearth will add to the subtle design of a modern space. To get a sleek, very clean appearance, be sure the opening is flush with the mirror. Mirrors are very strong and provide enough decoration on there own. You can also decorate the surround with stone or brick. The key is to maintain a sleek, clean look that is not cluttered. Let some of the stones or brick protrude into the room farther than the rest. This creates a more interesting, designer look.

Lastly, what about fireplaces that are located in the corner? When decorating your fireplace situated in the corner, it works very well to place a TV nearby. This way the seating arrangement faces both the fireplace and the TV for maximum usage and comfort. Often times the sofa is best placed at an angle that matches the angle of the fireplace.

While a TV above the mantel works in a contemporary room and a modern room, you'll find it difficult to marry the clean, straight lines of a TV in any other style, except for a Japanese style.

Quick Links for this Issue
October's Decorating Issue 1
Fall Decorating Tips
Autumn Decorating Ideas
Choosing a Green Fireplace
Laundry Room Tips
Decorating a Porch for Fall
Some Selected Free Tips
More Free Tips
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Barbara Jennings is author of 10 decorating books: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!

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