12 fireplace ideas to update your home for the cooler months

From rustic brick designs to sleek minimalist styles, these fireplace ideas are sure to add instant coziness to any room

Modern boho living room with fireplace
(Image credit: Karine Monie)

Looking for stylish fireplace ideas? Well, it is the perfect time of year to be thinking about how to get your home ready for hibernation season. And what makes a home cozier and inviting than a fireplace?

Whether you have been blessed with a working fireplace, got a disused hole in the wall to style, or looking to add a new fireplace to your space, we've got plenty of looks to get you inspired. From elegant marble designs and new innovative contemporary styles to quick paint color ideas and mantle decor to spruce your current setup. And while fireplaces may be synonymous with living room ideas, as these spaces prove they can be just as at home in bedrooms, kitchens, and even bathrooms.

1. Choose a monochrome scheme 

All white living room with log burning stove

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Is there anything more elegant than an all-white living room scheme? While monochrome may sound blah, sticking with just one color and taking it all over walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture can be just as striking as a bold color palette – as this beautiful space proves. A dark fireplace sitting the center of the main wall would ruin the effect, breaking up the sea of white, so the simple solution was paint.

Paint is a really easy update for a fireplace and can cover a multitude of sins if you have inherited something that doesn't quite work with your style. Matching it to the walls makes it less obstructive but you still get details of the surround, just in a more subtle way. 

2. Pare back on the design for a modern country feel

Boho style living room with tiled fireplace

(Image credit: Karine Monie)

And of course, not all fireplace ideas have to be ornate and traditional. A sleek and simple fireplace can still add a heavy dose of coziness and work in a more minimalist space. In this neutral, laid-back style of living room the fireplace's simple white surround blends with the wall, providing a subtle mantle that is the ideal spot for decor. The beige tiles used for the interior of the fireplace add a warmth to the crisp white that's in keeping with the warmer neautrals used throughout the rest of the room. The overall look is modern but there's a rustic touch here too.

3. Tile the chimney breast for plenty of texture

Living room with bleu wallpaper and tiled fireplace

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Tiled chimney breasts are becoming increasingly popular, adding an unexpected texture and offering a sleeker and more versatile alternative to the more traditional brick. Plus, they are an easy and relatively quick way to update a tired fireplace facade. The looks you can create are infinite, from large slabs of marble for a chic and elegant look to something more rustic like the zellige tiles used in this living room. 

4. Keep it simple and forgo the surround

Modern rustic apartment with neutral decor and antiques in Moscow

(Image credit: Mikhail Loskutov)

Another beautifully simple fireplace that would be perfect for a more minimalist space. Traditionally, you find fireplaces at floor level but by raising it up off the ground you can actually be more flexible with where you can install a fire. See in this small bedroom, having a fire lower down wouldn't work, there's not enough space and it would barely be seen amongst the furniture. Raise it up a few inches and it becomes a focal point of the room.

5. Create a striking focal point with a black fireplace

Modern living room with colorful furniture and modern fireplace

(Image credit: Frenchie Cristogatin)

Fireplaces tend to be on the main wall of any room, meaning it's in a space your eyes tend to naturally be drawn to. So use that to make your fireplace the focal point of the room, use it to ground the space and contrast the color scheme. 

A white fireplace in this colorful living room would be lost, no matter how detailed the design, but a black fireplace even in a simple style stands out in the colorful scheme, grounding the bolder hues giving it more of a dramatic, elegant edge.

6. Go for a dramatic all-over black

Black living room with fireplace and golden mirror over fireplace

(Image credit: Future)

Take inspiration from this dramatic fireplace idea and blend the surround into inky black walls. Despite the dark shade, you can still clearly see all the details in the ornate fireplace, so you get all the textures and shapes it adds to the room but it doesn't break up the deep, striking monochrome scheme. It's a decor idea that honors the original style of the fireplace but gives it a quirky, contemporary update

7. Make use of a corner 

window seat reading corner

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Corner fireplaces that tuck neatly into an underused space are perfect for smaller rooms. They add all the warmth and coziness of a larger fireplace and can be a statement focal point of a room too. Despite often having a small footprint they are more unique in design, with two or more sides open into the room. This unusual shape means you can get creative with materials (within reason) and creating something that's far from the traditional fireplace. 

Case in point this concrete design that works so well with the industrial rustic vibe of the room. You can also find very sleek glass designs which looks almost to be suspending in the wall and totally open styles which would suit a minimalist space.  

8. Go low and long 

Modern rustic apartment with neutral decor and antiques in Moscow

(Image credit: Mikhail Loskutov)

In a more contemporary home, clutter-free fireplace designs that sit low to the ground and often stretch horizontally along the main wall are best suited if you want to maintain a minimalist aesthetic. However, lack of ornate carving doesn't mean these designs lack interest, instead, that interest comes with the texture of the materials used. Natural materials like stone and marble are not only practical choices (they are incredibly heated resistant and hard-wearing) but they add depth, subtle colors, and textures to a room.

9. Fill a disused fireplace with decor

Blue living room with navy blue sofas and lighter blue walls

(Image credit: Soho Management London Ltd)

An incredibly easy fireplace idea that can save you from staring into the dusty abyss of an empty grate. Fill the unused space with something beautiful. You often see old fireplaces filled with logs, but a more elegant alternative is to bring in greenery or disguise the unsightly hole with a beautiful vase of dried flowers as can be seen in this blue living room. It doesn't distract from the beautiful surround or the mantle decor going on above but it does add some wonderful texture and is just as pretty as a roaring fire. 

10. Add elegance with a marble fireplace

Modern white living room with original fireplace

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

Whether you are lucky enough to have inherited an original or sourcing a new one, marble fireplaces are as elegant as fireplaces come. They are a popular choice of material as they are fire-resistant and last for decades. And there are a surprising amount of colors to choose from too. You often see white marble surrounds in period properties, but you can find marble in varying shades of red, green, brown and black. And the unique veining can offer as striking or as subtle a look as desired. 

And don't be afraid to mix marbles. The deep black and brown marble of the traditional fireplace mixed with the cleaner, brighter marble of the contemporary coffee table adds all the pattern this neutral living room needs.

11. Make room for log storage

bean bag seating area reading room in michaelis boyd house

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

Logs don't just add rustic texture to a room, having a spot to store even a small amount of wood near to your fire is obviously a practical move too. Build a wood store into your fireplace design for a sleeker alternative to a log basket. Make it a key part of the design, mirroring the dimensions of the fireplace so the overall look is sleek and symmetrical. 

12. Choose a double sided design

Open plan living room with central fireplace

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Double-sided fireplaces not only add a striking centerpiece, but they are perfect for open-plan living spaces, offering warmth to both rooms but also acting as a divider between the two spaces. This design is more common in more contemporary spaces, with clean lines and modern materials like glass and concrete, but they can sit in homes of any style and era, as this Victorian apartment proves. 

How can you make a fireplace look nice?

There are plenty of creative ways to make a fireplace look nice. If you have inherited a fireplace that doesn't suit your style the easiest way to update it is with paint. If it really is hideous, paint it the same color as your walls to blend it into the background, but if its more the condition that's letting it down rather than the look, tiles can cover a multitude of sins whether you just redo the backplate or tile over the whole chimney breast.

Speaking of tiles, they are a growing trend in fireplace surrounds. Rather than just being kept to the interior of fireplaces, they are coming out onto the surround itself. Frameless fireplaces that sit flush to the wall are also a big trend, particularly in more modern, minimal spaces. Corner fireplaces and peninsula fireplaces are also becoming a popular choice as they can add coziness to an open plan space and double up as a room divider too.

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.