Tan France Calls This Stately Fireplace Accessory the "Perfect Jewelry" to Finish Off his Living Room

Club fenders are a classic feature in British stately homes, and they're an excellent way to make a living space feel both luxurious and convivial

A headshot of Tan France smiling at the camera
(Image credit: Alamy)

Tan France is a style icon of the highest order. The Queer Eye star might be best known for his impeccable fashion taste, but he also knows a thing or two about creating aesthetically pleasing interiors that immediately catch the eye. His newly built Salt Lake City home is - of course - no exception. Known for blending styles from both his British and Pakistani heritage, Tan is an expert at honoring traditional design ideas while still giving them a contemporary egde, and a recent glimpse of his living room offers the perfect example.

Taking to Instagram to show off his impressive fireplace, complete with a large mantelpiece and a beautiful herringbone brick arrangement, an unusual piece of decor caught our eye. It's an accessory that Tan calls the 'perfect jewelry' for his living room, and it gives his space an elegantly luxurious look, yet a cozy, convivial feel. The accessory in question? A club fender. Here, we asked designers if this touch of British tradition could be the next big interior design trend to grace our homes.

A fireplace with a white mantel and a brass club fender with blue patterned upholstery

(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow)

Out-of-season though they may be, lighting a fireplace will never be out of fashion. There's nothing quite as comforting as gathering around its warm glow with your family and, even when they're not in use, a statement fireplace and mantel can make a wonderful focal point in your living room.

To really elevate your hearth, however, a club fender could be the answer. A type of fire surround, club fenders come with a low metal frame topped with a cushioned fabric panel to sit on to amp up the coziness. 'They're mainly seen in formal, elegant hotels with fireplaces, in private member clubs, or in private stately homes,' explains luxury interior designer Isabel Jackson of Cheltenham Interiors. 'Originating in 19th-century Britain, they provided warm seats with their upholstered or tufted leather panels placed around the fireplace.'

A lover of all things stately and high-end, it's unsurprising that Tan has chosen a club fender for his living room fireplace. With a glimmering brass base and studded leather upholstery, it makes his hearth look oh-so inviting. 'I thought it was the perfect way to finish off this mantelpiece, as our house is kind of British inspired,' he says in his Instagram reel. 'I know it seems odd, but it's the perfect jewelry to finish off this look.'

A fireplace with a stone mantel, a gilt mirror, and a brass club fender

(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow / Photography: Jonathan Bond )

Against the backdrop of Tan's striped wallpaper, golden sconces, and framed TV displaying a landscape painting, his club fender really helps convey a sense of quiet luxury. 'This unique masterpiece of traditional interior design stands out for its timeless elegance and sophistication,' notes Isabel, adding that club fenders aren't just decorative, but practical, too. 'Functionally, they provide additional seating around the fireplace, allowing occupants to gather around the hearth and enjoy its warmth and glow. This creates a sense of coziness and friendliness, making the room feel more inviting and conducive to relaxation and socializing.'

Designer Nina Lichtenstein agrees. 'Club fenders are particularly well-suited for interior styles that embrace classic elegance and traditional aesthetics,' she says. 'They perfectly complement spaces inspired by English country homes, Georgian or Victorian interiors, and timeless English or traditional American design. The understated elegance of club fenders harmonizes beautifully with rich wood paneling, plush upholstery, and antique furniture, creating a warm and inviting ambiance.'

With traditional designs proving increasingly popular, will we likely see these fireplace accessories cropping up across interiors by the fall? Nina seems to think so, citing their timeless appeal that transcends trends. 'When integrated thoughtfully into contemporary interiors, club fenders can infuse a space with character and history, creating a striking juxtaposition of old and new,' she explains. 'To ensure club fenders feel relevant in modern designs, consider incorporating them into eclectic or transitional spaces. Pair a classic club fender with sleek, modern furnishings or minimalist décor to achieve a balanced blend of vintage charm and contemporary style.'

A fireplace with a soft pink mantel and a brass club fender with green leather upholstery

(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow / Photography: Owen Gale)

When it comes to styling one in your own home, a classic, sophisticated design style isn't a prerequisite. Like the design above by Barlow & Barlow you can opt for a more modern take with pops of pastel tones and minimal decor while still nodding to a traditional feel with accompanying paneling.

On that note, Isabel is keen to point out that club fenders are not limited to one specific interior style per se, but they do belong in the traditional or transitional contexts where both traditional and modern pieces coexist. 'They belong in the historical context and therefore cannot work in a modern room unless they are the elongated stone slab version,' she says.

These classic accessories are a great way to achieve a fireplace makeover, and you can pair them with other accents in your living room for a harmonious look. Think studded leather sofas alongside a leather club fender seat, or custom patterned fabric to match a chair or throw pillows.

'Whether adorning a traditional English study or anchoring a contemporary living room, club fenders add depth, character, and nostalgia to any space,' notes Nina. 'With thoughtful integration and creative vision, club fenders continue to captivate and inspire, proving that classic design elements never go out of style.'

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Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.