Who can resist a fireplace? They’re both functional, keeping you toasty, and aesthetic, acting as a focal point in your living space. Whether renovating or building new, many homeowners today are opting to include a brand new fireplace or renovate an existing one. And there are just so many stylish options. We’ve rounded up our favourite fireplace ideas for your inspo—with # living spaces featuring everything from classic, traditional wood-burning fireplaces, to contemporary, eco-friendly, bio-ethanol fireboxes.
Your choice of a fireplace will depend on your budget, the level of maintenance you are prepared to put in, your aesthetic preferences and your decision regarding the most suitable fuel source. Scroll down to the end of this post for a quick rundown of the different types of fireplaces you can choose from, or you can search for a tradie who specialises in fireplace installation. But in the meantime, let’s take a look at 35 fireplace design ideas that are smokin’ hot!
1. Go for organic luxe
You can’t go wrong with a simple black fireplace juxtaposed with natural materials and tones and set against a crisp white backdrop. So-called “organic modern” is a popular contemporary look. It blends tactile natural materials into a black and white setting for a subtly elegant effect.
2. Blonde wood and terrazzo
Sometimes a masonry fireplace can seem a little cold. So choosing a wooden fireplace surround can be a good option to generate a sense of warmth even when the fire isn’t on. Here, a black fireplace contrasts beautifully with a light palette of white paint and pale timber. And the slab of terrazzo adds lovely texture.
3. Supersize it
There’s a current trend towards oversized, sculptural surrounds. Especially those using so-called ‘honest’ or authentic materials like steel, concrete and stone. Here, stacked stone creates a powerful centrepiece for this modern living room. It contrasts beautifully with the light colour palette and tactile soft furnishings.
4. Modern black with woodstack
One of the things people love about wood-fuelled fireplaces is the fact that a woodstack can become a very pleasing design feature in itself. But even if you go with a gas fireplace, you might still choose to install a woodstack purely for aesthetic purposes and to generate those cosy vibes.
5. Black with pale timber mantel
Fireplace designs can be endlessly customised. You can use a huge variety of materials for the fascia (the front piece around the firebox), surround and/or mantel. It can be as simple as adding a piece of timber to serve as a mantel and contrast with a black surround. Above it is a great place to hang artwork but consider getting some help hanging your pictures so that they are perfectly positioned.
6. White-painted stone fireplace
Stone is a traditional fireplace material and will bring instant nostalgic vibes to any setting. For a rustic or farmhouse aesthetic, giving a masonry fireplace a whitewash ensures it feels extra clean and inviting. If you love the rustic look, we have plenty more rustic living room ideas.
7. From soot to soothing
When your fireplace is not in use it can simply become the dramatic backdrop to your decor. And you can decorate your fireplace even when it’s empty, but consider having it professionally cleaned first. Side note, how gorgeous is the glass light fitting here?
8. White marble
For a striking fireplace surround with plenty of wow factor, choosing a natural stone like marble looks both modern and timeless. Consider a custom fireplace surround extends the length of the wall, making the absolute most of the beautiful stone. Minimalist glass and timber floating shelves above the fireplace can make a style statement as well.
9. Woodstack integrated fireplace design
A practical fireplace setting often incorporates an adjacent niche for storing logs. Set the fireplace against a black slate backplate and elevate it on a raised concrete hearth which can also hold pieces of fireplace decor. A storage niche will give you a nicely utilitarian, minimalist and modern design.
10. Coloured fireplaces
Fireplaces don’t need to be black—you can find them in all colours. If going for a bold coloured firebox then it might be better to choose a smaller size so you don’t overwhelm your living space with the colour.
11. Marble glam
Timeless marble is a classic material for those who love a traditional look for their fireplace. The stone brings instant sophistication and class to a living room. Add an ornate mirror to add to the elegance of the space. Then display dramatic candelabra on your mantelpiece.
12. White millwork
The fireplace is usually the focal point of a living space. And you can attract even more attention to the area with detailed wall panelling that draws the eye inwards. A bold artwork above the fireplace will also serve to further highlight the feature wall area.
13. Minimalist modern
A centralised fireplace feature wall is perfectly minimal, for those who love a streamlined modern look. Add a wood stack niche to introduce more visually pleasing forms and shapes. Downlights are a similarly minimalist element that enhances rather than competes with the light of the fire.
14. Surrounded by books
A home library nestles around a simple black fireplace in this whitewashed apartment. Intricate white millwork adds elegance and further texture to the space. Check our blog too for more living room idea inspo.
15. White modern farmhouse
For a look with nice contrast, consider a fireplace with a white surround and a smaller black firebox. It will blend harmoniously into a whitewashed palette. The less imposing look of a fireplace like this allows the fireplace décor to take centre stage. Just add an abstract artwork in complementary tones, and your favourite ceramics, vases and other artefacts.
16. Simple Scandi
A simple fireplace design can be very elegant, and really suits an Australian home with Scandi or coastal vibes. When the fireplace itself is very minimal and unadorned, enhance the space around it. Create visual interest with shelving full of lush plants, woven baskets and ceramic ornaments.
17. With concrete flooring
A freestanding stove creates a focal point in an open plan living area. Add industrial chic concrete flooring and mix with organic materials, such as timber shelving and woven baskets.
18. Ceramic bricks
Have you heard of the Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto? His chimney designs are quite inspiring, consisting of a mix of ceramic and construction blocks. There’s beautiful texture and colours, such as a palette of burnt orange and soft grey Worth checking out for inspo!
19. Modern black against heritage white
Interior designers suggest sticking to the style of your home when choosing a fireplace design. But rules are meant to be broken. Even if you have a period building, you aren’t limited to a traditional fireplace surround native to the home’s period. So go ahead and fit out a heritage home a contemporary, matte black steel fireplace.
20. Mantel and mirror
A fireplace mantel presents plenty of opportunities for playing with fireplace décor and a popular styling element is a mirror. Go for simplicity if you have an intricately carved fireplace surround. And why not get some help hanging your fireplace mirror to ensure it’s perfectly placed.
21. Japanese minimalist
For a truly dramatic centrepiece to your living room, consider a striking statement fireplace. I’m inspired by the fireplace designs of Japanese architect Uno Tomoaki. He creates raw steel, wood-burning stoves with a wonderfully strong industrial, factory-like flavour. Another one to look up for inspo!
22. Corrugated iron feature
A rustic chic living room can look stunning with an oversized, rusty corrugated iron fireplace surround. An oversized surround can also cleverly conceal any flue or chimney. Add metal chairs to complement the feature, and an animal hide rug for softness and texture.
23. Classic grey brick
If you prefer a more classic look, a traditional brick fireplace may be for you. Consider painting it a lovely pale grey. And if your fireplace doesn’t have a mantel you can always create a faux one, to increase your fireplace décor options.
24. Highlight the fireplace, not the telly
Placement of your fireplace can be tricky if it will be near a television. But you can always install TV cabinets with sliding doors to conceal the electronics. This will allow your statement fireplace to take the stage.
For a fresh and clean, bright and breezy living room, go for a streamlined fireplace column like this. Grey-veined marble cladding around the fireplace continues the use of stone in the flooring. Meanwhile timber-clad steps add warmth and contrast beautifully. For a contemporary aesthetic, environmentally-friendly and neat bio-ethanol fireplaces are perfect. And they mean you won’t have the practical hassle of dealing with wood.
26. Yellow painted
Love an avant-garde interior? Take your rustic, industrial-flavoured, neutral toned living room. And fuse it a pop of yellow paint to define the fireplace surround. Yellow is certainly an unusual colour choice for a fireplace surround but if bold colour floats your boat, go with it!
A fireplace setting is a great way to introduce shapes and angular lines into your home. A simple black box fireplace, surrounded by smaller timber boxes to store wood, has a neat minimalism.
28. White retro style
A retro-style white firebox is unusual but blends perfectly into a whitewashed interior. Then just add black accents in your lighting and other décor.
29. Metallic and dramatic
I love the modern, industrial-chic fireplaces designed by San Franciscan designer Nicole Hollis. She creates unique looks. For instance, a combo of oversized brass panels finished in silver nitrate, a black metal surround and a black tiled fireplace interior. Dramatic, moody and bold, and not for the faint-hearted!
30. Simple white
If you don’t want your fireplace to be the major focal point of the room, white is a great choice for the surround as it visually recedes into the wall. Another idea is to have a zero-clearance fireplace installed, which means it’s built in completely flush to the wall.
31. Globular fireplace
For an unusual fireplace with wow factor, look for globular, galactic style fireplaces. Suspended from the ceiling, they take up no floor or wall space and have a retro, mid-century aesthetic. You can sometimes find vintage globular fireplaces on the marketplaces. Or you could have a replica custom made.
32. Black fireplace
There’s something very satisfying about a stack of logs, and it makes a great rustic design feature, adding plenty of natural texture and pattern. If you choose a wood-burning fireplace, think about how you will incorporate your wood stack in a visually appealing way. You can keep it streamlined and neat. For example, alongside floating shelving with similarly symmetrical and repetitive elements. You might keep your logs in a metal trolley on wheels, for convenience.
33. Rendered concrete walls
I love a rendered concrete fireplace, with its dreamy, cloud-like effect. Amp up the Nordic flavours with a soft neutral colour scheme and natural, textured materials.
34. White brick fireplace
Nothing says mountain home more than a masonry fireplace. Especially one with stylised antler fireplace decor. Go for a large whitewashed brick one, maybe modernised with a poured concrete hearth. (The hearth is technically, that piece that runs along the bottom under the firebox. But people often use the words “open hearth stoves” to just mean open wood-burning fireplaces).
35. Beautiful basalt
A fireplace is naturally the ideal way to feature the amazing colours and textures of stonework in a living room. Consider dramatic basalt, or your favourite local stone, ideally reclaimed.
And that’s a wrap on my ideas for a snuggly, cosy and stylish living space with a fireplace! I really love the modern, organic, minimalist fireplace ideas, but a traditional brick or stone fireplace has a great deal of charm too. Which style of fireplace is your favourite? Let me know in the comments! And if you are looking for outdoor fireplace inspo, make sure you also check out our blog on fire pit ideas.
Choosing the right fireplace
Many people love the romance of a traditional wood-burning hearth, whether an open one or a closed, updraft stove (potbelly). But these days you can get a faux ‘dancing flames’ effect even with non-wood burning fireplaces. So it really depends on whether your want to burn wood, gas or ethanol.
Wood is just so pleasing to burn (all that mesmerising flickering, snapping and crackling), and also has the advantages of being renewable, able to be grown or cut yourself, and the ashes can even be put to use in the garden. But the downsides of wood are that it’s bulky, needs safe storage, needs to be seasoned, is messy, and requires vertical flues or chimneys that need to be regularly cleaned.
Choosing a slow combustion heater (an airtight firebox that slows down the rate of fuel combustion) rather than an open hearth is the most efficient option for wood fuel fireplaces. And even if you have an existing open hearth, you can always go with a fireplace insert to improve its heating functionality.
Gas heaters are a great option for burning cleaner fuel but still getting that ambient flickering flames appearance. They can burn natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas, and can be flued or unflued, but either way will require a well-ventilated room. Open gas models are more decorative and emit less radiant heat, but closed gas (or balanced flue) models with glass fronts are very efficient and also help maintain air quality. Unlike wood-fuelled fireplaces, flued gas models have the advantage of being able to be flued horizontally, meaning they can be used even in apartments. The disadvantages of gas heaters though are that they need more maintenance and can be dangerous if they malfunction.
Another clean-burning option is ethanol. Bio-ethanol is derived from living plants meaning it’s a renewable resource, and they need neither chimneys, flues or vents. However, you still need good room ventilation due to the production of water vapour and carbon dioxide. Many people prefer ethanol as a fuel because it creates no smoke or ash, the units can be self-installed, and they require only low maintenance. You can also convert an existing gas or wood fireplace to an ethanol one with an insert.
In all cases, the fuel is flammable, so ensure you have a fire extinguisher nearby and that you have fire alarms installed.