An off-center fireplace can be a challenge for even the most savvy home decorators. Where to place furniture in the room as well as what to do with the fireplace itself can leave homeowners scratching their head, wondering what to do.
But take heart! There is hope for making an off-center fireplace work in your room. Take a look at these DIY tips to help you get some decorating ideas.
In this article:
- Arrange Furniture Around the Fireplace
- Visually Extend the Fireplace Wall
- Use Symmetry
- Decorate the Empty Space on Each Side
- Create a Second Focal Point
- Paint Your Fireplace a Neutral Color
Arrange Furniture Around the Fireplace
Whether the fireplace is in a corner of the room or off to one side, arranging furniture around the fireplace to create a conversation area is a good idea, making sure furniture is pulled away from the walls.
Mount the TV over the mantel for easy viewing and establishing a warm cozy area to relax. A sectional sofa and a couple of small chairs are a good choice. Add a rug in the middle (but not too close to the fireplace), a coffee table, side table, and lamps to create an inviting space.
Visually Extend the Fireplace Wall
Decorate with neutral colored accessories and a natural wood mantel. Using the same colors and neutral accessories keeps the theme consistent and extends the monochromatic visual across the fireplace. You can layer artwork with a large mirror and a touch of greenery in a vase to create a fresh, neutral look.
Bring attention to the fireplace by using the same accessories on both sides to create symmetry. Mirrors are a good choice to use as well as large candlesticks and vases. Symmetry can create an orderly look that can make the off-center unit look more inviting.
Another way to balance the off-center fireplace is to add identical bookshelves on both sides. Choose a size of the shelves to fit your room size – larger rooms need larger shelves. Use open shelves for a smaller space and larger custom built-ins if your space is large.
Decorate the Empty Space on Each Side
Utilize the entire space rather than just the fireplace opening as a focal point. For example, if the firebox is on one end of the fireplace and the hearth extends along the wall, use pillows to create a comfortable sitting area. Hanging a large painting can add a pop of color and add interest to the space.
Another idea is to install a longer mantel that extends across the entire length of the fireplace. Visually extending the space by allowing the mantel to go from end to end tricks the eye into seeing a more cohesive space that looks like a continuous line rather than chopped up in parts.
If your fireplace has a built-in log holder, use it to your advantage. Fill the space with real wood to create an interesting visual. Then place a decorative tool set and baskets filled with pine cones or fire-starter wood near the opening.
Create a Second Focal Point
To create balance for an off-center fireplace, consider creating a second focal point in the room. Dividing the room into “zones” can help divide the space and create more than one focal point.
Arrange a sectional sofa around the fireplace with an open end. Mount the TV in the opposite space with a few comfortable chairs and ottomans creating a cozy sitting area.
Another idea is to place a desk along the back of the sofa and create an office area. If you don’t need a work area, place a table behind the sofa to use as a game table.
Paint Your Fireplace a Neutral Color
Red, dark brown, or speckled brick stands out and begs for attention. Painting your off-center fireplace and surrounding walls with a solid light color paint such as beige, light gray ivory or off-white can help it blend in with the rest of the space.
Three ways to paint an off-center fireplace to help it blend in effortlessly with the rest of the room is to either paint it a solid color using latex paint, use the Brick-Anew paint kit to get a lighter “real brick” look, or apply a whitewash to tone down the original brick color.
Before any type of painting, you need to clean your brick or stone to remove any dust, dirt, soot or grime from the area. Lay down a drop cloth in front of the fireplace to protect wood floors or carpeting.
Sweep out the firebox and use a dustpan to dispose of any debris left over from previous fires. Use a small brush broom to sweep off the brick to remove any loose mortar.
Next, fill a bucket with soapy water. Use a scrub brush to clean the brick. Don’t worry about any stains that won’t come off easily since the paint will cover them. Rinse the area and let it dry.
If your fireplace has been previously painted, you will need to determine if it has oil-based or flat paint. If the paint is flat, you can paint right over the painted surface. If there’s oil-based or semi-gloss paint, you’ll need to lightly sand to rough up the surface before painting.
Note: **You will not be able to whitewash your fireplace if it’s been previously painted. But you will be able to paint a solid color or use the Brick-Anew paint system.
Painting a Solid Color
If you decide that painting your wall and fireplace a solid color is right for you, choose a light neutral color. Light gray, tan, or a creamy shade of white are good choices to make your room light and bright. Use a brush to apply the latex paint.
Brick-Anew Paint Kit
Brick-Anew is a fireplace remodeling system that gives the look of real brick. You can choose from 3 color choices. Each color comes with several shades of paint that when applied together mimics the look of real brick. A tool kit comes with the paint so you have all the materials you need for your project.
The 3 color kits are:
Misty Harbor – light gray, tan, ivory
Twilight Taupe – light taupe, tan, off-white
Frosted Sunshine – tan, dark gray, yellowish cream
Paint your fireplace brick using the kit and following the video and written instructions provided. Then paint your wall a light complementary color.
Whitewashing involves taking a light colored latex paint and mixing with water in a 50:50 ratio. The most common color of choice for this technique is using a shade of white.
Use a brush to apply the thin, watery mixture over all your brick. Take an old rag and use it to wipe off excess paint until you get the look you want. You can always add more paint and wipe off again to get a different look. This technique can be very messy, so be sure to have some old towels handy for spills and clean up.
How do you arrange furniture when a fireplace is not centered?
This is a common problem. When designing with an off-center fireplace, furniture placement is key to creating the illusion of symmetry. The décor should appear centered around the fireplace, which can be made up for by décor on either side of it that mirrors each other.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
The left-hand side of the room is mirrored in the right with a fireplace and corresponding décor.
Center furniture over the fireplace and add asymmetrical pieces. This creates an unbalanced look that makes your eye want to be drawn to the center of the room where there is no focal point – not ideal.
A symmetrically arranged set-up. The fireplace becomes the true focal point and the symmetry of the room is balanced and attractive. Use this layout for a more formal living room décor, like in an English manor house or Victorian mansion.
If you want to create an arrangement that highlights your fireplace, avoid using symmetrical arrangements and instead opt for a more asymmetrical design. Placing your couch, coffee table and chairs to one side of the fireplace with a corresponding chaise on the other will create depth in your room, as well as balance out an off-center arrangement.
Does furniture have to be centered around fireplace?
No. It is very common to place furniture off-center in front of a fireplace, with an accent table or plant on each side. This gives the focal point of interest off center, which adds interest and depth to your room design.
Should a fireplace be in the Centre of a room?
Ideally yes. The focal point of a room is where all the other furniture and décor should lead your eye.
What do I do if my fireplace is off center?
You could turn it into a decorative element by placing an accent table on either side. You can work with the off-center focal point or you can choose to arrange your furniture symmetrically around it, but this is all up to personal taste and design preference.
If you have an off-center fireplace and you’ve been racking your brain wondering what to do with it, hopefully, now you have some ideas to help it work with the rest of your room.
Whether you choose to purchase a new mantel, some on-trend accessories, or a lighter shade of paint to remodel the brick, the goal is to create a relaxing space that you, your family and friends can enjoy.