Your home may have a fireplace that you don’t use for various reasons. If it’s old, it’s probably also inefficient – and may even be dangerous if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while. If you’ve decided that you don’t want to use it, the fireplace doesn’t have to be an eye-sore. Here are some ideas for what to do with your inefficient fireplace while still displaying your Texas spirit.
“The empty fireplace may give you extra storage space or you can fit some small shelves and add a stack of interesting books and magazines,” says Issabel Williams at Fantastic Handyman UK, which provides a variety of home services and is part of Fantastic Services. In other words, your Texas fireplace is a great location to display your Texas Monthly, Texas Cooking, or San Antonio Business Journal magazines.
“To take this idea to the next level, paint the back wall in a bright color or use patterned wallpaper,” Wiliams suggests. And here’s a neat trick for arranging books. “You can select books by their cover and create different color combinations; arrange stacks in different directions to get a slight checkerboard effect. “
If you have kids, here’s an idea they’ll love. “Throw in some pillows and a comfy blanket (perhaps a pillow with the state flag on it or a Dallas Cowboys blanket), attach some LED light strings on the fireplace mantel for a magical touch, and add bookshelves or a basket with books,” Williams says.
Looking for a way to easily transform your Texas fireplace into a space where your kids can be creative? “Magnetic chalkboard fireplace covers are a great solution that will childproof your fireplace, but will give your kids a drawing area,” Williams says. In fact, she says you can also use the chalkboard as part of your seasonal decoration. “Or you can write inspirational quotes or draw a small burning fire and keep the mood of the fireplace, but in a more safe and creative way.”
If the fireplace is painted white outside and black inside, Williams says it can be the focal point of your room if you add some bright decorative elements:
“For that summer feeling in your home, you can decorate the empty fireplace with a bunch of white corals and big seashells,” Williams says. “Vases filled with sand and other seaside artifacts arranged on wall cubes can add even more depth to the composition.” According to Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, the best beaches in Texas for collecting seashells include Sea Shell Beach Pocket Park 3 in Galveston, Packery Channel Beaches in North Padre Island, and Surfside Beach in Brazoria County.
Another idea is to fill the frame of your Texas fireplace with a mirror. “This trick will bring extra light into the room and visually enlarge it,” Williams says. “You can do the same by fitting the mirror above the fireplace mantel.”
When you place the mirror against the back of the fireplace, it creates an illusion of extra depth. “Place an arrangement of ceramic garden spheres, an artistic sculpture or another piece of art, and the mirror will double the objects and create a beautiful illusion.” In fact, Williams explains that any group of related objects with different sizes can transform the fireplace into a stunning focal point.
Lights can keep the fireplace useful. “Arrangements of candles, LED light candles and strings or lanterns are the closest way to keep the fireplace functional,” Williams says. “Choose candles or candlesticks which are different in size to create beautiful compositions.”
Do you have a green thumb? “Arrange pots with flowers which are different in size and ones that don’t need direct sunlight,” Williams recommends. “Vases with flowers and seasonal decorations can also help you bring nature inside.”
Another option is to use the fireplace to display some of your favorite items. “Utilize the space of your empty fireplace by transforming it into a wine bottle storage, so you can easily access your favorite wines during family dinners or parties, or you can showcase your collection,” Williams says.
Have you thought about turning your Texas fireplace into an entertainment unit? You can mount your TV above the fireplace mantel, and then use the space below and turn it into an entertainment unit where you can store peripheral devices, DVDs, your favorite music or books.”
You can also use fireplace logs, even though you’re not going to light them. “Add real logs and attach strings of LED lights to create a warm feeling around this space,” Williams suggests. “If your home decor is rustic, you can enhance it by adding some silvery bark logs in the fireplace, as they have a beautiful and distinctive color and will easily blend with the rest of the room.”
Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.