We all love a room with a view but at this time of year especially, I think it’s natural to turn our attentions indoors. For me that means focusing on interiors, making the most of your home and particularly the hearth.
Regardless of your space, a fireplace can become the real focus point of your room and a chance to create a changing seasonal display, depending on your levels of faffery! And let’s not mention the C-word just yet but you know what I’m getting at. Like many, I’m really drawn to rooms with a fireplace. We always used to have real fires when I was growing up so maybe it stems from that but whether or not you have an antique Victorian fireplace, a retro seventies brick surround or just a square hole in the middle of a chimney breast, you can make the most of it.
Don’t have a fire (real or otherwise)? Then cluster some pillar candles in the vacant space or bling it up with fairy lights and glass vases. And if you’re really missing a mantelpiece then create your own with a salvaged piece of wood or repurposed shelf. However, if you’ve set your heart on a statement hearth, you might want to consider sourcing an original surround for that real wow-factor. Westland London’s Victorian Fireplaces has some beautiful examples, worth the investment. And if you’re not sure one of these will work with a modern-style interior, think again.
Here are a few of my favourite examples and ways to style them.
MIRROR MIRROR, ON THE WALL
It’s one of the classic ways to decorate a chimney breast but it doesn’t have to be boring. Mounting a mirror above the fireplace (or securely leaning one on the mantelpiece) works by bouncing light back into the room and making it feel lighter and larger. But when it comes to style, I think anything goes, especially if you have a mix of old and new in the room scheme as well. The antique nature of the mirror and fireplace below works well against the modern dark wall colour and the range of modern/retro furniture. image via A Beautiful Mess
CREATE A COSY READING NOOK
It’s tempting to fill alcoves either side of a chimney breast with shelving, books and objet d’art (and I’m all for this) but I also think it’s nice to place a chair beside the fire to create a cosy reading nook (instead of just shoving another TV in there). Source a lovely second hand chair from eBay or freecycle or invest in something new and special. We recently bought a couple of these chairs from Ikea to go in our back room to create just this kind of effect. I also love the range at Oliver Bonas right now. Add a cool lamp, a side table, blankets, magazine rack or storage baskets and you have everything you need.
JUST ADD ART
Propped up on the mantelpiece or mounted on the chimney breast, this is the obvious focal point for some nice prints or original art, depending on your budget. I like the idea of collecting little one-off postcards or small thrifted postcards that can be grouped together on a mantelpiece. Alternatively, go for more of a style declaration. We recently chose some prints from Desenio, which I love and there’s a huge range at really affordable prices.
ADD FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE
I still believe that one of the best and cheapest ways to style up any room or surface is with plants or flowers (bought or foraged). Just a couple of decent hydrangea heads can look gorgeous because they retain the most beautiful colours as they dry and last for ages. Look out for small cheap glass vases or repurpose clear jars and bottles. Eucalyptus, pussy willow and red berries all look stunning in a larger vase too or gather some twigs and paint/decorate.
image via Apartment Therapy
MAKE IT PERSONAL
Whatever you decide to do, I think you should include something personal as mantelpieces were made for the accumulation of knick-knacks and ephemera. I always enjoy studying someone’s shelves when I visit their house as I think it’s the little things that often tell you more about a person (and I’m nosy). Make it personal with something treasured, initialled, a special photograph (I love silly photo booth strips), an old toy or favourite vinyl record cover.
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