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The Foolproof Ways To Style A Non Functional Fireplace (For Under $30)

Photo: Yahoo!

A fireplace is a coveted feature and focal point in any room. But if your fireplace isn’t functional (or serving the purpose of keeping you warm), there are some easy ways to give it a whole lot more visual appeal. With a few quick additions, you can turn empty area into an opportunity – and bring in some interest, showcase an object, or even warm things up (figuratively, of coure). 

Plenty of older homes have fireplaces and mantels that haven’t been functional for quite some time. But instead of letting them sit empty (and literally collect dust), take the opportunity to give an unused hearth a whole new purpose: as a spot to display some very stylish objects. So let us show you some of our very best ideas for making that fireplace a lot more exciting.

Keep scrolling to see 5 foolproof ideas for your non -functional fireplace – all for under $25!



Want even more styling tips? Check out The Dos And Dont’s Of Styling Bookshelves: Bobby’s 4 Easy Tips and The 4 Styling Items You Never Knew You Needed (But Won’t Be Able To Live Without).



Photo: Amy Bartlam
Design: Brady Tolbert

Create A Collection Of Candles

Sure, your fireplace isn’t generating actual heat, but it can still warm things up! A cluster of pillar candles will add instant appeal – and some real ambiance when you light ’em up. Stick to a larger grouping of the same color and style of candles for maximum impact, and try varying the candle height for a more pleasing arrangement. (You can also use a small piece of wood as a riser to elevate candles in the rear). 



Flameless candles
are an easy (and kid-friendly) way to add a warm glow – without any dripping wax or worrying about setting off the smoke alarms.



Photo: Yahoo!

Layer In Some Logs

While they might not be crackling over a flame, logs can still be an ideal companion to your non-functional fireplace. The natural texture and tone of wood contrasts nicely with painted brick or stucco – and further draws your eye toward this focal point. Try a modern approach by filling the entire hearth with logs stacked on their side (you may have to cut down depending on your depth), or go classic with a pyramid-shaped bundle tied with twine.



Instead of stacking logs, you can also fake it – with an easy, DIY wood screen. CLICK HERE for all the details.


Make Room For Books

Have a few extra paperbacks spilling off your shelf or a box of novels you have no room for? Give them a new lease on life as a decorative filler for your fireplace. Alternate stacks of books vertically and horizontally (with spines facing in) to create a focal point that also gives the phrase  “burn after reading” a whole new meaning.




Want to see even more unique ideas to incorporate books into your decor? Check out BiblioStyle: How We Live A Home With Books for lots of inspiring spaces.




Place A Plethora Of Plants

We usually associate a fireplace with the red and orange tones of a flame. But for your nonfunctional fireplace, you should be thinking green. A grouping of a few potted plants will add a whole lot of life when perched in your fireplace. One large plant (Like a fern or philodendron) can comfortably fill up the space, or go for a grouping of 3 to 5 different varieties -in different sizes – for an abundance of foliage.



Mixing real plants with their faux alternatives is a great way to create a larger grouping- without all the upkeep.



Design: Calimia Home

Bring In A Basket

Bringing in natural materials and texture can turn even the most basic of fireplaces into a real stand-out feature. And a beautiful basket is a great way to do just that. The woven appearance won’t just look great against smooth stone or plaster: it will also serve double duty as a stylish (and convenient) spot to store toys, blankets, or magazines. Just be sure to choose a size that fills the fireplace, or try a trio of different scales.



A woven hamper with a lid can also be a perfect fit for larger fireplaces, plus it also allows you to store items totally out of sight.


  1. Would you do an article on converting the lower level of a bi-level home into a large art workspace? I am a sculptor/jeweler and am trying to make the space inviting, clean, safe and functional. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I will keep it in mind for a future article. xx -B

  2. If the brick fireplace surround has an interesting Deco pattern across the top, would you still paint it all one color, and how do you decide whether white or black? There will be a black TV over it.

    1. I would still paint it, yes. The color you choose depends on whether you want the fireplace to stand out or recede in the room. A white fireplace is going to blend in more (depending on your wall color), while black will create more of a focal point in the space. xx- B