If you’ve got a fireplace that doesn’t work, you might not realize that you can still make plenty of use out of it still. A fireplace doesn’t have to be a spot for a roaring fire, it can be its own artistic installation or visually-appealing centerpiece for your room.
There are plenty of different ways that you stylise the empty space where the fire used to go, as well as customize the border that goes around it.
Whatever your tastes are, we’ve got twenty fresh ideas for redecorating and repurposing your empty fireplace (see also ‘Faux Fireplace Ideas‘). Read on!
Empty Fireplace Ideas
1. Painting It
This may be one of the simpler ways to redecorate your empty fireplace, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t totally transform it. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the whole fireplace, the hole and the border, can really revitalize it – as well as benefit your room as a whole.
If you have a specific design and color scheme that you’ve used in the same room, then this can be a chance to make the fireplace complement its surroundings.
On top of that, if you’ve got a favorite color, painting your empty fireplace in it can really draw your eye towards it, as well as brighten up your day.
There is also a chance that if your fireplace has been empty and disused for a while, its own paint has probably started peeling.
Unless your room has a rustic feeling anyway, you probably don’t want your fireplace to look run down and a new coat of paint will help to make it a centerpiece of the room again.
A statement screen does exactly that – it makes a statement. If you’ve never heard of them before, they’re screens that have exciting and interesting patterns on them, and are especially common in gardens.
You can get one for your empty fireplace, too. These can be particularly handy because they actually cover up the empty section where the fire would normally be, which will make it look less out of place and awkward.
On top of that, there’s plenty of customization that you can have. Statement screens, also known as decorative screens, come in a whole host of designs and colors.
Whether you want something imposing and dark, or a light-colored pattern that swirls, you can buy a screen that will suit both your tastes and the mood of the room.
There’s a hint of irony with this idea, which comes full-circle back to the topics of fire. Though you may not actually have a fire to stoke with the wood, you can decoratively store a pile of logs in the empty space where your fire used to burn.
It may never have occurred to you, but there is a great design to natural wooden logs.
With the unique circles and wood grain that each of them have, a whole pile of logs of all different sizes can be very visually striking. The mixture of light and dark shades also adds depth to it.
Additionally, if your surrounding fireplace and walls are a pale color like white then the shades of the wood will contrast very nicely with them – making them “pop”.
Instead of filling the empty spaces in your fireplace, you can fill it with books instead. This is quite fitting, since paper comes from wood anyway.
As for how you store them, you’ve got options. One way that you can go is to simply pile the books up, filling the space with as many stacks as you can fit.
Interestingly, this is a case where the messier can actually be better, because it adds real character to the fireplace if you’ve got varying piles of books going in all different directions.
However, if your empty fireplace is quite a lot bigger, you can think about installing some actual shelves inside the space.
They obviously won’t be as large as your typical bookshelves, but you’ll be able to neatly store a good amount of books inside. If you want something tidier, this is a good method to take.
Very similar to filling your empty fireplace with books, you can also fill it up with magazines – or even a combination of the two.
If you’ve got plenty of magazines lying around, or overflowing on your coffee table, you can pile some of them up inside the fireplace.
Whenever you have guests over, they can always reach in and pick out a magazine, which is certainly more thrilling than taking one from the table.
This is also a great way to use old magazines that you don’t want anymore. If you’ve got any on their way to recycling, you can put them inside the empty fireplace instead. Even if they’re a bit worn down, it will add to the charm and style of the fireplace, giving it character.
This is going to take slightly more effort, being quite similar to adding a bookshelf within the empty fireplace.
If you’ve got lots of bottles of wine lying around the place, and you don’t have anywhere to store them, then the disused fireplace is a great place to store them.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do too much assembling either if you don’t want to. You can buy pre-assembled wine racks, which just slot right into the space – provided you’ve measured it beforehand and bought a rack that will fit.
On the other hand, if you’re quite good at DIY then you can always assemble the rack yourself.
This will make it easier for you to have one that fits the empty hole perfectly, because the construction is all up to you. Either way, your wine rack fireplace is going to be a conversation piece whenever you have a dinner party.
Another idea for your empty fireplace is that of adding an arrangement of flowers to it, either nestled in the empty space where the fire used to burn, or sitting just outside it on the hearth.
Additionally, you can even put some smaller arrangements on top of the fireplace shelf.
Every living room could do with some flowers, because they brighten up the place, as well as give it a delightful scent in some cases.
When there’s an empty fireplace going to waste, where better to put the flowers? It’ll lighten up the disused space, adding desperately needed color and life to it.
If you don’t want the pressure of keeping the flowers alive, there are of course fake flowers that you can buy. Many of these can look especially real now, but you won’t have the benefit of the aroma of living, real flowers.
With that being said, you won’t have to cater to them and your empty fireplace will be revitalized indefinitely.
It doesn’t have to be typical flower arrangements, either. Instead, you can add enormous fern leaves inside the fireplace hole. It might seem an odd idea, but they look particularly spectacular since they appear as if they’re spilling out of the space, all green and large.
Of course, if size isn’t your thing, you can instead fill the space with lots of small pots of flowers. This will certainly allow you to get all kinds of different varieties and colors, all complementing each other to create a full and vibrant display.
Really, it’s all up to you. Any arrangement of flowers will bring life to the empty fireplace, simply make sure that whatever you pick fits in with the overall style of the room.
Just because your fireplace doesn’t work with a fire anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t fill it with flames.
A great way to customize your empty fireplace is to place candles inside and around it, lighting them up every evening and drawing attention to the fireplace as it softly glows in the center of your room.
Of course, you can choose what size candles you get, but we would recommend having a variety.
If you have an arrangement of both small and large candles, you can set them out so that they give a sense of depth with their light. Like filling your empty fireplace with plants of different sizes, this has the same effect.
You can also change what types of candles you have, to give further character to the fireplace. Some might be thick pillar candles, while others might sit in containers or little dishes, perfect for catching any dripped wax (that’s something to catch in mind).
You can even put some scented candles in there, so that your fireplace takes on a pleasant aroma that spreads to the rest of the room. Additionally, you could put the candles inside lanterns, just to make the display stand out even more.
Whatever you pick, there’s plenty of ways to decorate your fireplace with different candles, giving it a glow like the one it used to have when there was a working fire inside it.
On a similar note, you can add string lights inside and around your empty fireplace.
If your fireplace has a border and a mantel, you can arrange string lights around it. The benefit of string lights is that you get to spread the light out over a long distance, with lots of little individual lights all arranged where you want them.
Using something to safely weigh it down, or simply properly attaching it to the fireplace, you can arrange the string around the border – tracing its shape with light.
Alternatively, or additionally if you want, you can also add string lights inside the empty space where the fire used to sit. It would be difficult to just leave them in a clump, not to mention it looking bad, so you have to get creative.
For example, you can buy lanterns and jars that you can then artfully arrange the string lights inside. This makes them look even more appealing. Once you’ve done that, simply arrange the containers in a fancy pattern, and enjoy.
String lights come in many varieties and sizes, too. You might have used some fairy lights before, and those individual lights are as small as you would expect from their name.
On the other end of the spectrum, you can get string lights that have regular bulbs hanging off them – the kind you’d have hanging from your ceiling.
If you want to be especially resourceful and creative, you can get out your Christmas tree lights and use those with the empty fireplace. After all, they’re only sued for a brief period every year – why not put them to use the rest of the time?
Just remember to be safe, whatever lights you use. You don’t want your lights to be piled up too much, or getting too hot.
It may be the case that you want your empty fireplace to look like it’s still in use, even when it isn’t. To do this, you can add a black or solid screen to the front where the hole is.
Like the statement screens we mentioned earlier, this has the slightly different purpose of purely obstructing the view of the hole.
With one of these in place, guests will just assume that your fireplace is still in working condition – just that it’s not being used right now.
On the topic of faking things, you may not know that you can buy fake fireplace logs which light up and glow. These work like lamps, only they’re shaped to look like a stack of firewood, or in some cases a brazier with a flickering flame shape coming out of it.
The benefits of these are pretty notable. For one, it saves you a lot of money. If you actually had a working fire, then you would have to regularly stock it with new wood.
Secondly, it saves you a lot of effort. Perhaps you would enjoy regularly bending down to light a fire, but some other people might enjoy the lack of effort that comes from these fake fires – all you have to do is turn it on and off.
On top of that, it’s also a lot safer. Since you aren’t dealing with real fire and flames, there’s no chance of things getting out of control, or somebody getting too close to the flames and getting injured.
However, there is obviously a downside, and that’s the fact that it won’t always look real. Anybody who goes up close to it will be able to soon tell that the fireplace is fake. With that being said, it adds to the charm of it.
There’s a certain fun, kitsch quality to having such a visibly fake fire inside a real fireplace – it’s certain to get a good reaction out of any guests you have round.
These are similar to the fake fires, but a bit different.
To put it simply, electric fireplaces are electrical heaters that are made to look like they are burning wood.
They’re actually quite convincing at times, depending on the quality and how clear the screen in front of them is, and can be a good way to dress up your empty fireplace.
Some electrical ones will have little simulated sets of logs inside, occasionally mixed with small crystals.
A big benefit is that you can customize it a lot more easily than a real fire. With these, you are able to adjust the temperature whenever you want.
On top of that, you can even set them to a timer, making sure that they turn themselves off at a certain time. Some will even allow you to change the colors of the flames, altering it to suit whatever mood you’re in at that moment.
All of this can be done via a remote control, which is a lot easier than manually lighting and tending to a fire.
Unfortunately, though, these are only going to fit so well into an empty fireplace.
If you’ve got a large and wide one, then you will likely be able to find a good electrical fireplace that can fit inside. For smaller fireplaces, you’ll have to search for small versions.
A great way to make extra use of your empty fireplace is to put storage units inside it. By this we mean furniture such as chests of drawers or little storage chests.
With these neatly tucked inside the empty fireplace, you can safely store plenty of objects in a way that you may not otherwise be able to.
On top of that, it gives you some privacy in what you store. This isn’t like having a bookshelf in the empty fireplace, where every object is clearly on display. With a storage unit inside the fireplace, your objects will not only be stored, but be stored privately.
Another benefit is that you’ll be able to quickly access your objects. Depending on the room that your empty fireplace is located in, there are certain objects you will want to be able to access quickly.
For example, if your fireplace is your living room, then you might want to store things like television remote controls or spare batteries inside the storage unit.
Moving away from the topic of fake fires, re-tiling your empty fireplace can be a great way to spruce it up.
As you will know, there are tiles available of practically every color and pattern that you could imagine. The trick to re-tiling your fireplace successfully is to pick a color and design that will complement the room around it.
For example, if you have a green wallpaper nearby that has rectangular patterns on it, you might want to find a tile that looks similar to it, allowing the fireplace to blend into the room.
Of course, the opposite can really work too. By that, we mean selecting new tiles that will contrast the room around them. For example, you may have dark blue wallpaper in your room.
To contrast this in a striking way, you could pick out bright cream colored tiles, or tiles of a pure white. This will stick out when next to the dark shades of the wall, drawing eyes to your fireplace. Even if it’s empty, it can still look good.
Additionally, you can re-tile your empty fireplace while still using other methods on this list – you obviously don’t have to stop at the tiling.
The space will still be empty, so you can fill it with some plants, books, lights, or so on. Just make sure not to entirely cover up your new tiles.
Another great way to make your empty fireplace more exciting is to fill it with some beautiful artwork.
For example, you can rest some framed paintings inside the fireplace. Whether it’s pictures you’ve bought or perhaps even paintings you or your family have made, then displaying them inside the empty fireplace puts them on full display.
You might find that less is more when it comes to the artwork, because filling it with too many paintings might detract attention away from them individually.
In addition to paintings, you can put pieces of pottery inside the fireplace, alongside your framed artwork.
Whether its little vases, pots, or even statuettes, arranging some pottery inside your empty fireplace can really bring it to life. On top of that, if you have a mantel, you can sit some pottery on top of that too.
Just like you can use your empty fireplace to display paintings, you can also put framed photographs inside it too.
Whether you’ve got some photos of yourself, or perhaps a picture of the whole family, displaying them inside your empty fireplace is a great way to put them on show while also making use of an otherwise unused area.
17. Similar Decor
If you’ve got a theme going on in your house, or a theme for the room where your empty fireplace is, then you can use it as a chance to add to the overall decor.
For example, if you’ve got a countryside feeling going on, you might have some rustic wooden panels in the room, or a wicker basket or two.
Extend this theme to the empty fireplace, adding wooden, country-type decorations into the space and on top of the mantelpiece. Similarly, if you have a seaside theme going on, you can put some starfish or pebbles inside the gap.
An empty fireplace is a chance for both extra storage and interesting decoration. One way to make use of the disused space is to put a small accent chair inside the fireplace hole, providing the area is large enough.
Obviously, people won’t be sitting on it inside the fireplace, but it can be removed for use whenever it is needed.
For example, you might be having a dinner party where everybody has gathered around the couches by the empty fireplace. If there isn’t room for one guest, though, you can fetch the chair from the empty fireplace and set it out for them.
And when it isn’t in use? The chair will sit neatly inside the fireplace, looking decorative and eye-catching.
When we mentioned painting the empty fireplace at the start of this article, we didn’t touch on the idea of doing it all in one color – and by “all”, we mean the border and mantel too.
Of course, that may have been the way you would have done it, but if it wasn’t then it’s worth keeping the idea in mind.
By painting the fireplace all one color, it helps to give it a greater presence, like it’s a block of a singular shade. In a way, it all blends into itself, which makes it very very clean and light – especially if you’ve done it all in a light color like white.
However, just as painting it all white can make it feel very airy, painting it all black will give it – and your room – a very different feel. Painting it such a dark color will make it stand out, striking anyone who comes in the room.
On top of that, dark colors like black can be very useful for covering up things. For example, if the interior of your fireplace is brick and this clashes with the theme of your room, then painting it black will help it fade away.
An empty fireplace doesn’t have to be a waste of space. Instead, there are countless different ways in which you can decorate or fill it, personalizing it to your tastes and the appearance of the room that it’s in – use our guide for inspiration.