I love fireplaces! I was inspired to write about this topic today while incorporating a new fireplace design into a home renovation project I’ve been working on.
Nothing makes you feel more comfortable and cozy than a crackling roaring fire on a cold winter day. A fireplace instantly infuses character and charm into any room and gives the space its personality. A formal living room fireplace lets us know it’s a more mature space to relax or retire to on special occasions. The more rustic stacked stone fireplace in the family room calls for everyone to kick back, relax and nestle in for a casual family gathering. The dining room fireplace (my personal favorite) invites your friends and family to linger around the dining table for evenings filled with great food and even better conversation.
Whether it’s your living room, family room, dining room kitchen or bedroom, the fireplace is the focal point in the space and the proper furniture placement is imperative in order for you to make the most of your fireplace.
If your fireplace is centrally located within a wall and is flanked by windows or bookcases that are the same dimensions on each side, then you’re dealing with a more traditional space and personality – which speaks to a more traditional furniture placement.
- Pairs are important here. Flank a pair of comfortable and inviting chairs (or similar in size, design and proportion) on either side of the fireplace.
- Place your sofa directly facing the fireplace and you now have a comfortable conversation area.
- Situate a cocktail table, ottoman or other surface in front of the sofa.
- Dress the mantle with a mirror, art, and other accessory pairs.
- Anchor the area with a beautiful area rug and make sure to relax the formality and potential stiffness with some colorful objects and textures.
In a more energetic space with the varied details, irregular nooks and crannies the fireplace that is off-center can create a more challenging space to layout. It’s also a more interesting space to design.
- You may still be able to place the sofa directly in front of the fireplace, but if that isn’t an option, consider positioning the furniture on a rug set on a slight diagonal turn.
- Make sure that the floating furniture situated on that rug are positioned at right angles with each other. It’s all about the relationship within the grouping itself.
- For a more informal atmosphere, a more casual accessory placement above the fireplace mantle is expected.
- Just make sure there is a balancing act between all elements within this asymmetrical space.
Open Floor Plans
Many homes have great rooms or large family spaces that are open and undefined. If not designed properly they can feel unanchored as the furniture can feel unanchored in an opened multi functional space.
- Open floor plans tend to flow from one space to another so it’s more important than ever to have each space relate to each other.
- Create the furniture groupings in front and around the fireplace.
- Direct the traffic and flow around the furniture grouping rather than through the space – thereby defining the living space and accentuating the focal point.
- Keep everything clutter-free and avoid any sharp corners and obstacles,
- Incorporate durable and space defining flooring and area rugs to help designate zones to help define the space and enhance that beautiful fireplace.
Finally, remember to keep your seating casual and inviting, use forgiving fabrics which allow you to kick back and relax – and sprinkle high end comfort throughout with luxurious down pillows to sink into at the end of the day. Light the fire, grab your tea your favorite book and nestle in for the night!
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Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.