how to decorate a fireplace

Read on for 10 great ideas for how to decorate a fireplace in an NYC apartment — whether it works or not. (Getty Images)

A fireplace is a rare opportunity in NYC, and one that’s ripe for design potential — especially since it’s most often the centerpiece of a room. The question is how to decorate it? Whether you are lucky enough to have a real working fireplace, the vintage, bricked-up remnants of a former one, or even a just-for-show ornamental version, here are 10 of our favorite ideas to make it the fireplace of your dreams. 

1. Pile on the Logs

The most traditional fireplace decor look never goes out of style. An artful pile of logs in the fireplace will instantly cozy up any room, making it feel rustic and homey. The real thing always makes a big impact, but even fake logs work well: We’re fans of these festive tealight-studded ones.

2. Light It Up

Just because your fireplace hasn’t been functional in decades doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some warmth and light emanating from it. White pillar candles staggered in different heights make an elegant statement inside a fireplace grate. If you’re worried about using real flames, you can always go the LED route.

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3. Stack Books Inside

If shelf space is at a premium, as it so often is in NYC apartments, a clean fireplace can make a great resting spot for all your favorite tomes. Choose books with interesting and colorful spines for a more dynamic look.

4. Install a Fireplace Screen

A screen is a practical addition to any working fireplace, but even if yours is purely decorative, a good-looking screen is an easy way to spice up your space. This gold-frame screen with a subtle chevron pattern has a charmingly vintage appeal. 

5. Display a Mirror or Painting

Hanging a mirror or a framed artwork above a mantel is par for the course, but why not lean it inside your fireplace instead? It’s a unique way to show off pieces you don’t necessarily have the wall space for, it’s easy to swap out whenever the whim strikes, and it looks effortlessly cool.

6. Go Green

A fireplace can be a showcase for your green thumb: Use the space inside to house a leafy plant collection, line the mantel with colorful bud vases or display a vase overflowing with dramatic blooms and branches. 

7. Paint It

Update your fireplace surround, even if it’s brick, with a fresh coat of paint. White will create an airy, minimalist vibe, dark will feel moody and dramatic, while a bold hue will really make it pop.

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8. Change Up the Tiles

If you’re not a fan of the existing tile surround, you can easily change the look without a commitment by using peel-and-stick tiles. You can also try removable contact paper for a refreshed feel.

9. Store Your Booze

Have a little fun by turning your fireplace into a bar! Storing your liquor or wine collection inside frees up space elsewhere and looks great, especially if you stack the bottles in a stylish rack.  

10. Add a Mantel

Last but not least, if your fireplace doesn’t come with a mantel, don’t fret. You can easily purchase one of almost any type, whether decorative or straightforward, adding super style — and a whole new shelf to decorate!

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