All living rooms are different and, if you are approaching a new fireplace as part of a complete overhaul of the room, then designing the hearth and chimney breast from scratch affords lots of flexibility in the room. The hearth, mantel and surround of your fireplace will all have to work with the space, either being recessed into the chimney breast or protruding from it.
Nevertheless you have pretty much an unlimited number of options to choose from. Designing your own fireplace or customizing an existing design is not a specialist job. However, building one safely to a specific design is. All fireplaces need proper airflow so that noxious gases are removed from the room. Take a sketch of your design ideas to a bespoke fabricator, or builder, who can turn your plans into a heart warming reality.
In large living rooms double height mantels are very much on trend at the moment. Double height mantels give a feeling of self confidence. Standing proudly, they can be the focal point of the room, even when the fire is not in operation. Classic designs take inspiration from traditional Roman architecture. Think of columns and lintels that frame the hearth within.
If your budget is limited and you already have a fireplace in your living room, the simplest way of giving it a custom look, that will coordinate with the rest of your chosen décor, is to make a new surround. Wooden surrounds give a traditional feel, especially if the material is left in its natural color. Most carpenters or joiners can put together a surround for you that will be in keeping with your room, but which will also be a unique focal point. Stained or painted wooden surrounds also work well in living rooms with more contemporary styling, but make sure fire retardant paints are used.
A simple lintel, held in place by a pair of carved corbels, breathes new life into an existing fireplace. If you want a fireplace without a large surround, for a more minimalist look, some plain corbels with a matching lintel is all you need. They also look great when used with a wooden surround and can be incorporated into an existing surround’s design, too.
For a refreshing modern look, go for a fireplace that is surrounded by heat resistant tiles. Ceramics look great around a recessed fireplace and are quite easy to fix into place. Like other sorts of tiles, you have a huge variety of colors and finishes to choose from. This look is ideal for modern built homes and contemporarily furnished apartments.
If you are looking for a fireplace in your living room that really creates a statement then it can be worth getting a professional designer or architect involved. Fireplaces and wood burners that do not conform to the traditional square or rectangular shapes can really bring a room to life. Even in a very modern home, with central or under floor heating, there is a something to be said for a contemporary twist on a traditional fireplace that satisfies the desire for some cosiness.
If you are designing a room from scratch, consider the chimney breast and how it will integrate not only with the fireplace but with the walls as well. Stucco is a great material for brining a chimney breast forwards into a room with a softer curve. With a traditional, right angled breast, consider setting your fireplace in the corner, rather than in the middle. And decorating your chimney breast in a different tone from the rest of the room is another style option to think over.