How to Decorate Your Fireplace: Real Flame Masterclass

So, you’re having a fireplace installed for your current project or own home, but you may have some conflicting ideas about how to really bring it to life.

You may be able to see how the whole room will come together, breathing life into your beautiful interior design dreams, but just where do you begin after you’ve got a new fireplace installed?

Should you decorate it, or leave it in all its minimalist glory?

When it comes to making a fireplace the focal point of an entire room, there are a few tips for making sure you don’t over-do it (or under-do it).

So, carry on reading to find out our top tips on how to decorate your fireplace.

Simple yet elegant styled bioethanol fireplace

Simple yet elegant styling of a bioethanol fire with a TV above. The striking fireplace does the job of focusing attention, so the surrounding area is left simple and chic.

What to Hang Over a Fireplace Mantel

Raymond Chandler once said that nothing looks as empty as an empty swimming pool. We’d add the wall above a fireplace to that list.

Unless the rest of your room is built around a minimalist concept, a bare wall without a chimney stack risks catching the eye for all the wrong reasons. So here are three basic ways forward:

-Decorate that mantelpiece with a single, tall ornament (or two, which adds symmetry, such as a pair of candlesticks).

-Choose a unique mural or designer wallpaper for the walls

-Hang a television, large mirror, or painting (in keeping with your room’s design).

Each of these items creates the illusion of a chimney stack, while adding texture to the space above your fireplace.

A simple yet effective piece of canvas art above a fireplace

Bio ethanol fireplace decorated with a single, yet effective, piece of canvas art above. A simple, yet eye-catching, décor decision. The added candles and trinkets add a sense of unconventional quirkiness to the area.


However, as an interior designer, you are most likely looking to break the boundaries and create a unique piece – and add further intrigue to an otherwise blank space. So here are a just a few ‘unconventional’ and chic ways to do that:

-An industrial salvage could be a cool way to spruce up your fireplace area as that empty space above your fire is the perfect opportunity to create a quirky look. Think about rummaging around vintage bric-à-brac or antique warehouses to see what you can find. If you are going for an industrial look, this could be the way to decorate your client’s fireplace.

-This is also a chance to show a rustic alternative to art or a mirror; what about a trophy of some sort? Stag heads and deer are all the rage (animal-friendly of course) and can create a really on-trend and elegant look. Think log-cabin meets British-heritage! Faux-fur pairs really well with this for the floor or draping on chairs.

– If you are going for the mirror option, this can work well as it gives the illusion of a bigger and open space. But why not opt for a statement mirror with added trim detail? Consider a big, detailed star burst, or even rope detailing for a nautical touch.

-If art is your client’s go-to hanging style, you could create a more relaxed vibe; instead of hanging it, why not lean it on the mantelpiece? This means they can swap and change when they feel inspired and you can shop around for the perfect frames to match the room’s décor. Alternatively, if you are going to hang, why just hang one piece? Why not go for the eclectic vibe and have a cluster of pieces or maybe just two opposing pieces next to each other? Think about lighting the area too with extra lighting to spotlight the art.
-While it may seem a bit out of the box, tiling the area can create a really fun and unusual aesthetic. There’s always a tile to fit any theme room – from classic to retro, a tiled pattern wall will suit any room’s design.

Whatever you do, don’t forget about the walls next to your fireplace area. Are you going to leave them blank for the ultimate dramatic focus or will you add further detail to bring focus to the entire area? Keep in mind your room’s décor and colour scheme or theme to make this decision. 

If you are going full-throttle with a retro tiling, then it may be best to choose simple pieces of art to hang on these walls.

Fireplace surrounded by ornamental pieces

Traditionally designed fire with balanced plant decorations and ornamental art pieces alongside the simple addition of candles. The surrounding walls are decorated with side tables and lighting to accentuate the area.


Decorating A Fireplace if You Have A Chimney

If you do have a chimney, then you have a golden opportunity to create an intriguing focus for the room. A chimney stack can do all the heavy interior design lifting – leaving you free to concentrate on the smaller details of the room.

What that doesn’t include is your mantelpiece. If you’re the proud owner of a chimney, there’s no reason to go filling that space with decorations that will, at best, get lost and therefore waste, and at worst, detract from a fine focal point.

Going for minimal decoration is absolutely grand – a solitary flower in a vase that complements the rest of your interior design, for instance.

Some simple ways to create an open and fresh yet stylish space include:

Add greenery – if you don’t want to create a heavy look, just add for snippets of flowers or greenery. If your brick chimney breast is doing the interior design work, you can break up the harshness with the soft fluid lines of plants. A pop of green always complements an array of designs too. An added bonus is that there’s always a particular flower or plant which will match your theme or décor decisions perfect.

Don’t decorate above – If there’s already a stunning mantelpiece area, why not focus on the walls next to it or the space below? Sometimes an intricate rug can do the job, or even a hanging light feature. Two ornaments on the floor beside the fire can also look simple yet effective.

Alternatively, you could just leave the space to speak for itself. A contemporary and stylish fire sometimes doesn’t need added decoration – especially if your client likes the minimalist look.

Either Way, No Clutter

So, you love the busy look above your fireplace. This can be a minefield – a careful balancing act to ensure that you can achieve this unique look while retaining control. The last thing you want is to create a mantelpiece that appears to have been cobbled together in a hurry.

But there are a couple of ways you can be sure to make the most out of your mantelpiece’s design:

-One method is to put everything you want on the mantelpiece, and then one by one, remove an object. Eventually you’ll hit the sweet spot that displays the objects you desire, while not looking crowded.

-Another way to achieve the perfect balance is to limit the number of objects you place upon the mantel or hang above the fireplace. Seven is a nice enough number if you’re trying this method.

-Either way, don’t let clutter and sentiment cloud your interior design judgement. A well-chosen fireplace can offer so many unique opportunities for the design of your room.

Unique area above the fireplace

Two sconces besides a simple art piece. The added ornament breaks the ’conventional’ rules and creates a unique and stylish area.


Ready to choose your stunning new fireplace design? Whether you’re looking for a contemporary bioethanol fire, a more traditional wood burning stove or a chic gas fire, the team at Real Flame can provide your ideal product to suit all your interior design ideas. Whatever your client is looking for – a minimalist or more extravagant look – we have the fire to suit it.

Get in touch with us online or call 0207 731 5025 and our experts will be delighted to advise on the best possible fireplace to suit your interior design.




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