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How To Arrange Furniture Around A Fireplace

By Lawrence Macmillan August 15, 2021

Fireplaces are both functional and attractive, so we all want to incorporate them properly into our living room design. The furniture should be kept close enough to the fireplace that you can feel the warmth, but far enough away not to block the heat. Depending on how you arrange the room, fireplaces can be central design features, or a simple addition of ambience.

Before you start rearranging furniture, there’s one key decision that needs to be made. Is the fireplace going to be the main feature, or will the room focus on something else? While many people choose to have the fireplace at the center, others prefer to reserve this place for the television (or a different feature).

Fireplaces can be incredibly beautiful designs, and there are many reasons why it makes the perfect focal point. Especially if you use the fireplace regularly, it should be easy to view and quick to access. The furniture should be arranged in a way that draws focus and opens up conversation.

Use smaller sofas placed either side of the fireplace, facing each other

This arrangement is perfect for those who want to create a space for conversation. With the fireplace in the center of a clear line, it becomes the primary focus that draws the eye of any guest. However, when conversation starts, the fireplace fades to a background ambience. Perfect for smaller rooms, or large rooms that can be divided into spaces.

Floating furniture, facing towards the fireplace

Smaller chairs allow the space to be filled without closing the room off. Using several single and two-seater sofas is an easy way to fill a large room while keeping the place adaptable. Arrange the seating so that it’s angled towards the fireplace, without being head on. The room remains open for movement, while also creating a comfortable and organized space.

One large sectional

One large sectional sofa makes furniture arranging easier, as it demands the space. An L-shaped sectional sofa will open up the room, forcing the fireplace into a background role. A U-shaped sofa around a fireplace makes a warm and pleasant space for conversation and relaxing. 

Movable chairs, using an unlit fireplace as the background

If you enjoy entertaining, a fireplace can be a tricky feature to manage. It takes up wall space that can otherwise be used for seating, and it’s dangerous to block with heavy furniture.

Make the fireplace into a design feature by using it as a backdrop for a set of dining room chairs (or a similar, light framed design). These chairs can be easily picked up and removed when you want to use the fireplace, the basic frame allows the design of the fireplace to show, and they offer more seating for extra guests. 

Create a cozy corner

We all need a place where we can fully relax, and the fireplace is the ultimate in cozy home design. Place a single-seater chair, or a love seat, to the side of a fireplace for an instant reading nook. Wing backed chair are particularly good at creating a space you want to curl up in. Indulge with the addition of a side table and foot rest, and sit back to the relaxing crackle of a lit fireplace.

L-shaped sofa, with the fireplace contained

L-shaped sofa, with the fireplace contained

The fireplace doesn’t have to be a main feature, it can instead be used to add ambience. One issue with decorating around a fireplace is that it tends to close off a room. Use an L-shaped sofa to contain a fireplace in the center of a wall to a corner.

The sofa curves around the fireplace, and creates a smaller room within a room. For large, open living rooms, this is an incredibly adaptable use. The open end of the sofa invites conversation across rooms, while everyone benefits from the warmth of the fire.

Of course, the fireplace doesn’t have to be the focus. If you rarely use the fireplace, you may prefer to have it as an addition to the wall, rather than the focal point. Many of us prefer to have our furniture arranged around the television. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the fireplace in your design, but that you need to find a balance.

Fireplace to the side of the television

An arrangement like this allows you to direct the furniture around one wall, keeping an open room with multiple paths. Balance the two features using a dark wall color. Consider where the weight is on the walls, so the eye isn’t drawn to one area over the other. 

Television above the fireplace

This is a popular arrangement, and allows for an easily balanced room. The addition of the television means directing the furniture is even easier. The double feature also softens the impact of both objects. Balance the heavy objects with larger chairs arranged on either side.

Other objects can be used to enhance the appeal of the fireplace. Use mirrors on the opposite wall to the fireplace to draw the eye. This can also make the room feel larger, and increase the amount of lighting.

Coffee tables always look good in front of a fireplace. They help create a distance between the furniture, balance the look of particularly heavy fireplaces, and add to the functionality of a space. Pull forward back when the fireplace is lit, and more floor space can be created by pushing them flush when the fire is out.

Consider the lighting around your fireplace. While fireplaces do give off light, it’s often not enough for a room. However, turning on the main light tends to destroy the ambience. Use carefully placed lamps to add light, and maintain the atmosphere.

Importantly, the furniture needs to be kept at a safe distance from the fireplace. Three feet is the recommended distance, as it reduces the chance of embers sparking and landing on flammable materials. Fireplaces can be dangerous, so safety concerns must be placed ahead of design. Never place furniture directly in front of lit fireplaces.


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