Fireplaces not only help keep us warm, but they can also serve as a decorative focal point and highlight in a home. Whether you are looking to showcase an ornate mantel or create a cozy seating area, being thoughtful and purposeful with decor and style choice can help maximize the experience for you and your guests.


1. Place furniture in a cohesive way that highlights the fireplace.

2. Place mirrors above or next to a fireplace. Mirrors will automatically draw the eye to the fireplace, while also reflecting light.

3. Consider replacing or adding a decorative mantel. A number of design manufacturers specialize in decorative mantels; customization is also an option.

4. Consider adding natural elements to complement an existing or new fireplace such as stone or brick.

5. Consider placing a large piece of art above a fireplace. Selecting large pieces can help add interest and anchor the space.


1. Place a television above a fireplace when possible. Electronics often detract from decor.

2. Block the path to the fireplace. Be sure to allow a line of sight.

3. Be afraid to paint an existing mantel. Cool colors such as gray are often appealing options.

4. Be afraid to paint existing brickwork. For example, painting dark brick white can help open and brighten a darker room.

5. Forget the decorative accessories often associated with a fireplace. From a selection of fireplace tools to baskets that hold wood, look for opportunities to introduce creative design elements.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is a TV host and interior design and home-staging expert.