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Perfect Fall Fireplaces: Top tips on how to style your fireplace this season  

There’s nothing quite like a fireplace to add a cosy, stylish edge to a living room. But are you making the most of yours?

We spoke to Alex Whitecroft, Head of Design at I Want Wallpaper to find out how to use wallpaper to style your fireplace this season. 

‘A fireplace creates an instant focal point in any room, making it the perfect area to showcase your sense of style. Using wallpaper to create a feature wall on or around your chimney breast is the perfect way to do this, by refreshing, reviving and injecting a touch of on-trend decor into your home.’ 

Alex Whitecroft

1. Create a traditional fireplace with brick wallpaper

There’s a reason that the industrial trend is one that keeps returning to our walls. The perfect blend of classic and contemporary design, an industrial effect wallpaper is a way of bringing the classy, stripped-back aesthetic of old factories and industrial spaces into your home. 

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This minimalist style is all about raw, natural materials, making it the ideal option when looking to frame your fireplace or the perfect ploy for transforming a painted or papered chimney breast back into its original brick magnificence – all without needing to bring the builders in. 

From traditional brick effect wallpapers to opulent marble or earthy slate, you can transform even the plainest of chimney breasts into the centrepoint of your room. 

2. Go for contrast

A clever way to make your fireplace stand out is to play with contrasting colours and textures. Paint your chimney breast in a bold colour such as olive green or a dusky purple and use the adjoining alcoves either side for patterned wallpaper that’ll bring added pizzazz to your designs. 

Geometric shapes, jungle-inspired leaves or even delicate peacock feather wallpaper on a white or neutral background that coordinate with your chimney will bring interest to your walls, without detracting from the drama of the chimney breast itself. 

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Alternatively, paint your chimney breast in white and use a tile-effect wallpaper for clean lines and bold, elegant colours on the adjoining walls that’ll bring a brightening, Mediterranean aesthetic to your living room.

3. Split it in two

Part of the attraction of an open fire is the historic brickwork of the chimney breast. While it is possible to paper over this material, I recommend making this part of the feature and instead using the rest of the chimney breast to host the real statement designs. 

Painting the brick in white or other neutral tones to match the designs of your room will allow the upper half of the chimney breast to pop. Either use this as the canvas for your bold designs or, if mellow colours better fit your plans, opt for a more subtle approach, such as a distressed wood effect. 

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For a light, fresh and modern chimney breast look, opt for a wood panel wallpaper hung horizontally to coordinate with the mantel shelf of your fireplace.

4. Make it classy by matching with your alcoves

If elegance is the name of the game when it comes to transforming your neglected chimney breast, consider going back to the roots of wall coverings with a spot of faux wainscotting. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This style originated sometime in the 13th century from the idea of using wood to provide needed insulation – and a decorative touch – in chilly homes. While wooden panelling has since moved on a lot, and modern homes rely on central heating rather than an additional layer of wood to keep them warm, we can still enjoy the stunning decorative effect of this in our homes. 

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The 3D decorative panel wallpaper is a way of adding wood panelling the easy way – but will have the same stunning historical effect!

Bring Renaissance style into the 21st century with wood panelling wallpaper laid on the chimney breast above the fireplace. Not only does this add interest to this statement wall, but it can also bring together shelving built into the alcoves – so be sure to repaint your shelves in a matching or complementary colour to work with your new “wood” panels. 

5. Decorate with big, bold patterns for impact

Whether you’re lucky enough to have a working fire or are instead the owner of an unused fireplace that you’ve brought life to with plants or candles, there’s always ways to enhance the impact of the very heart of your room, whether it’s a living room, kitchen or even bedroom. 

Bold patterns can work really well with a fireplace. Whether they’re oversized floral designs or Grandmillenialism style, or more delicate geometric shapes that’ll transport your walls back to the 1920s and Art Deco. And, because you’re only wallpapering a small space, you can afford to really go bold with your choices – just keep the rest of the room subtle to balance out the bold print.

Whatever patterns work for you, I recommend papering directly onto your chimney breast and using neutral shades of white or pastel on the fireplace itself for a sharp juxtaposition that’ll define the two styles and ultimately bring the look together. Rather than using art to define your chimney breast, this technique transforms the wall itself into art. 

6. Keep it plain 

Sometimes making a statement requires thinking outside of the box. While patterns can make your fireplace pop, sometimes a simpler approach can carry the most weight. A plain white chimney breast, if done right, can make a huge impression. 

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The trick here is to either create contrast with the surrounding walls or make your fire itself become the statement. If you’re got a bold, modern fire or even a more traditional black wood burner, it’s easy enough for this to become the main focal point of the room. 

Use either furniture in muted pastel shades to avoid distracting from your designs or bring out the colour of the fireplace – and add a bit of dazzle – with gold finishes throughout your furnishings and accessories.   

7. Use block colours

If a white chimney breast seems a little uninspired for your tastes, this idea for your chimney breast will be right up your street. Black and other dark colours are a bold choice when it comes to interior design, but they pay dividends. Match your chimney breast wallpaper colour to your stove and use this block of bold, dark colour to dominate the room. Go for a textured design to add some depth to your space. 

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For balance, use blocks of colour in your furniture and accessories. Go for dusty rose for delicate elegance, white for high contrast, brown for a down-to-earth feel or emerald green for luxurious opulence. Use plants and textured fabrics for added depth. 

How to wallpaper a chimney breast

Before you start transforming your fireplace into a new feature wall, it’s worth taking some logistical decoration issues into consideration first:

  • Can I even put wallpaper on a fireplace? Yes, although uneven brick fireplaces will be difficult to paper over. In this case, using paper on the top half above the mantle will be the easiest idea for decorating your chimney breast. 

  • Should I be concerned about the wallpaper catching fire? If you’re decorating directly around a wood burning stove, you’ll want to make sure there is proper ventilation to keep the wallpaper and your wall safe. Purchasing vinyl wallpaper that can be wiped down with a wet cloth will also ensure you can remove any dirt or soot without issue. 

  • How can I wallpaper around a chimney breast? Ensuring that the wall is properly prepared before you hang the wallpaper is essential (you can read our tips for hanging wallpaper for guidance). Make sure you measure the chimney breast carefully and start from the middle, before moving to the sides where it connects with the alcoves. If using a patterned design, make sure that the largest part of the motif is hung directly in the middle of the chimney breast so that becomes the natural focal point. 

Content & Research:
Alex Whitecroft, Head of Design
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