Cornered: Considerations for Corner Fireplaces

We occasionally have inquiries about corner fireplaces, from people who are challenged by a small space or an awkward layout.   Often, they talk themselves out of their corner unit and they make space for a flat wall mantel and fireplace.   But sometimes, a corner really is the best position for a fireplace.  Here are the ‘angles’ to be considered when it comes to a corner fireplace:
Will the fireplace be visible from the entire room when it’s placed in the corner?   In an L-shaped room, as in the basement shown here, the corner is the only position which can be viewed from all parts of the space.   In a rectangular room, the corner fireplace may be an ambient feature, adjacent to the seating area, or a focal point across from the seating area.  Neither is wrong, unless you plan to place the TV above the fireplace, in which case, it obviously needs to be visible from the seating area.

Can you fit the right size fireplace into a corner?    Whether you are looking for a flat-wall or a corner fireplace, the fireplace should be sized to suit the space in which it will sit.  A large room calls for a large fireplace.  If your corner can’t accommodate the right size, it may be better to go without a fireplace, or to rearrange the furnishings in the room to accommodate a larger flat-wall fireplace.  Sometimes, utilizing the corner is the only way to fit a large fireplace into the space without projecting into the room too much.
Is the corner going to be your focal point?   No one likes to stare into a corner.  A fireplace is usually the focal point of its space, and as such, will garner much attention.  When you place a fireplace in the corner, be sure to finish it appropriately for its starring role.  This means that the fireplace cabinet has been designed to fit into the corner, or you have filled in the corner with a flat wall that angles across the corner, so that there is not a gap behind the fireplace.  Accessorize the top of the fireplace as you would any other fireplace, with art and interesting objects.

Working With: A Corner Fireplace

I’ll start this post by saying I’ve never had to decorate a room with a corner fireplace, but based on my experience with floor plans, I can only imagine that it’s tricky. Fireplaces are usually thought of as the natural focal point of a room that everything else has to be positioned around. But, if it’s in the corner, I think it automatically loses it’s position as king (or queen) of the room.

Here are a few thoughts/ideas if a corner fireplace has you stumped with what to do with the rest of your space:
Using a larger piece of furniture—or even art—on another wall not only creates balance but takes some of the pressure off of the fireplace having to be the main attraction. You could do this with bookshelves, an armoire or even a large mirror (see first photo in the post).
(Btw, it doesn’t bother me to mostly block the fireplace if you don’t use it on a regular basis.)
Another great example of this:
I like the look of a corner fireplace having a different texture than the rest of the room. Wood, stone or even bead board (depending on your style) are good options. Or, you could go with something less permanent like grasscloth wallpaper—or even paint.
And, finally, if you have one of those corner shelves above your fireplace that can be oh-so-awkward to decorate, here’s one of my favorite solutions via Shannon’s blog .
Have other design dilemmas you’d like to see me blog about? Leave a comment letting me know what has you stumped.

Decorating A Corner Fireplace

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