Fireplaces draw people in with their warmth and visual appeal. Since the fireplace is such a focus of a room, its design and accessories should be carefully considered. The materials and colours of the fireplace's hearth and mantle set the style for the rest of the decor of the surrounding space. Looks can range from rustic to sleek. Select an appropriate style for your house and create a hearth that's sure to become the central gathering place in your home.
Rustic Farmhouse Hearth
A hearth composed of large stones looks rustic and complements the interior of a farmhouse or rural villa. A country fireplace plays a functional role, both for cooking and keeping the house warm, so decoration should be kept simple. Tools and cookware, displayed nearby, should be selected for quality and durability. Useful items, like pottery and dried culinary herbs, provide appropriate fireplace decor
French Country Hearth
French country fireplaces and hearths combine rustic materials with elegant touches. Decorate a mantle with a combination of primitive, handmade objects and refined antiques. Juxtapose hand-painted pottery or folk paintings next to gilded mirrors. Wrought iron fireplace screens and tools provide a rugged touch. Create an antique looking mantle by painting it with milk paint or raw umber glaze and distressing the edges with steel wool.
Contemporary Urban Hearth
Sleek materials like glass and black granite create a contemporary look for a fireplace hearth. Set glass tiles in a random design or create an intricate mosaic by arranging small tiles in a pattern. Streamlined silhouettes with straight lines look more modern than curves and extraneous details. Reflective surfaces like mirrored tiles add a touch of glitz.
Designers and architects of the 20th century emphasised the use of natural materials and simple designs to create fireplaces for the growing middle class. American Craftsman and Mission fireplaces often feature ceramic tile surrounds in soft hues and simple, linear wooden mantles. Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated tightly stacked local stones into the design of his Prairie hearths. Minimal decorating accessories included hand-thrown pottery and stained glass Mission lamps.
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