A fireplace is on the wish list of many home buyers and apartment renters. Depending on where you live, this "wish" may be reasonably or rarely granted; and, even when it is granted, it may not be a functional fireplace. Still, the fireplace can have emotional impact, even when it isn't functional, and you can achieve the same effect of a working fireplace with more flexibility when you use your nonworking fireplace in other ways.
Embrace Your "Faux"
Just because your fireplace is functionally nonworking doesn't mean you can't stage it as a working fireplace. Decorate your hearth with fireplace accessories in your personal style --- a basket or iron holder for wood, a fireplace screen and tools can all be chosen with your overall style in mind and can add to your room. Select beach, woodsy cabin or modern apartment accessories, and stack wood in the hearth for maximum effect. And, if the crackling sound of a fire is what you crave, buy a sound machine with that effect plugged in proximity. Pillar candles and tea lights, as well as electric lights and house plants, can also be nestled in the hearth of your nonworking fireplace to give the fireplace effect.
Let the Outside in
While you can't burn just anything in a fireplace, you can stage a fire in a nonworking one, so place decorative wood and branches with greenery in the hearth of your nonworking fireplace, including greenery and scented pine cones. White birch logs are decorative in any fireplace hearth and provide a crisp backdrop to wild flowers and decorative vines and pine cones. Any hearth is also a suitable backdrop to house plants and flowers; look at it as a decorative mini-greenhouse.
A fireplace hearkens to a time in the past when things were simpler. As people become more engaged in 21st century technology, they yearn for function and camaraderie, and the fireplace exhibits both. A nonworking fireplace can still serve various functions and bring people together in front of it; arrange your seating around it, and place books, family pictures, art and/or your entertainment centre within it. Flat screens are often placed above fireplace mantels today, but the hearth can be used for media storage, coupled with the "faux fireplace" look of candles and lights. Stack "coffee table" books and/or family albums in the hearth for more conversation pieces.
Like a warm, glowing fire, pets elicit a down-home feeling of comfort. Your nonworking fireplace can serve as a home for your pets as well as a gravitational point for you to enjoy them. Cats and dogs love a comfy pet bed, so nestle it in the hearth of your nonworking fireplace. A hearth is also an opportunity to highlight your nonworking fireplace with a fish aquarium or mini to large fish bowls of various decorative sizes.