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How Far Should Furniture Be Away From a Fireplace for Fire Safety?

Updated February 28, 2019

Many people love the image of a roaring fire in a fireplace. It brings to mind memories of cosy nights spent gathered around the fire reading or playing games. However, fireplaces can be dangerous and proper furniture placement is important to ensure that a fireplace fire does not spread to furniture and get out of control.

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The Michigan State University Extension recommends that furniture and all flammable materials be placed at least 3 feet from the centre of a fireplace. This reduces the chances that something will catch fire and spread through the house.

Fireplaces Can be Risky

Regardless of how careful people are, there is always a chance that a stray spark can lead to a fire.

To minimise the risks be sure to take appropriate safety precautions. Make sure that there is a fire screen and fireproof hearth materials to stop sparks from flying. Walls can also be coated with fire resistant materials. Drapes, paper, furniture and other flammables should be kept at least 3 feet away from the fireplace.

Bottom Line

A fireplace can be a safe, comforting and convenient asset to a home provided that users take appropriate safety precautions. Keep all furniture, drapes and any other flammables at least 3 feet from the centre of the fireplace. Have the fireplace cleaned regularly and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Install smoke detectors in each room of the house. These safety precautions will help to assure that the fireplace is a safe asset to the home.

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About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and developmental specialist with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.

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