How to decorate a fireplace behind a wood burning stove

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A wood-burning stove adds a rustic element to a living room and provides a reliable source of heat through the cold months. In older homes, a wood stove was sometimes installed directly inside or in front of a fireplace to avoid having to create a new chimney or ventilation source.

Use the fireplace area behind the stove for a variety of decorative options.

Paint the fireplace a light colour to stand out against the dark colour of the wood stove. Clean any ashes and dirt deposits off the fireplace interior with a solution of trisodium phosphate. Apply oil-based primer to cover up soot stains. Let it dry and apply the paint colour of your choice to both the interior and exterior of the fireplace. Remove the wood stove for easier access if necessary.

Use the fireplace as an area to store items such as cast iron skillets, other cooking utensils and wood stove accessories. Even if the stove is never used for cooking, they provide decorative elements that go along with the theme of the space. Attach strong hooks into the brick or stone and hang on either side. Add shelves inside the fireplace area for additional storage.

Stack wood in a neat pile that fills the entire cavity of the fireplace. Use the wood for burning in the stove and replace each piece with a new one to fill in the empty space in the fireplace.

Place a row of candles in the fireplace cavity; candles are often used as a replacement for fire when fireplaces are no longer usable. Extend the row of candles up onto the top of the wood stove to tie the two elements together. Remove candles from the stove while it is in use.

Use the fireplace mantel for decorative elements, since the mantel is likely still highly visible despite the wood stove. Line the mantel with seasonal items, changing them with each holiday. Set out framed family pictures for year-round display. Use the space to display a collection, such as glass vases, rocks or china.

Use the area of the fireplace interior for a rotating display of items if the wood stove is not entirely blocking the space. Place vases of flowers inside in the summer for a colourful visual display or set up a manger scene during the Christmas season.

Cover the fireplace opening with a decorative cloth if the space is not too close to the back of the wood stove, to avoid fire danger.