The fireplace and the chimney breast it sits on are a focal point to any room and naturally, we want them to look as great as possible.
If you’re an owner of a period property, you may have the original fireplace in situ. And if you’re lucky, it will be in pristine condition with beautiful William De Morgan inspired tiles down either side and an unmarked hearth clad in gorgeous richly coloured Victorian tiles.
Unfortunately lots of these beautiful kind of fireplaces were painted over in the 60s and 70s and more still were ripped out and replaced with modern gas or electric equivalents. So what are your options if your fireplace doesn’t look as nice as the one pictured?
Replace your existing with an authentic cast iron fireplace
There are plenty of reclamation yards up and down the country who take old Victorian and Edwardian fireplaces, strip them of all paint and refinish them so they’re good as new. These are often beautifully ornate designs and will give you a traditional look that will suit the period properties they originally came from.
Often there is space either side of the opening for a column of 4” or 6” tiles (10 x 10 cm or 15 x 15 cm). Again reclamation yards or antique shops are your friend here. You can often pickup old Victorian patterned tiles which will have originally come from fireplaces. If, like us, you’re based in Manchester you could try Insitu or Levenshuleme Antiques Village.
Install a log burning stove
Log burners are a fantastic alternative to traditional open fires. They’re far more efficient and will keep you toasty throughout winter while keeping your bills down. Once your chimney has been opened up for the new stove, you can get creative when it comes to tiling both the hearth (the bit the stove sits on) and the sides of the opening itself.
Patterned tiles like those pictured below look great. Or why not try a herringbone style patterned with thin rectangular tiles? Our latest collection of brick tiles are another beautiful looking option if your existing brickwork isn’t up to much.
Open it up then fill it up
Taking out your old fireplace and opening up the chimney breast is a great way of creating storage space in your room. This is particularly popular in bedrooms where extra space for books, plants and shoes is often needed. It also works in living rooms. Take a look at the pictures below with stacks of kiln dried logs filling the fireplace creating an Alpine-inspired look.
Create a feature wall
Popular in Alpine retreats and rustic farmhouses are stone-clad, heavily textured chimney breasts that add a natural, organic warmth to rooms. Split face natural stone cladding tiles are a great way of achieving this look in your own home. They have a textured 3d effect and are available in different colours to suit different interior looks.
Choose pared down white for a Scandi inspired minimal look, or go for dark multicoloured tones for an earthier more imposing look. If too much texture isn’t your thing, you could try our brick effect tiles or how about going for a mid-century inspired timber clad wall?
Retile your hearth
If you’re working to a tight budget but want to give your existing fireplace a bit of a lift, why not consider re-tiling the hearth. This is a simple job that any competent DIYer can achieve over a weekend.
Your choice here is endless – all ceramic and porcelain tiles are fine to use as a hearth and most don’t require any special sealing. You should think about using small grout joints in a dark grey or charcoal colour as lighter grouts will inevitably get stained by ash over time.
We’d love to see some before and after shots of your projects. Please send them to email@example.com and we’ll feature the best ones on our Pinterest and Facebook pages.