Do you have a fireplace in your living room? Some consider it an interior design asset, while there are others who just love how a fireplace makes their living room relaxing, cozy, and inviting.
A fireplace does offer an architectural appeal to your home, whether you have a modern or older style fireplace.
You might have the type of fireplace that is in the middle of the wall with vacant spaces on either side.
Some spots with be the same size on each side, and some will be different.
The thing people want to know when it comes to decorating a living room just what do you put on either side of your fireplace?
Lucky for you, with have a whole pile of ideas and wrapped up here, ready to give you some inspiration.
You might be creating a new style or looking to change what you already have next to your fireplace.
Whatever the reason, there is something suitable for you to match with your current design, style, and colors.
Table of Contents
What To Put On Either Side Of Your Fireplace?
If you are looking to decorate and use the space next to your fireplace efficiently, then you might make this area a study nook requiring just a small desk on one side and a bookcase to store your studying essentials on the other side of the fireplace. You can even add a seating area to curl up and read a book with a comfy armchair, a side table for your cuppa, and a throw rug to warm your toes. You might just want to keep it simple and hang matching mirrors or artwork on either side.
Using Eclectic Décor
Think about the décor for your fireplace holistically. It is about the accents that you might have on top of your mantle and what you have in front of your fireplace and whether you actually use the fireplace or whether you just use it as decoration and it has plenty of decoration items inside the hearth too.
If your fireplace is stone, then you can try and work in some eclectic textures and materials to help give a smooth and balanced look.
One popular way to decorate is to use greenery in layers such as next to the hearth, on the mantel above, and then work in your textures with a greenery garland, a rug, or a simple hanging textile accent.
This will give you a focal point that is eclectic but still inviting and cozy to be in.
If you have a stone fireplace that you are not using, you can arrange candles in different heights and positions inside your hearth.
Candles go well with greenery and offer a warm ambiance.
Using Mirrors To Frame Your Fireplace
To use mirros on either side of the fireplace, a cheap and easy option is to get matching floor mirrors and place them in the vacant spaces on either side of the fireplace.
These will help to frame your fireplace due to the fact they offer visual height.
From this look, you will get a spacious feel and look to the overall room.
Symmetrical mirrors are perfect for brick fireplaces or even white ones as they help to show the reflective surfaces and offer visual balance and a serious look.
As long as you have two of the same, you can’t really go wrong with mirrors as they can be modern styles or even vintage and work with both small and large fireplaces.
If you have built-ins on each side of your fireplace, you want to decorate them with both practical and decorative accents that can tie in well with the design and style of the overall room.
You can consider woven art, candles, vases, lamps, candles, and greenery to help grab the attention of the eye from a distance.
If you have a stone fireplace, work with the word BOLD.
Bold accents and art is foolproof for either side of the fireplace as they add color, depth, and texture all at the same time, without taking the feature away from the fire and mantel.
This is a great way to decorate a fireplace for those who like to have a cohesive color palette that ties the furniture and accents together.
Decorating Fireplace Sides With Asymmetrical Decorating
When it comes to going for a stylish approach for the spaces on the side of your fireplace, if they are not identical in size, then you need to balance the décor.
Add a tall mirror or a tall plant on one side of your fireplace and then contrast the other side with a media or tv stand.
You can also go ahead and float out an armchair positioned at an angle towards the fire itself.
This will allow for a more organic layout that is cohesive while maintaining a modern and collected look.
If you have a modern fireplace, you can go for an asymmetrical arrangement with each of your furniture pieces along with your home décor pieces.
This will give your living room a more curated and thoughtful look rather than the plain traditional matching look on each side of the fireplace.
Allow For Seating In Front Of The Fire
Adding seating to your fireplace adds elegance and a timeless approach. It still seems to be one of the most traditional fireplace décor ideas.
To achieve this look, you can place an armchair on either side of the fireplace with a nice table or ottoman in front to create a romantic fireside for two.
This offers cozy seating close to the fire that is not only stylish but also functional.
Just ensure the ottoman or table is not placed too close to the fire to create a hazard.
This works well for those places that don’t allow for much seating room except for on either side of the fire and directly in front.
Balance The Sides Of Your Fireplace With Bookcases
Freestanding bookcases are popular and add balance, height, and depth to each side of your fireplace.
High bookshelves that are decorated correctly can look just like high-end built-ins.
Wooden bookshelves work well for this sitting next to a whitewashed brick fireplace that brings modernity into your home without overdoing it.
You want to be careful how you decorate. You don’t want to add vintage items here or anything that doesn’t suit the style and design of your living room.
This also needs to be balanced out with modern tall plants placed near the fireplace and modern artwork framed on the shelves.
You want to avoid using too many ornaments, baskets, and little nick-nacks.
Bookshelves that are alongside a fireplace are very family-friendly and work for those homes that are going for a more kid-friendly approach.
Go With The Industrial Look
You can make a bookcase using steel pipes and scaffolding boards that works for those homes that have a more industrial look.
Get all the supplies you need from your local builder supply shop. Turn the vacant side areas of your fireplace into something amazing.
You can also ask a professional carpenter to make something to suit even a little nook that can be decorated with wallpaper and add a few glimpses of color in sight.
Use the sides of your fireplace for an art focal point
This type of side fireplace idea is tried and true to its word. Most times, all you need is one simple, evocative art piece that works to turn your fireplace area into the place that captures the eye at first glance.
The trick here is to pair your artwork with wall lighting. This will elevate the focus to the artwork on either side and your fireplace mantel.
With this approach, you want to try and go with neutral accents and furniture so you end up layering small pieces and end up creating a distraction away from the artwork.
If you are going for a minimalist interior, then you want to only use one large piece of artwork as these work well as a dramatic visual element in interiors where the minimalist design is overall.
Adding Stools Or Benches
One practical and stylish idea for either side of your fireplace is to add matching desks or benches with matching stools.
Benches will bring a sophisticated and polished look that frames your fireplace just like armchairs do.
This works well if you are working with a white fireplace area since the benches add some pop against the mantel.
Make sure the stools or benches don’t crowd the fireplace and make sure that when positioning the desks or benches that you work in proportion with the length of your hearth so you can achieve a balanced appearance.
You can use the desks for a study nook if you don’t have an area to use for one or if you only require a small area big enough for a laptop and some paperwork.
If you are dealing with a small-sized area on each side, you might need to go with a custom-made bench or desk.
This idea works well for those with uneven sides on each side as long as the desk and benches are the same color and design.
For this, you can go with metal, glass, reclaimed wood, and any color that you choose. White will create a more open, non-cluttered look.
If you are looking for a pop of color, you can choose to paint the bench or desk a bright, bold color or add this in via desk accessories like a small pot plant or paperweight.
Now for the side, you can hang artwork above the desk, or you can even make the back wall a blackboard which can be added to both sides of the fireplace and be used as a memo board or a cozy place to write inspirational quotes.
Add Lighting To The Sides Of Your Fireplace
If you have shelving located on either side of your fireplace, you can install some strip or LED lighting to create the effect the shelving is glowing, which will produce a cozy lounge, especially if you have your fire going or candles glowing in the hearth.
This is also another way that you can highlight pictures and ornaments while adding more light to your room which is beneficial for those dark areas or rooms that lack window light.
Dimmer lights work well, so you can have them on full for extra light but dull them when you just want to watch a movie or relax.
Using Your Fireplace Sides For Log Storage
This is the most obvious use for each side of your fireplace. You can add logs on each side of the fireplace purely for an aesthetic choice or to store your firewood, so you don’t have to venture outside in the cold to restock the fire.
This makes for a functional feature that is important in even small homes. You can get ceiling to floor storage for the firewood to add whole logs or even split logs.
It works as functional storage and adds a little rustic charm to the room.
If you cannot get a built-in bookcase installed, you can also consider using a bookshelf that can serve the same purpose.
Try and aim for a tall and thin bookshelf that comes with removable shelving so you can adjust it to the size of your wood pieces.
Place two of the same on the side of your fireplace and aim to stack the logs neatly. This will add balance to the room.
Add Built In Seating
Just like the bay window seating set-ups, which are ideal, you can have something similar on each side of your fireplace under your windows if you have them.
You can have seating that the top can flip up and allow you to store blankets and pillows inside for when you aren’t using them. You can never have too much storage space, that’s for sure.
The good thing about these is you can make upholstery that can come off and wash or for when you want to match the seating covers with the season or color scheme of your décor at the time.
If you have plain fabric, you can always add some throw cushions to change up the color or add a pop of textured patterns.
This makes it easy when you want a change. If you don’t have windows above the seating, you can add some shelves and pop books or your favorite items on there for easy access.
If you are a family that often has visitors but lacks seating in the living room, this is a great idea.
There is nothing better than sitting beside the fire, whether you are studying, reading a book, or even taking a nap.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can create with the spare spaces on either side of your fireplace.
If you don’t put anything permanent in place, you can even switch it up for the seasons or for special occasions like Halloween or thanksgiving.
Do the children need somewhere to do their homework? What a better place than in one of these spaces that are set up for their homework, it’s nice and warm and close to you shall they need your assistance with their homework.
If you have a pet that stays inside, then a cozy bed next to the fire inside one of the side spaces works great as their bed and toys are out of the way, but they still have somewhere cozy to sleep.
There are so many possibilities available for what you can make your fireplace side areas into.
Some people have created a bar area or a coffee station that has worked out well in that particular area.
There is no need to walk to the kitchen it is all set there in the same room.
You can even opt to leave it as in and have nothing there if that is what you prefer. There is no right or wrong way.
For me I could see myself curling up on a comfortable chair with a good book and a hot cup of tea. What will you do with each side of your fireplace?
Frequently Asked Questions About What To Put On Either Side Of A Fireplace
Should I Go With Symmetrical Or Asymmetrical On Each Side Of My Fireplace?
This is totally up to you. There are no rules for this one. You might need to play around with designs and styles first before you decide if matching or completely different looks better on each side of your fireplace.
Do I Need To Be Careful Of What I Store Next To My Wood Fire?
You don’t want anything that is flammable to be too close to your wood fire. If your fire is closed inside a brick or cement mantel, you are pretty safe, but if you don’t, it is more likely to cause a fire. Don’t store things like clothes racks close to the fire as they can quickly ignite.