Good Questions: Ideas for Hiding Fireplace?

Megan has a question for the crowd: This is my fireplace. It is very ugly brick and it juts out into the room making it seem much smaller than it really is. I ultimately want to plaster over the brick and put in a gas insert on the long side but since I just re-did the kitchen, the fireplace will have to wait....
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I have cleverly put my couch in front of largest opening in an attempt to disguise it. I want to change it somehow and am thinking of covering it with some boards and then painting or wallpapering it. I really can't stand the look of painted brick so that is a no-go.

Suggestions?

Please let Megan know your ideas in the comments below...

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