This May Be the Smartest Use of a Non-Functional Fireplace I’ve Ever Seen
When you’re lucky enough to have a gorgeous fireplace in a room, this architectural feature becomes a natural focal point. And there’s no use fighting against that fact, even if your fireplace is non-functional. Sure, you could hire someone to try to bring your hearth up to speed, but that can be expensive and challenging, to say the least. And honestly sometimes it’s just easier — and a fun creative flex — to come up with a way to claim back the space a non-working fireplace takes up.
You’ve probably seen more than a few ways of working an unused fireplace to your decorative advantage, from filling one with books or logs to candles and even plants. But have you considered placing a table right in front of the fireplace, as though it were a regular wall? That’s exactly what Leah Cumming, the founder of French-inspired home furnishings brand Maison Madeleine, did in her 1924 Hancock Park home, where she floated a sizable demilune-shaped console table right in front of the hearth.
Although the house had been meticulously renovated, the fireplace was past its prime, functionally speaking, and for Cumming, that wasn’t a deal-breaker at all. Because she’s based in Los Angeles, she didn’t need an extra source of heat, even in the winter; all she’d really be missing was the ambiance. So she decided to embrace this space with the demilune, which gives her yet another workable surface to put decorative pieces on and have things like coffee table books at the ready, should guests want to flip through them.
“The table’s positioning makes the fireplace the center of attention, highlighting its architectural charm to elevate the overall aesthetic of my living room,” says Cumming. “It also draws attention to my decor and artwork on the mantel, such as my Seaside Shell dish or signature Maison Madeleine candles.” While some might rush to demo the fireplace and put in something shiny and new, Cumming wanted to work with it as-is. “Using the fireplace as a focal point in my living room embodies my commitment to melding aesthetics with functionality,” she says. “Although it is non-functional, it harmonizes well with the space.” In a smaller home or apartment, you might choose to go even tinier with a table to get this look — and opt for a style that has a drawer or two for precious hidden storage space. But it’s still a move worth making — especially where every inch really counts.