How to Style a Malm Fireplace and Make Your Retro Dreams Come True

updated Dec 23, 2020
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Next to wood paneling, shag carpets, and avocado appliances, you’ve got Malm fireplaces in line for being one of the ’60s and ’70s most iconic home furnishings. Shaped more like a vehicle from “The Jetsons” than a house-warming mechanism, Malm fireplaces aren’t an imitation or a brand trying to copy the vintage vibe so many of us are now pining after again—no—they’re the real deal. Established in 1960, it doesn’t get more authentically retro than this. For diehard fans of mid-century modern design, a Malm fireplace or something similar is certainly a solid investment piece. 

If you have your sights set on incorporating one of these ultra stylish fireplaces into your own abode, these options will kickstart your creative thinking, even if you’re just dreaming of setting up a fireplace something similar while you save for a real Malm. Check out the following ideas, courtesy of those who have a penchant for a perfectly styled fireplace.

Credit: Our Handbook

1. Pet snoozing spot

Yes, a fireplace can be “borrowed” by a furry friend for napping, and this idea is arguably better (and far cuter!) than a Malm’s original use. Jenn and Dustin Fisher carved out a fun little space for their cat, Moo, who clearly approves of using this spot for resting and recuperating after a long day of playing and exploring. Remove all signs of your piece being a functional fireplace, add a layer of cushioning, and you’re good to go for this kind of upcycled pet bed.

Credit: Emily Jagoda

2. The main attraction

Central and perfectly positioned, this fireplace in Emily Jagoda’s TreeHouse3000 home will make you want to escape to the forest with your Malm and never look back. Sitting atop a vibrant yellow coffee table, you can sip your favorite drink and gaze out at the trees while enjoying the fire—picture perfect if you ask me.

3. A pop of yellow

Nobody puts baby in a corner, but a Malm fireplace can handle it—and still steal the spotlight from the rest of the room. This gorgeous setup, configured by Yvonne Howell of Howell Huis, is the perfect example of how to set up a cozy corner of your home and provide a splash of color at the same time.

4. Blended in

Although this Malm blends beautifully into its white-walled background, this slight camouflaging by no means takes away from its statement-making presence. Designed by Tania Cassill of Huit Laguna and photographed by Chad Mellon, this white fireplace is the perfect living room touch for those who like mixing iconic mid-century pieces like an Eames lounger with minimalist, Scandi-inspired light woods.

Credit: Sarah Reid

5. All-black

Yes, even the darkest shade available can make a space feel cozy, especially if it’s in the form of a fireplace. Sarah Reid of DearAFrame incorporated this jet black Malm into her gorgeous little cabin, creating a room that you could easily spend all of fall and winter cozied up in.

6. Outdoor wow factor

The story of how Jesse Ligo Ginsberg found this fireplace is about as cool as the object itself. “It was in the lobby of a hotel in Santa Barbara that never opened to the public and so was kept in a time capsule, locked inside until they sold the property,” she says. “We found this gem at the Rose Bowl.” Inspired? Try shopping around at flea markets or estate sales to score a dreamy application like this for your outdoor space.

7. The perfect nook

It’s hard to think of a better use for a fireplace than as the focal point in a room. This area captured by Brad Christopher is ideal for grabbing a book and curling up, in the most retro way possible, of course.

8. A porch addition

Achieving the cozy cabin vibe sans the cold tent experience is simple with a screened-in porch and a Malm fireplace like Brittani of Midcentury Meowdern. Although the area is already gorgeous, finding room for that extra pop of color and warmth is a surefire way to create a space you’ll never want to leave.