NY Good Questions: What Should I Do With My Fake Fireplace?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Hello AT,

In my living room (which is about 11′ x 11′) there is a mantle, but no fireplace and I’m wondering what I can do with the area where the fireplace itself and tile would normally go?

I was thinking of filing up the interior (about 3’w x 4’h) with antiqued mirror tiles (I don’t use a mirror over the mantle, but there is a large mirror just to the left on the same wall)…

(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first.)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If I do the mirror tiles I’ll replace the wood coffee table with an acrylic version so the tiles will have more to reflect than just the side of the table (also, the second photo is the wall opposite included to show what would be reflected back and to show that not everything in the room is dark gray).

Any ideas or suggestions? In my mind it sounds like a great idea but how would it be in real life?

Thanks! Donald

Dear Donald,

Fake fireplaces like this are particularly frustrating and we think you’ve either got to make something of them (as per your idea) or remove them altogether as they are basically visual red herrings.

We like your idea quite a bit and think that the antiqued mirror would look very good. Since this is trying to make MORE of the element, we would go further and build up a slim, stone hearth on the floor directly in front. This would take care of the transition between wood floor and faux fireplace and also allow you to place pillar candles there at the holidays, which would cast a lot of light and be very festive.

Just to represent the other side: In one client’s apartment we had an old fake mantle and coping smashed to pieces and removed entirely. We then returned the wall to its honest smooth state and it fit in much more harmoniously with the room. She was then able to hang a nice big piece of artwork properly on the wall in what had become a prime location.

In her case, however, the fireplace was not in the center of the seating area and was awkwardly splitting the room.

Anyone else have a suggestion?