Professional interior designer and sleep expert Jennifer Adams returns to answer your questions and provide more helpful advice! Today, Jennifer responds to a reader’s question about how to spruce up a fireplace for winter, once Christmas has come and gone:
Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire…
Thanks so much for writing to me! A fireplace makes a wonderful focal point for your living room any time of year, but it certainly takes on a special significance during the winter months. I understand that you’re already in the habit of decorating around the fireplace for the Christmas season, and you raise an excellent question – what to do with the fireplace once the Christmas decorations have come down?
Decorating for Winter
Christmas may be over, but chances are very good that you’re still using your fireplace to keep warm through the dead of winter. Because your fireplace still plays such a central role in your living and gathering space, it makes sense to find some creative ways to decorate your brick-and-mortar centerpiece from January through the first day of spring. There’s no need to leave your fireplace and mantel bare when you can do a few simple things to spruce it up for winter. You can’t go wrong by sticking to wintry colors like whites, blues, and natural wood tones. For example, a spray of fuzzy white cotton stems can help to create an inviting, warm mood on your mantel. Infusing some seasonal textures like a bowl of frosted pinecones is a nice touch, too. Just remember to keep these items at a safe distance from the radiant heat if you use your fireplace as a flame source.
Whites and blues are naturally associated with winter, but you can never go wrong with evergreen, either. Festive live greenery isn’t just a Christmas thing; it’s also a natural theme for winter. If you already have Christmas garlands up, you can really just leave them up, as long as you remove any obvious Christmas references. If you’re using live greenery (which I personally prefer), it’s a good idea to remove the dried-out strands and replenish them with fresh. Evergreen boughs and woven sprigs make lovely accents, not just for your mantel, but for your doorways and dining room table, too. And if you’re looking to add an extra olfactory touch, these naturally-scented, hand poured candles help to create a wonderful, earthy atmosphere.
Go Nordic with Built-in Wood Storage
If you’re considering doing a little remodeling around your fireplace, you could always go with a Scandinavian-inspired minimalist look. A streamlined fireplace with a built-in wood storage compartment in the front offers a modern, natural look. It’s incredibly functional and convenient if you burn wood in your fireplace, too. It’s much better to have a stock of cured tinder right at your feet, rather than having to trudge out in the cold, unforgiving night to fetch some!
Old Arched Window Decoration
You may be wondering what’s wintry about an old, arched window? From a literal standpoint, nothing. But even though antique arched windows don’t specifically scream “winter,” they look pretty awesome sitting on or mounted above your fireplace mantel! You can also use bows and garlands to decorate your window for each of the four seasons, not to mention holiday seasons and other special occasions. Arched windows are both rustic and chic, and in my opinion, they never really go out of style.
Lean a Mirror on the Mantel
Now that we’ve broken ground on fireplace decorating ideas that transcend any one particular season, let’s look at a few more. Another one of my favorite go-to ideas for visually framing a mantel is to place a large decorative mirror right in the center. You can mount the mirror just above the mantel, or if you prefer a more laid-back look, you can just rest a sturdy mirror against the wall. Add a couple of decorative vases to the mantel on either side of the mirror, and you’re done! You can rotate vases, and also rotate what you put in the vases, by season or by special occasion.
Add a Decorative Fireplace Screen
So far, we’ve mainly entertained ways to spruce up your mantel, but there are some things you can do to highlight the fireplace area itself, as well. One of the simplest and most effective options is to add a fireplace screen. These screens were originally designed to catch rogue embers and keep them from entering your living space, but modern fireplace screens serve more than just functional purposes. Even if you don’t use your fireplace to burn wood, you can add a nice, gilded screen to create a more finished look. There are literally dozens and dozens of creative screen designs on the market today; just choose one that matches your personality and tastes!
Make Your Fireplace Farmhouse Chic…
Farmhouse chic has become a very popular decorating motif across America, and few places are better natural fits for that farmhouse chic look than a fireplace. Simply adorn your mantel and the space around your fireplace with a collection of country-inspired objects and stick with a soft color palette. Old milk jugs look great around the hearth, and antique water pitchers or watering cans are perfect for the mantle. Need some ideas of what to put as a centerpiece above the mantle? Consider a large, woven wicker basket. Alternatively, you can choose a more modern,
…or Choose a More Global, Artisan Look
If you’re not into the classic farmhouse look and are looking for something more modern, you can choose to decorate your fireplace with some artisan pieces in bolder, more vibrant color schemes. Global and tribal themes can really make a fireplace area pop. I’d recommend starting with the Africa Collection of home decor products. It includes a nice selection of baskets, bowls, trays, wall-hangings, and more. Each piece is handwoven by local craftswomen in Ghana, Uganda, and Rwanda, and a percentage of each purchase goes back to benefit the citizens of many poverty-stricken villages across the globe.
Have Fun with It!
No matter how you end up deciding to decorate your fireplace for the winter and beyond, I hope that you’ve found these tips to be helpful, and I wish you all the best in your decorating adventure!