Corner Fireplace Tips

Here's what you need to know about working with and decorating around a corner fireplace.

Open room with corner fireplace

Corner fireplaces offer myriad benefits, taking advantage of underused areas and maximizing space by leaving longer walls open for furniture placement. They generate ample heat and can act as a room's focal point or as an anchor for a secondary seating area. They're simple to install during a home's construction and, depending on venting and fuel needs, can be added to most any finished room.

Corner hearths suit both public and private spaces. Angle a gas-log version near a capacious bathtub to promote pampering. Nestle a remote-controlled electric unit where you can view it while lying or reading in bed.

living room

Placement of corner hearths varies and is often related to the size of a room or the length of two intersecting walls in relation to windows and doors. Some are positioned at a 45-degree angle across a corner while others may be sited on a wall so one side abuts a corner. A more modern boxlike version sits square in a corner and sports openings on two sides so flames can be enjoyed from adjacent areas and rooms.

No matter their placement, corner fireplaces easily rise to focal-point status with the addition of good-looking mantels, stone surrounds that soar to the ceiling, or curving stucco-covered silhouettes. Give smaller corner fireplaces an expanded presence by spotlighting them with accent lighting, hanging a stylish mirror or flat-screen television above the mantel, framing them with built-in bookcases, or making them a visual extension of a freestanding media center.

Mastering Furniture Placement


Corner fireplaces can be tricky to design around, but in the end comfort should rule. So before you start moving your furniture, first consider how you and your family want to use the space and how often you'll be firing up the hearth.

Whenever possible, orient furniture pieces that you plan to utilize most often (be it bedstead, sectional sofa, or kitchen banquette) to face the fireplace. Use an area rug to define floating furniture groupings that mirror the angle of the fireplace, making sure you leave ample aisles for traffic to move around and through the arrangement. If the room is large, try creating a squarely set furniture arrangement centered on the fireplace. If space is tight or oddly configured, consider including cushy lightweight or swivel chairs that can be set in front of or next to the fireplace and be moved or pivoted between conversationalists and the fireplace.

When placing furniture toward the center of the room, remember to flush out the room's perimeter with corner cabinets, bookcases, console tables, or a cozy seating or work area. Take time to rearrange and reposition upholstered pieces, coffee and accent tables, lamps, and other accessories until you get a pleasing and practical composition. Then, with comforts rightly in place, light the fire (via match, wall switch, or remote control), kick back, and enjoy the fire in the corner.

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