25 Ways To Make Your Nonworking Fireplace Shine

fake fireplace books

Mallory / Instagram

With faux fireplace mantels becoming more and more popular (along with the fact that many people live in homes or apartment units with fireplaces that no longer function), determining how to best decorate a nonworking fireplace can be tricky. We've rounded up 25 ideas for those looking to add a little oomph to their living room. Wallpaper, framed artwork, and yes, even chalkboards can make a major impact.

  • 01 of 25

    Play With Tiles

    mantel with stick on tiles

    Hattie

    Don't like the existing tiles on your fireplace? Make a swap like Instagrammer Hattie did and opt for stick-on replacements instead. Then place some candles—real or battery-operated—inside for a romantic glow.

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  • 02 of 25

    Go Faux

    fake logs in fireplace

    Tyler Hooks Photo for Laura Metzler Photo

    Fake logs look just as lovely as real ones do! If you have a more contemporary setup but are looking for a small touch of rustic charm, as seen in Instagrammer Molly's space above, don't be shy to add a few.

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  • 03 of 25

    Get Artsy

    leaning artwork in fireplace

    Meghan / Instagram

    Leaning some art against the back of your faux mantel is a great way to display favorite works and add some intrigue, particularly if the top of the fireplace is styled in a more minimalistic fashion, like Instagrammer Meghan's.

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  • 04 of 25

    Chill Candles

    fireplace candles

    Laura Metzler / Instagram

    Designer Shannon filled her faux mantel solely with candles for a moody vibe. If you have a more intricate looking fireplace like this, you may wish to go more simple with decor.

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  • 05 of 25

    Style a Stack

    stack of books in fireplace

    Shelby / Instagram

    Blogger and Instagrammer Shelby artfully displayed books on the inside of her faux mantel. A stack of regular novels can look extra sophisticated when the spines are turned inward.

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  • 06 of 25

    Get Intricate

    book stacks in mantel

    Mallory Fletchall / Instagram

    Standing books upright can be a wonderful way to showcase them. Instagrammer Mallory Fletchall topped off one of her stacks with a vase, adding some cheery color to the mix.

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  • 07 of 25

    Showcase Some Plants

    plant in fire

    Leslie / Instagram

    It never hurts to give your plants some extra attention! Blogger and Instagrammer Leslie set a vibrant fern front and center in her fireplace. And if you don't have a green thumn, fake plants will look just as beautiful as real ones.

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  • 08 of 25

    Put Up Some Paper

    paper on back of mantel

    Paige

    Papering the back of one's faux mantel is a popular choice, whether you choose to print out quotes or just opt for random text. Instagrammer Paige's setup looks nice and rustic.

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  • 09 of 25

    Station a Stool

    white brick fireplace

    Tina and Taylor / Instagram

    One positive about having a nonworking fireplace? There's no risk when it comes to placing furniture right in front of it, so go ahead and use the space for extra seating. Instagrammers Tina and Taylor put a stool in front of the fireplace, which adds country charm but is also nice and functional.

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  • 10 of 25

    Bring Out a Bench

    bench and books

    Tracy / Instagram

    Alternatively, opt for a larger bench that can be pushed right up against the mantel and use it to style a fun display. Designer Tracy covered hers with colorful coffee table books.

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  • 11 of 25

    Group Your Ginger Jars

    ginger jars in front of fireplace

    Meredith / Instagram

    The base of a nonworking fireplace makes for a fabulous spot to display a collection. In the case of Instagrammer Meredith, that meant busting out the ginger jars!

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  • 12 of 25

    Let It Glow

    lanterns and candles in fireplace

    Holly

    If you like the look of candles but are itching to incorporate a little more variety, look no further than Instagrammer Holly's setup, which features a mix of lanterns as well as a few plain candles. The assortment of designs adds plenty of character.

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  • 13 of 25

    Sort It Out

    fireplace storage

    Elle / Instagram

    Instagrammer Elle placed a sweet wooden piece with cubby sized compartments inside of her fireplace, and the slots make for fun (and kid-friendly) toy storage.

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  • 14 of 25

    Try Some Chalk

    chalkboard in fireplace

    Kalyn / Instagram

    The back of the fireplace makes for a lovely spot to either hang a chalkboard or add some chalkboard paint. Instagrammer Kalyn shows how easy it is to integrate the board into a holiday setup, too.

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  • 15 of 25

    Display Dried Flowers

    dried flowers in fire place

    Jessica / Instagram

    Dried flowers are a type of decor that we don't forsee tiring of anytime soon. Instagrammer Jessica placed an oversized vase of them in the center of her nonworking fireplace for an easy yet impactful fix.

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  • 16 of 25

    Stack It Up

    benches in front of fireplace

    Christina / Instagram

    One bench is lovely, but there's nothing wrong with a stack of two, either! Instagrammer Christina created a charming setup with a couple of petite seats. Bonus, you can pull them out as extra seats when guests come over.

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  • 17 of 25

    Add Some Wallpaper

    flower paper on back of mantel

    Megan / Instagram

    Covering the back of your mantel brings tons of pep and color to the room its in. Instagrammer Megan opted for a floral wrapping paper print that pairs perfectly with the live flowers in the space.

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  • 18 of 25

    Stand It Up

    plant stand and tile in fireplace

    @fourwallsandwinston / Instagram

    Instagrammer @fourwallsandwinston sourced a plant and stand that fit in her small fireplace opening perfectly. The green leaves provide a nice contrast to the black and white tile.

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  • 19 of 25

    Plug It In

    lamp in fireplace

    Mary Jo / Instagram

    If you have an outlet accessible, why not place a lamp inside your fireplace for a quirky—yet quite useful—touch? Designer Mary Jo placed hers atop bed of moss, making the light appear less harsh.

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  • 20 of 25

    Showcase a Face

    bust sculpture in mantel

    Molly Kate / Instagram

    Something as grand as a favorite bust sculpture needs an extra special home. Place it inside the mantel opening like Instagrammer Molly Kate did in her space. It adds some welcome sass—bonus points if you, too, dress your sculpture up with an accessory!

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  • 21 of 25

    Fake Some Brick

    brick wallpaper behind fireplace

    Audrey / Instagram

    Craving a brick backdrop but don't want to go about sourcing the real thing? Take a cue from Instagrammer Audrey and install some brick wallpaper behind your mantel instead.

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  • 22 of 25

    Build Your Own Bookshelf

    books in fireplace

    Carrie / Instagram

    Instagrammer Carrie has chosen to go a bit more over the top and fit books into every open nook and cranny. This setup isn't for those who plan to easily access their favorite novels, but it does bring major cozy, library vibes to any room.

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  • 23 of 25

    Keep It Plain

    plain mantel

    Nichol / Instagram

    If you're more of a minimalist, keep decor to a minimum, particularly if your mantel already features an ornate mirror, as is the case with Instagrammer Nichol. If you have something as fabulous as this mirror, paint the mantel to match the wall to let the real star shine.

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  • 24 of 25

    Jazz Things Up With Wood

    wood panel behind mantel

    Carly / Instagram

    Just because working fireplaces often have brick doesn't mean your non-working one has to have it too. Wood panels also make for beautiful fireplace backing and pair well with farmhouse style rooms like Instagrammer Carly's.

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  • 25 of 25

    Set Out a Basket

    basket with pillows

    Tina and Taylor / Instagram

    Instagrammers Tina and Taylor also styled a fireplace with a basket full of pillows at the bottom—it's an ideal setup for households in which lounging is most definitely encouraged.