How many ways can you re-function a non-functional fireplace?

September 12 | offbeatbride

non-functional fireplaces are a great place to show off art

After reading the post "my dog sleeps in the fireplace," I realized that there are probably TONS of different uses for non-functional fireplaces.

Coincidentally, I am moving in a month into an apartment that has four (yes, FOUR) non-functioning fireplaces. There's one in the living room, one in each of two bedrooms, and one in the kitchen.

I would LOVE to hear suggestions on what to do/how to decorate our non-functional fireplaces! -Kelly

The photo up above is my friend Drew's non-functional fireplace. He told me that he didn't want to use candles in the hearth, so I grabbed a bright painting (because it's dark in there) and set it inside. He was pleased, and so was I, because I think fireplaces are a great place to display art! (Also, bonus points for the fact that Drew was watching Saved by the Bell when I asked him to send me a pic.)

Here are some other ideas from Offbeat Homies past…

P1020172Position your bed in front of a non-functioning fireplace, and use it as an awesome headboard.

pixelated fireOr add a pixelated fire to your non-working fireplace.

8443408834_a1687cff26Our darling Sarakenobi had a plan: "Since there is no flue, I decided the fireplace was nonfunctioning. I painted the inside of it with fireproof paint, and I put my first nerdy thing in there โ€” a painting of fire with the word "Incendio" which is a fire spell from Harry Potter."

Uttermost Fedora Table Top CandelabraOr get some actual fire up in there with a funky candelabra like this guy.


MG's fireplace didn't work, so she piled her books in that space. (That was before selling everything she owned and moving to another country.) Ooh, or you could install shelves and turn it into a proper built-in book shelf!

Resin Tealight Fireplace Log
I'm also super-digging these Resin Tealight Fireplace Logs, if you still want it to retain its fireplace-y style.

Convert-to-Gel LogFinally, this is the option I'd use — the Real Flame, 24", Convert-to-Gel Log Set. That way I could still have an ACTUAL fire going, without all the smoke that would, you know, kill you.

So what are y'all doing with your non-functional fireplaces?

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  1. Ok… so this is really dependent on how much you are able to change your space. My bedroom in highschool had a large fireplace and my parents actually ripped out the entire bedroom facing side of it, sealed it, and turned it into a built floor-to-ceiling book case. It was pretty awesome but isn't an easy fix.

    2 agree
  2. I have one that was never intended to work, as there is no vent. It was built in my basement and had a gas heater thing in it when the house was bought. For years I had a massive candle pile that I burned on a piece of marble (sorry, no pics). I did have a dresser that fit perfectly, until my basement flooded and a tossed it out. It currently has a bed against, which frames it lovely

  3. Yay! Thank you for posting this. I never even thought to put my bed against the fireplace – and that has been one of our biggest battles (trying to figure out where to put the bed and dressers with this big fireplace taking up one of the walls). Can't wait to hear the rest of the responses. Thanks again homies!

    4 agree
    • A bonus of putting the bed against it, is that if there is a chimney draft, the bed sortof stops it up and keeps the drafts out.

      1 agrees
  4. OMG, SO MANY THINGS. In our old house (and our new house, incidentally, the fireplaces just had a big ol space. first thing we did at the old house was fill it with TONS of pillar candles, all different sizes and widths. I called it my Buffy Shrine, because it reminded me of all the candles Angel always had burning.

    Then we got a dog, so live flames at dog level were not the best idea, so we replaced it with this giant Silver coated branch that we got on sale in a homewares store. It was meant to be a candle holder, but we only used it for that once or twice. It looked like this: http://st.houzz.com/simgs/e421ebf30ea20666_4-3938/eclectic-candles-and-candle-holders.jpg

    We also hung little tealight holders from the Inside of the top of it, which we could safely put tealights in. (I tried to find a picture but couldn't – sorry).

    We also played with having a selection of pictures and photo frames in there.

    At our new house, there is only a small space, so we have filled it with the boys collection of random antlers which he collected from a local park and also from Christmas markets. I would love more ideas though!

    1 agrees
    • We also put pillar candles of different sizes in ours – so lovely and cozy in winter.

  5. So they make electric faux logs that have flickering lights inside them to look like real fireplaces. They're one of those wonderfully kitschy items that I see in every antique store around here. I just went to Amazon to find one, and came across this bad boy by Duraflame. It has a heater built in! So you not only get the fake fireplace look, you get the heat!

    6 agree
    • After a faulty fireplace burned down one of the buildings in my complex, our condo association sealed everyone's fireplaces off. The required upgrade would have been $10,000 to meet the board's approval (we lived on the bottom floor of a very tall building). We installed an electrical outlet in the fireplace and bought the duraflame insert. It was awesome! It had an adjustable blower and really kept the space warm.

      1 agrees
    • They still make these! My grandparents used to have an old electric log like this, but without the heating element.

  6. In an old Britcom, I saw a character who put dried floral arrangements in her fireplace during the summer months.

    2 agree
  7. To childproof a fireplace that we never used anyway, we just cut a piece of plywood to fit, painted it with chalkboard paint, and attached it with super heavy duty magnets. Instant child-friendly artspace that is easily removable in case we decide to ever use the fireplace for its intended purpose!

    9 agree
  8. I've seen unused fireplaces also act as a space for seasonal decor. Jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, tiny Christmas tree in the winter, etc.

    5 agree
  9. Our new house has a non functioning fireplace and no mantle. It's also in the kid-space. So I pushed the toy box against it. The shelf of the toy box is like the non existent mantle and the box itself keeps little ones out.

  10. My aunt and uncle in law have a functional fireplace that they place black seashells in during the summer. It can be a really cool display space.

  11. My family's fireplace is functional, but unwanted so my mom uses it as an extension of her mantle decorations; usually it has the wire log rack thing covered in lights and seasonal decor.

  12. Ours just has a giant painting leaning against it right now. I've seen some that I liked that have firewood stacked up inside to fill the space, so you just see the ends of the logs. I think one of the pictures I saw had painted them all white, which I suppose is an option if you don't like the woodsy look.

  13. A cat bed or small dog bed will fit very nicely. If your fireplace happens to be gigantic (like in my grandparent's Victorian house) a large dog could even be tucked into the fireplace. I put my kids' toy box in mine. Keeps me from tripping over it!

    At Christmas it turns into a display place for my bottle brush trees.

  14. Has anyone thrown in some plush pillows and turned it into a reading cozy? I would love to see if that works

    • oooh that sounds like an awesome idea!!

      I am officially moving next Friday. I will update you all with some pics when we decide what to do with all of our fireplaces. Thank you guys for all of your input!!!

  15. We have a mirror in our non-functioning fireplace, as it's just the right height for our little guy to see himself while he's playing on the floor (toddler-narcissism = always entertaining!)

    My parents have made an awesome built-in wine rack out of theirs ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. I found a cabinet with no door cheap in the ikea as-is section that fits into the fireplace space. I added two magnet strips (the kind for holding knives in the kitchen) and attached an oil drip pan from the auto parts store. The pan is magically the exact size of the opening. I gave the pan a couple coats of chalkboard paint, and now it is a magnetic chalkboard for my son and storage inside. The magnets are strong enough to keep a curious toddler out.

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