10 clever chimney breast ideas

If you're looking for chimney breast ideas, you've come to the right blog!

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

We moved in to our 1930s fixer upper in 2016 and we've been renovating it – from grantastic to fantastic! –ever since. What sold the property to us in the first place were the period features, the deep alcoves and wide chimney breasts. They were untouched and primed for us to experiment on with different chimney breast and alcove ideas.

With 4 rooms of this house having chimney breasts, I got lots of opportunity to try different ways of decorating them, so in this post I want to share 10 chimney breast ideas to help get you inspired for ways to decorate yours!

Chimney breast ideas

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

1. Inset cooker

If the chimney breast you want to decorate is situated in the kitchen like one of ours, a fantastic use of space is to open up a portion of the wall and fit a freestanding or counter-top stove within it. Here we've been able to maximise worktop space elsewhere in the room, and make a real feature of the chimney breast.

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

2. Fit a wood burning stove

An obvious one but not to be discounted too quickly as it will add value to your property. Fitting a wood burning stove was one of the first jobs we did in our house after removing the chunky 30s fireplace in the living room. Aside from the value it has added, it's cleaner and safer than an open fire, and brings a focal point to work around when decorating the living room.

What about cost? Well, as renovation work goes, it was fairly inexpensive to install. I’ve listed all our renovation costs, itemised in this planner.

Chimney breast storage ideas

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

IMAGE: FIFI MCGEE

3. Go bespoke with built in shelves

Another way to add value (and a whole load of character!) to your chimney breast is by getting bespoke shelves built in to your alcoves. We commissioned a local carpenter to design us the ultimate chimney breast storage plan. Our alcove system perfectly fits our (questionably oversized!) TV, sound bar, logs, kindling, and has plenty of storage for family photos, plants, books and more!

IMAGE: IDEAL HOME

IMAGE: IDEAL HOME

4. Tighter budget? Freestanding furniture

If you're adamant you want chimney breast storage but you don't have the budget to get something built bespoke, freestanding furniture can look incredible and provide you with permanent or temporary storage space that's easy to change up or move elsewhere in the room when you fancy a change. Versatility is always a good thing!

IMAGE CREDIT: @SEMI_in_suburbia

IMAGE CREDIT: @SEMI_in_suburbia

5. Double wardrobe it

Decorating a master bedroom? A wardrobe each is the dream. One for you, one for the other half... but when your chimney breast takes a lot of space in the bedroom it can be tricky to know where to place wardrobes, the bed, chest of drawers and more. Layout can be a headache. That's why built in alcove storage like these double wardrobes either side of the chimney breast are high on our priority list when we come to renovate the final room in our house.

Chimney breast ideas without a fireplace

IMAGE CREDIT: RVK_LOVES

IMAGE CREDIT: RVK_LOVES

6. Log it up!

For when you're truly strapped for cash and need a quick, easy way to decorate your chimney breast without a fireplace, there are lots of affordable ideas you can try. The first I’d be thinking about is positioning seasoned logs within the opening of the chimney breast for rustic charm. It instantly makes the room feel cosy, and works in all areas of the house, from the bedroom, dining room to the living room.

IMAGE CREDIT: @OURBURFORDHOME

IMAGE CREDIT: @OURBURFORDHOME

IMAGE CREDIT: @OURBURFORDHOME

IMAGE CREDIT: @OURBURFORDHOME

7. Play stylist

Another more affordable chimney breast idea if you don't have a fireplace, is to decorate the area with candles, lanterns, bunting and vases. You can really work wonders with a few carefully selected home accessories, especially if you have a nice mantle to perch things on.

Chimney breast paint ideas

IMAGE CREDIT: FIFI MCGEE

IMAGE CREDIT: FIFI MCGEE

8. Paint the alcoves a feature colour

If you're looking for a way to make your chimney breast a focal point using paint, there are lots of different techniques you can try. The first is painting the alcoves a different colour to the rest of the room. We painted the alcoves in our old flat Farrow and Ball’s Eating Room Red and kept the rest of the room neutral with oak floors. The use of colour gave such good depth to the room, made it cosy to chill in, and at a time when we didn't want to invest in a lot of money in improving the flat, it was such an affordable solution.

IMAGE CREDIT: MORRIS & CO

IMAGE CREDIT: MORRIS & CO

9. Wallpaper the chimney

I personally adore this look – when homeowners decide to wallpaper their chimney breast with an incredible pattern instead of paint. If I was handier with the ol' cutting and pasting I'd have done this in our living room, but alas my skills aren't there yet! If you're the same, how about trying your hand at wallpapering a 'less important' chimney breast like the bedroom, where it's not such a big deal if your edges aren't perfect. At least then you won't find yourself staring at your mistakes when you’re watching TV in the living room!

IMAGE CREDIT: @GIRLFROMBELFASTCITY

IMAGE CREDIT: @GIRLFROMBELFASTCITY

10. The all-one-colour look

If your chimney breast is in a fairly modest size room, you might worry that adding shelves and reinstating period details like coving and fireplaces will make the space smaller. And that's true to an extent. There's different design ideas you can adopt to combat this though. If you're laying a hearth for example, make sure it doesn't extend too far into the centre of the room, keep it narrow, so you have more walking space. Also consider painting your walls, shelves and skirting all one colour to give the illusion of one large space.

I hope this has given you lots of ideas for decorating your chimney breast! If you're interested in what sort of costs are involved with projects like this, you may want to read How much does it cost to renovate a house? or visit my itemised costs for our house renovation.

There are so many posts on my blog, as well as downloadable resources in my shop to help you during this exciting time decorating a house, so please do have a look around :)

Thanks for reading!

Fifi xoxo