Using long tiles cut to fit, this historic herringbone pattern enhances a contemporary fireplace in style.
Stone and wood are natural materials that define rustic style.
Create a striking shape around the fireplace with stucco walls and arches.

There is no doubt that a fireplace creates a central focal point to any room that it is in. Fire is like a magnet and has an irresistible pull. However, when the weather turns warm the unlit fireplace shouldn’t look bleak or naked. Here are some options for creating a focal wall that is stunning all year round with or without crackling flames.

The material that makes up the fireplace surround helps to determine how you decorate. Tile is a stunning choice as there are so many design options — rustic clay tiles, famous blue and white Delft tiles, glass and mirror tiles to name a few. The tiles can be set in a traditional linear pattern. Or make a big statement by producing a wall with rectangular marble tiles set in a herringbone pattern. The contemporary style seen here captures two design aspects that are on trend today. The historic herringbone pattern is showing up not just on floors but decorating walls. And ombre, the effect of progressing from dark to light shades, makes the pattern even more pronounced. The fire is simply framed and there is no mantel shelf to interrupt the clean lines.

Stone fireplace surrounds have a weighty aspect that suits a rustic space. Its solid appearance feels protective and works well with other natural components. Wooden storage cabinets that flank the stone as well as the floating wood mantel shelf adds warmth and breaks up all that grey. When filling shelves beside an imposing fireplace surround, keep a balance between the weight of the stone and the accessories you choose. Small collections will get lost. Two shelf lamps shed a softening, cozy light.

Architectural details and shapes can produce a distinctive wall that is picturesque all year round. Here, stucco walls show off graceful curves that soar to the high ceiling. Decoration above the fire is simple but solid. The shelves are topped with arches. All-white surfaces show off the distinctive lines and crown moulding.

Here are a few tips for creating your fabulous fireplace wall. Keep the space above the firepit in proper perspective. Do you have a large fire pit or a small insert? Balance the fireplace surround with shelves and storage. The mantel shelf and side shelves are perfect for displaying your favourite framed photos, books, and memorabilia, but edit your arrangement. Clutter will ruin the overall effect. Install lights on either side of the fire or inside the shelves. This soft lighting will create a gentle, comforting mood with or without the aid of a fire. Battery operated pillar candles are a safe way to add a glow beside and above the mantel. You can downplay the linear designs of tiles or wood by injecting round shapes over the fire such as a framed oval mirror, or woven frames. These will also add dimension to a flat surface. In place of shelves or storage beside the fireplace, decorate the plain walls with architectural mouldings. Or design an intriguing display of artwork. If you have a small fireplace situated low down on a high wall, fill the upper space with a large painting or wallhanging so that the eye is naturally drawn up to a captivating scene.