Decorating and Design by Jessica Bonness

What do these things have to do with a fireplace?

Jessica Bonness runs JGB Interiors and will answer PoP reader questions about decorating and design. If you have a question send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com and write ‘design question’ in the title.

Fall is (almost) here, which means a lot of socializing is going to be shifting from the pool to the fireplace. But what if your fireplace is ugly? Or what if your fireplace doesn’t work? Or what if you have an 18 month old like I do, and you’re afraid to light a fire that he can access for fear that he’ll throw himself into it “for fun?”

Here are some ideas to keep your hearth glowing throughout the colder months…at least with style.

1.) Do a mini-renovation: If you’ve got an anti-interesting fireplace – you know, flush with the wall, no molding, no mantle – try running with that. Paint the fireplace wall, or a vertical column of it, with chalkboard paint. Use mosaic tile like the kind typically seen on a kitchen backsplash. Mount pictures ledges over the opening to create an alternative mantle, and place art and curios on them. Just make sure your applications are as heatproof as they are stylish.

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2.) Get festive: In October and November, put pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns in your fireplace for display. Bonus: these are safe from your pumpkin smashing-neighbors.

3.) Light it up, sort of: Make an arrangement of chunky, colorful, different-sized candles. If your fireplace is really clean, run an extension cord over to it, tangle a bunch of Christmas lights together, plug them in, and you’ll have a tumbleweed of colors take the place of a fire.

4.) Fill it with wood: Cut branches and logs are really popular right now in home decor, so find yourself some intact little logs and stack them like puzzle pieces to fill your fireplace. Nature can be the best art sometimes.

If you have pictures of your fireplace makeovers, don’t forget to submit them to the PoPville flickr pool! And keep your design questions coming.

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