...because home doesn't happen overnight.

studio matsalla fireplace 1

I receive emails from readers all the time asking for advice on particularly troublesome areas in their homes. Unfortunately, I’m not able to respond to each one, but a problematic area that keeps popping up is the pesky angled fireplace. I would never suggest an angled fireplace in a new build, but sometimes they’re inevitable in homes bought by successive owners. The good news is I don’t think an angled fireplace should be a deal breaker if other attributes of the home are desirable: location, layout, size, price, potential, etc. In fact, they can really amp up the cozy factor in a space. Personally, I’ve never lived in a home with an angled fireplace, but I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on working around one. If I ever end up with an angled fireplace, there are a few general guidelines (no hard and fast rules) I would follow.

amber lewis fireplace 2

clj fireplace

Update an angled fireplace, but don’t make it the star of the room. If an outdated surround is cramping your style, feel free to give it a fresh coat of paint, add trim, upgrade the mantel and/or install new tile on the surround or hearth to better suit your aesthetic. Keep the updates simple so that the fireplace melds with the rest of the space without creating a distracting focal point in a corner. If you opt for a mantel, keep it shallow. Amber Lewis painted the stone fireplace in her previous living room, while Julia and Chris Marcum added basic trim and paint to a contemporary version in their basement family room. In spaces where you don’t want the corner of a room taking center stage, allow the fireplace to become part of the background.

amber fireplace 3

rafterhouse fireplace

Don’t arrange main furniture pieces parallel to an angled fireplace. It’s so tempting to orient a sofa facing the fireplace. However, when dealing with an angled fireplace, it’s better to place the sofa on OR facing another wall in the room to establish a conversation area. This creates a more practical and appealing layout.

makerista angled fireplace

makerista fireplace 1

amber lewis fireplace 1

Balance an angled fireplace with adjacent built-ins, shelving, a large window, french/sliding doors or furniture items similar in scale to the fireplace. In other words, place something of similar size on a wall at 135° in relation to the fireplace. This keeps your eye traveling around the room instead of dead-ending in a corner. In essence, you are creating a new focal point while still benefitting from the coziness a fireplace can provide. Gwen Hefner designed built-ins using IKEA bookcases for a client’s living room. If desired, you could bring in a media cabinet and TV instead. I wouldn’t recommend placing a TV above an angled fireplace!

studio matsalla fireplace 2

Keep fireplace accessories to a minimum. Placing a small accent chair, ottoman, planter or basket near the fireplace can help soften awkward angles. Just make sure you aren’t drawing unnecessary attention to the corner. Hang a simple mirror or piece of artwork above the mantel, or just leave it bare. This is one time you don’t want to layer a bunch of accessories on the mantel. Studio Matsalla added patterned cement tile to an angled fireplace but opted out of a mantel. A modern planter and round mirror are subtle decorative accents. (You can see how this fireplace fits into the bigger picture in the very first image of this post.)

I hope this gives those of you struggling with angled fireplaces some ideas! No need to sell your house ;)

images: 1,9) Studio Matsalla 2,4,8) design by Amber Interiors; photography by Bryce Covey for Style Me Pretty 3) Chris Loves Julia 5) Rafterhouse 6,7) The Makerista



I love that first picture – the fireplace, the whole apartment – just beautiful. They really did a good job making that fireplace a focal point while maintaining the aesthetic of the room.

Yikes! I hate to say it, but the person who painted that natural stone fireplace white should have their license to use a paintbrush revoked. I like painted brick in some settings, but you really have to be committed to the look if you do it since it’s tough/impossible to go back. But painting natural stone? Just no. I can’t imagine that looking good in any setting. If you hate the color that much, just reface it. Some things aren’t meant to be painted. LOL Those black and white striped baskets on the media console aren’t helping either. Looks like a bunch of prison uniforms stacked on the shelves. I’ve been to her site before and seen some beautiful rooms, but this one looked better before she painted that fireplace and swapped out the console.


Is it weird that I like the fireplace in the corner so that I have more flexibility with the placement of the TV?


Nope, not weird at all. I would rather have a TV on a wall/media stand than above a fireplace. Actually, I’d rather just get rid of the TV all together but then all the people I live with would hate me.


Great advice!!!as always!!!
But what about a mantel centered in a living room? (Where you struggle to fit in a dining area and a sitting one??)


This post was just what I needed to read! Great inspiration photos. My in-process new build home has a corner fireplace like many of the new build homes we’ve seen. WHY are they so popular with builders? I’m guessing people want fireplaces and they’re easier to build into corners than to build into the center of a wall? We’re adding built-in shelves/media center on the adjacent wall which will hopefully take the focus off the fireplace.


Oh I feel ya, I would much rather get rid of the TV than wondering where to put it.


Love what you did with this fireplace! Where did you find the mirror? And what is the size of it?