If the room where the fireplace is located has a lot of design elements going on, sometimes a simple fireplace surround is the best compliment to the space.
When choosing to tile the fireplace surround, it’s important to take the rest of the space into consideration. The fireplace design is an important feature in the living room, and should flow smoothly into the rest of the room, creating a visual resting place for the eye, as well as gathering space for family and guests. These simple fireplace design ideas can compliment a wide variety of styles, while not competing with other design elements in the room.
Use Large Tiles and Keep Grout Lines Thin
One way to keep the design as simple as possible is to limit the amount of grout lines seen in the space. This can be accomplished by using a tile the exact width of the surround legs, or cutting a larger tile down to the correct width. Use the same tile in a larger or uncut size on the fireplace hearth to create a seamless, unbroken affect.
Look for 12” marble tiles with subtle veining and cut them length wise to fit the space. Or try using tiles with very clean edges that can be butted up against one another, in the exact width of the fireplace legs, stacking the tiles on top of one another. This look works well if choosing a tile that has some movement or pattern to it. Marbles, slates and variegated ceramic tiles will work better in a simple space if there are fewer tiles and fewer grout lines.
Keep One Colour Throughout
Another way to keep the fireplace surround simple, while still giving it some design and interest is to keep one colour of tile throughout the design. This method works well if mixing different sizes of tiles, mosaics, or creating any kind of pattern with the tiles, such as a running bond made with subway tiles.
Keeping the colours consistent allows the pattern or design of the tiles to come through. Relief tiles, with designs embedded or carved into them, can be placed amongst a field of tiles in the same colour, to add interest without making the space too busy. Or take several sizes of one colour tile, and piece them together like a puzzle, with square and rectangular tiles being placed at different angles to each other. Tile the hearth in one size of the same colour to tie the two together.
Keep Borders to the Inside
If just a touch of design or interest is desired, try using a thin, decorative border around the firebox opening. Tile the remaining area with a solid colour tile that picks up one of the colours in the border. Repeat the border again around the edge of the hearth, where it meets the rest of the flooring, to cement the look.
Try mixing materials, and using a polished marble mosaic border in a simple design with honed stone, or porcelain tiles filling the remainder of the space. The light from a fire will hit the polished pieces, bringing them to life and showing of the space without overwhelming the viewer.
Using a border of relief ceramic tiles in the same colour as the field tiles surrounding them can bring just a hint of interest to the space, without necessarily attracting the eye. This method works well for anyone that wants the fireplace to simply fade into the background of the room, but have some design elements to be seen when the firebox is in use.
Any material at all can be used on a fireplace surround, or on the interior of a firebox. Ceramic, glass, and stone tiles, are formed using much higher temperatures than will be generated by normal fireplace use, so don’t be afraid to put decorative elements right up to the firebox, or on its interior. Pull colours and design elements from those already in place in the room to ensure that the fireplace blends well with current home designs, and enjoy the subtle beauty of the fireplace design for years to come.