Five Ways To Hide An Ugly Fireplace

January 24, 2022

Today I'm sharing five ways to hide an ugly fireplace.

white fireplace ceiling medallion Bergere chair

I'm a HUGE fireplace fan. Always have been, always will be. HOWEVER, some fireplaces warm my heart more than others. I'm inclined to swoon over vintage wood fireplace mantels, and the more bricks involved the better (preferably after German schmearing, of course). But we can't always get what we want. So what's a home decor enthusiast to do if they're stuck with an ugly fireplace?

I have four potential solutions that might work for your ugly fireplace situation. So let's get started.

white faux fireplace

First, lets take a look at the fireplace in question. Ignore the unsightly electrical cord. It's an electric fireplace that I mostly love. It's white. It can fit in a corner. It has character (applique and shiplap similarities). You can read all about it in my blog post 8 Reasons To Buy An Electric Fireplace.

As much as I love it, it's not a real fireplace -- so no actual fire. The black firebox is filled with fake logs that "glow" when turned on. Not real at all. It does put out some heat though. But that black firebox -- aargh! It hurts me to look at it, really.

In the winter I deal with it so that we can enjoy the "fires." But for the other three quarters of the year I like to cover that black box up and forget it's even there.

Now, on to some of my solutions for camouflaging an ugly fireplace. 

Five Ways To Camouflage An Ugly Fireplace 

1. Shutters

Shutters can be great additions to your vintage and/or rustic decor. I'm always on the lookout for vintage shutters -- whether it be at barn sales, flea markets or estate sales.

There's nothing quite like the chippy, shabby look of vintage shutters. They make me wonder about where they came from and how old they really are. 

white flea market vintage shutter

I picked up two of these vintage white, chippy shutters at a flea market, initially for jewelry display at craft shows. (I strategically added teacup hooks to hang necklaces from.) Once I stopped selling my handmade jewelry I found another use for these shutters: fireplace camouflage.

The only problem was that the top and bottom of the shutters had a scrolly element to them, which kept me from being able to place them flat on the ground in front of the fireplace.

So I had Mr. OHH saw off their scrolly ends to make them flat and even.

Easter fireplace mantel white shutters vintage scale

And it worked! They looked and performed spectacularly directly in front of the fireplace, covering up the ugly black fire box. No need to make the arrangement permanent -- I just leaned the shutters against the fireplace. Then I was ready to decorate the shutters in accordance with the seasons!

French decor fireplace Bergere chairs spring wreath ladder basket hydrangeas

You can see them here, decorated for spring. I chose to keep the teacup hooks inserted into the shutters so that I could have an easy way to hang things, like this gorgeous peony wreath. To learn more about this look you can check out Romantic French Farmhouse Spring Mantel.

faux magnolia wreath shutters fireplace

In contrast, for fall, I hung a thrift store magnolia wreath

fauc magnolia wreath Christmas gold bells red berries gold berries

And here's that same wreath decorated for ChristmasThere are so many things you can do to decorate the shutters, the possibilities are endless.

2. Architectural Salvage: Ceiling Medallion

white ceiling medallion

When I purchased this ceiling medallion at Goodwill for $6.99 I wasn't sure what I'd use it for. I just knew I would find a use for it. It gave me a Frenchy vibe. (I later found it selling online for $169.43!)
white fireplace medallion French detailing

Ceiling medallions are used to add architectural interest to ceiling lights and/or chandeliers. The hole in the middle is where the wires and actual lighting go through. The medallion essentially covers the unsightly 'guts' of the lighting itself and helps to dress up your ceiling.

ceiling medallion detailed flowers

Many are quite detailed like this one.

I fell in love with the ornate, scrolly elements like the leaves and flowers. I thought it would make for some lovely Frenchified fireplace camouflage.

The only problem with using this medallion to hide the ugly fireplace box was the pesky hole in the middle. I thought a lot about how to fill that hole.

small square Dollar Tree mirror

After a quick trip to Dollar Tree I came up with my solution: a mirror. The hole was 4 inches in diameter, and the mirror was 5 inches wide. I knew it would work. So I hot glued this square mirror onto the back of the medallion, right over the gaping hole. 

white corner fireplace ceiling medallion mirror

And voila. I think it worked like a charm.

white fireplace chinoiserie ginger jars ceiling medallion with mirror

Just look at all that beautiful detail!

French living room white mantel chinoiserie jars ceiling medallion

Part of me was tempted to paint the ceiling medallion because it was a different shade of white (more cream, really) than the bright white fireplace. But I wasn't totally sold on the idea and I'm glad I held off. I think it's a nice contrast to the bright white AND I think it blends in beautifully with my thrifted French Bergere chair, cream throw and creamy chunky knit pillow.   

While I loved the look of vintage shutters in front of the fireplace, I REALLY loved the look of this medallion and mirror insert!

3. Artwork

white faux fireplace mantel botanical print

For this example I really need to clarify things. Because while I LOVE our master bedroom faux fireplace, and I'd never want to hide it per se, I did accidentally stumble upon a way to do just that while trying to find a place for hanging my daughter's really huge botanical print. I had no available wall space, so the easiest solution seemed to be hanging it in front of the faux fireplace. I mean the space fit. Perfectly.     

I used a hidden 3-M hook to hang it from.

wooden cathedral arches white faux fireplace hanging botanical print

Then I camouflaged the string itself with a leafy garland. I thought the final look was fabulous. You can read all about how I did it in How To Hang A Botanical Print In Front Of a Fireplace.

4. Baskets 

While the tobacco basket alone would have provided some nice camouflage for the faux fireplace, I couldn't help but add a fall fern wreath and faux baby boo pumpkins into the mix. Originally the basket didn't have any handles on it, but I transformed it myself with some simple leather strips. You can read about that transformation in my post Ballard Designs Tobacco Tray Knock-Off.

tobacco basket with leather handles fern wreath white pumpkins

I think the wreath added a je ne sais quoi quality that really sealed the deal for me. Learn how I decorated the fall living room in Farmhouse Living Room Fall Decor.

You can also use other types of baskets, or even trays, to cover up an ugly fireplace. Again, the sky's the limit. Have fun with it!

5. Wild Card Option

pigeon hole cubby furniture Christmas display

I'm calling this the wild card option -- it all depends on the size and shape of your fireplace, as well as the size and shape of any medium to small furniture pieces you might have lying around the house. In my case I was lucky enough to snag a pigeon hole cubby shelving unit at an estate sale that fit almost perfectly in front of our 1990's family room fireplace.

While I love all the brick, I most definitely do not love the brass fireplace surround with glass doors. So when I realized that my new purchase fit so well in that space, I jumped at the chance to use it, decked out in all its Christmas glory. To get a better idea as to how I styled this wall cubby unit for Christmas you can check out Vintage-Inspired Pigeon Hole Cubby Christmas Display 

As for this wild card option, just like the others above, the possibilities are endless -- you can use any small piece of furniture to "obscure" the fireplace, or draw attention away from the features you don't like. 

Get creative! I've seen benches, footstools, wooden boxes, large baskets filled with pillows and throws, and even window frames (one of my faves) used to create a focal point that covers the fireplace opening and adds some extra visual interest.   

Well, that's it for today, friends!

I hope you enjoyed reading about 

Five Ways To Hide An Ugly Fireplace

and that I've inspired you in some way.   

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white fireplace ceiling medallion French Bergere chair

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Leave a Comment!

Rachel said...

Kathleen! How creative!! That ceiling medallion is brilliant...what a pretty way to use that! I feel you on the gold fireplace doors...we had that for years and then my husband had the idea to paint them with high heat spray the kind you can use to paint a grill. We found it at Home Depot and we just taped off the glass, sprayed the gold, and it looks like a whole new fireplace. Just an idea to try if you want the gold gone!!
Thanks for sharing today...such lovely ideas!

My thrift store addiction said...

Great ideas, Kathleen! I don't know if you remember, buy my faux fireplace is very similar to yours. Since I don't have the heatbox, I attached a vintage door remnant to the space between the wall and fireplace, so no more black hole, lol. I absolutely love the botanical print options!

Crystal Grandeur said...

Thank you for stopping by and to drop a comment in your busy schedule. Thank you for hosting the link parties. The white flowers in my one of the post are wild flowers which blooms during this time of the year. Also just our thanks giving festival went by giving thanks to sun god and the cattles. We use this flower for the festivities. Love sujatha:)

Janet said...

I love your solutions for hiding an ugly fireplace box. I love the ceiling medallion but I'm sure it will take time to find something like that. My daughter is an artist so I've commissioned her to make a special painting for this place after seeing your botanical painting on yours. Thanks for sharing.

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