How to Design a Fireplace Wall

How to Design a Fireplace Wall

How to Design a Fireplace Wall

One of the best things about a fireplace mantle is that it creates the perfect natural accent wall for any room. But unlike other accent walls, it might constrain your creativity to have an immovable object right in the center. But stop stressing! If you're wondering how to design a fireplace wall, we'll outline some ways to approach your wall, as well as some of our favorite design ideas. If you've decided to install a fireplace, but don't have one out, here's a guide to helping you figure out a fireplace style.

chic living room with fireplace

Whether your style is more traditional, modern, farmhouse, minimalist, classic, or something completely different, a living room with a fireplace is a beautiful and welcoming thing. To start, make sure you know what you have to work with—if your fireplace is flush with the wall or if it has a full mantle framing. You'll also want to decide which pieces will get decorated and which won't.

Also, the material of the mantle or fireplace is made out of will greatly influence your design ideas. If you're happy with the look of the fireplace, then fantastic! If not, maybe consider stripping the drywall so you can get down to the exposed brick, or consider removing the mantle and making the fireplace box flush with the wall for a more modern look. You can also consider install shelving or a different mantlepiece, as we'll hit on below.

If you're happy with your mantle-framed fireplace, some of our favorite fireplace wall ideas will help make your mantle stand out.

Pop of Color

classic green-hued living room with fireplace

Paint the back wall behind the fireplace in a dark, rich color, but don't include the mantle. This can make the mantle and glowing hearth stand out no matter what time of day. Or switch it and paint the mantle a color that brings out other accents in the room and keeps the back wall the same color as the other walls in the room.

Au Naturel

If you want something more natural-looking, consider stripping the drywall out to reveal the beautiful brick underneath the chimney (if your home has this!) You can even consider painting the brick either a dark black or white to add some contrast. If your wall doesn't have brick underneath, you can now install wall vinyl that mimics brick to give you the perfect farmhouse look.

On the other hand, if you like a natural look but not brick, you can install vinyl to mimic concrete or stone. Slate or concrete has become a big hit in recent years, and you can either choose to install the tiles yourself, get a professional, or install a mural that looks exactly like the stone. No one will ever know, except you, who saved a headache and some cash. Or, install slats of reclaimed wood for a real seaside, organic feel. Clay tiles are also a great option for giving your space an earthy and natural ambiance.

A different take on the au naturel look would be to install a copper mantle to frame your hearth. Copper is a great metal to choose as it can add to the warm look of the hearth. It can also become a beautiful centerpiece. Be sure to match any artwork frames or other accents throughout the room with copper or another metal that will accent it well.


Whether your fireplace has a mantle or not, one great idea for how to design a fireplace wall is to add a bit of color and pattern in. You can wallpaper the back wall of a fireplace with a fun and quirky geometric wallpaper, or install herringbone tile to frame the fireplace. Mosaic tile around the actual hearth can also be a great minimalist but long-lasting change that will stand the test of time. You can also wallpaper the space between the mantle frame and the actual hearth, keeping the wall free for a clock or mirror. Want a more minimalist look, frame a stunning piece of artwork, and place that over your fireplace, keeping the space and area around it simply white.

Wall Mural

accent wall ideas for small dining rooms

For a simple idea of how to design a fireplace wall, you can create a wall mural with vinyl. Pick from thousands of images at LimitLess Walls to find a stunning nature landscape that can fit around or above your fireplace. Choose a stunning macro shot of a flower or agate, or a mystic forest scene to give your space more than just a cozy feeling. Give it something that really stands out.

Shelvingholiday decorated fireplace with shelves

If your fireplace is flush with the wall and doesn't have a mantle, consider installing floating shelves above the fireplace. You can use the shelves to highlight some of your favorite trinkets or a fond collection. Pair the shelf with some beautiful artwork, a mirror, or a clock to complete the look.

Another great shelving idea is to install built-in shelves on both sides of the fireplace. You can then use the fireplace a focal point and fill the shelves with antique leather-bound books, vases of perennials, a china set, or any other collection you have. These shelves naturally become a display cabinet for your favorite objects. Remember only to put up items that will complement the whole look, and that won't become cluttered with use or wear (maybe keep the toys in the nursery).

Old School

If you want a more traditional look, install a mantle with beautifully carved features that resemble an era of the past. This can make your living room feel truly regal and give the room a strong, warm feeling. Paint the back wall a dark and broody color like black or a charcoal gray to help the carved piece stand out and become the center of attention and your guests' eyes.

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