Focal points in a room help ground a space and orient peoples’ activities in it.  In the next few blogs, we will explore the focal point as a layer, beginning with the most natural one of them all…

The Fireplace.

Now that you have a color palette in hand (see color post), how do you apply it to your room?  You don’t have to paint the entire room your favorite color – and many people opt not to.  (This goes with wallpaper, but we’ll be discussing that in more detail in a coming blog)

You can use a paint color to accentuate a natural focal point in the room, such as this fireplace.

Here is a before picture, of a recent project of ours.  You can see that, while the fireplace is nice, it fades into the background.

Before

After

You can see how the addition of my client’s favorite color, sage green (also one of the Pantone Colors of the Year), with a little gold trim, offsets the mantel, which we brightened up a touch with a warm white. Now the lovely original marble surround really comes through!

Although the fireplace is a natural focal point, you can accentuate it with the materials you apply to it. You can also do this in layers, over time. 

This client had us design a new wooden surround for her fireplace during a renovation of her living spaces.

Before

After

We also reclaimed the space before the fireplace for the living room, once we opened it up. A fireplace wants people to sit by it, and enjoy it. Even a simple white painted wooden surround can be dramatically accentuated by black slate tile, pulling the eye in.

Other trends I am seeing with fireplaces right now are –

The picture frame fireplace (this one’s hot off the press – a lawyer’s office client of ours) – can you say DECO? This one’s so ‘now‘ …And we did it last year!

I adore the soft sage grey hand fired tile we used for the surround, to blend with the office’s vintage East Nashville environs.

I don’t know whether fireplaces in offices are a trend, but I’m definitely loving this one (upstairs office of my lawyer clients). Same tile, and a gas fireplace and surround that reads like the old-timey coal fireplaces that fill the original bungalow houses of this neighborhood.

This is a spec house of ours, also recently done. The drama is all in that dark mantel contrasting with the soft white painted brick texture.

On my Pinterest board… 

And here are three trending fireplace designs worth mentioning. Floor to ceiling stone fireplaces, corner fireplaces and of course, concrete designed fireplaces. 

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