Fireplaces are a popular feature in both traditional and modern homes. Though once they were meant to provide heat and light, their purpose has become more aesthetical these days. While you can still use them to light a fire, you do it to create a charming atmosphere rather than because you’re cold.
Sitting by a blazing fireplace can be very comfortable, especially during the winter months. One of the most important fireplace components is the hearth. This part covers the floor as well as the walls. It has a protective function, preventing fire and embers from singing the surroundings.
But while the hearth exists to contain the fire, that doesn’t mean it can’t look good. With the right design, a hearth can set your home on fire (figuratively speaking, of course). But what does the right design entail?
In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the best fireplace hearth ideas that will truly transform your home.
Fireplace hearth ideas
Make it feel alive
Image source: Pritzkat & Johnson Architects
The most innovative fireplace hearths are wrapped in plant life. This makes the room feel alive as if you were sitting in a sunroom. Moreover, spending time near this much green can calm your mind.
The contrast of white and black helps the green stand out. Whether you wish to use real plants or fake ones is up to you. While nothing can mimic real house plants, you may not have the time necessary to maintain them.
Stick to the rustic classics
Image source: ID Studio Interiors
Sometimes, a classic idea can be the most innovative one. Going with good old stone tiles can give your room that charming rustic look you remember so fondly from your childhood. Although the hearth design is simple, it remains timeless even all these years later.
If you decide to go for this option, make sure you pick a stone color that matches your floor tiles.
Go for the standard tile design
Image source: Pewabic Pottery
Tiled fireplace hearths are probably the most common ones out there. You can’t go wrong with this option. While most people use a single tile type across the entire hearth, you can mix it up a bit. Using different color tiles allows you to create unique patterns, making your room much more special.
Keep in mind that not all tiles are suitable for fireplaces. When you buy them, make sure they can withstand high temperatures. They can also be tricky to install as any gaps can be dangerous.
Consider painting your hearth to make it match your room
Image source: V.I.Photography & Design
No matter what material you choose, paint can be your best friend. While exposed bricks have their charm, they don’t match every room type. If you wish to take your wood-burning fireplace to the next level, consider coating it with a bit of pain.
Most people use a combination of black and white, especially if they’re going to have a modern look. However, you can experiment with whatever options you want.
Experiment with white bricks
Image source: Markay Johnson Construction
Not all bricks are red/orange. If you wish to create a modern-looking fireplace hearth, consider going with white or beige bricks. These contrast well with darker elements in your room, creating an aura of harmony in your home.
Use slate to create a fairytale look
Image source: Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects
Slate is another popular material when it comes to designing fireplace hearths. Unlike tiles, it appears more rugged. Slate comes in many different sizes, allowing you to experiment with the design as you see fit. Although the most popular color is gray, you can also find other alternatives on the market.
Done right, slate fireplace hearths can look magical like out of a storybook. Slate works well with both wood and gas fireplaces.
Consider raising the hearth
Image source: Simon Whitmore
Another thing you can do with your fireplace hearth is to raise it. Building it a bit higher has several advantages too. For one, it makes it much easier to clean. Regular fireplaces have their hearth set a bit into the floor. Cleaning them doesn’t feel comfortable at all. If you raise the hearth, you won’t ever have this issue.
Image source: Melanie Turner
If you decide to go through with it, you’ll have to avoid a common design flaw. Generally, the smaller your fireplace is, the less you want to raise it. Raising a tiny hearth looks strange. Just picture it. If you want to go tall, you also want to go big.
And finally, this is one of the more expensive fireplace hearth designs out there. Be prepared to splurge a lot on the project.
Frame the hearth
Image source: Fireplace Xtraordinair
Another way you can enhance your hearth is by framing it. Wood panels can be a good hearth extension. Here, try to use contrast to your advantage. If you have a dark room, use light beams. On the contrary, light rooms work best with darker beams.
Use rugged brick to create a retro fireplace hearth
Image source: Louise O’Bryan
Although rugged bricks are a little outdated, they’re perfect for retro-style homes. They’re the best fireplace accessories for creating a raising hearth, which we mentioned earlier. You can also include exposed rugged bricks on another wall in the room to match your unique fireplace hearth.
Use pastel colors to create a cozy fireplace hearth
Image source: Park and Oak
Light pastel colors can transform your fireplace hearth into a comfy corner in your living room. You can decorate it further with pillows and other elements to further enhance the relaxing atmosphere coming from your fireplace.
Consider building a recessed hearth
Image source: DK Studio
A recess hearth is the opposite of a raised one. It’s set deeper into the floor, which leaves more space for your furniture. It’s an excellent design option for when you want to conserve as much space as you possibly can. Recessing it into the floor also leaves more space for hearth rugs and other fireplace tools.
The only downside to this design is the cost. It’s better to know what you’re looking for when you’re building your fireplace hearth. Although you can change it later, it will be even more expensive to do so.
Use graphic tiles if you want to be creative
Image source: Dura Supreme Cabinetry
Although regular tiles work just fine, they’re not for everyone. If you find them too monotonous for your living room, you can use graphic tiles instead. These often come with countless unique patterns that breathe soul into your fireplace hearth. Just make sure you stick to the overall look of your room. Otherwise, your fireplace hearth may look out of place.
Use your fireplace hearth as a decorative fixture
Image source: Colin Poole
While people once used their fireplaces as a source of heat and to cook meals, this is rarely the case today. Unless you’re living the Amish life, you likely have a central heating system in place.
Although using the fireplace during the winter is great for creating an atmosphere, it is a high-maintenance process. You’ll have to constantly restock the logs and clean the ashes. Even worse, you’ll have a good time wiping smoke off the fireplace doors.
If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, you can fill your fireplace hearth with various decorations instead. Who says a fireplace needs to function? Sometimes, the best function it can have is a decorative one.
Experiment with different textures
Image source: ARCHIA HOMES
Different materials have different textures. Some are rugged and protruding while others are smooth and lined up symmetrically. Choose your material based on your preferences. Choose smooth bricks for modern-style fireplace hearths and rugged slate for more traditional ones.
Use the tiles to create contrast
Image source: Esty
Black and white have always been used together to create contrast. You can do the same with your fireplace hearth. Use contrasting colors to define a border between your fireplace and the surrounding floor tiles.
This style dates to the Victorian era, making it a great option for retro fireplace hearths.
Consider building a concrete fireplace hearth
Image source: Hill Country Propane Inc.
Concrete is one of the most versatile building materials. With it, you can create anything from an open-hearth fireplace to a fully recessed one. Some people also choose it for electric fireplaces.
Since you can shape the concrete as you build it, you can make pretty impressive shapes with it. If you’re a creative person, you’ll certainly come up with a unique fireplace hearth.
Image source: Hill Country Propane Inc.
Although not many people realize this, you can use your room’s ambiance to play with its shape. If you build your fireplace hearth high, your ceiling will appear higher than it is. You can enhance this effect even further by adding vertical wood panels and other accessories to your fireplace hearth.
FAQs on fireplace hearts
What is a fireplace hearth?
The space in front of a fireplace that doesn’t directly touch the firebox is called the hearth. It is constructed from fireproof materials to shield the walls and floor beneath it from the blaze’s heat and sparks.
What materials can be used for a fireplace hearth?
Hearths for fireplaces can be crafted from a wide range of materials, from stone and brick to tile and concrete to metal. The fireplace’s design and the homeowner’s personal taste will dictate the material used.
How should I clean my fireplace hearth?
How you clean the hearth of your fireplace will be determined by the material it is built of. In contrast to a brick fireplace, which may require a more abrasive cleaning, a stone hearth may be cleaned with soap and water. The accumulation of soot and other material in the fireplace poses a fire risk and should be removed on a regular basis.
What is the purpose of a fireplace hearth?
The hearth of a fireplace is there to contain the fire and shield the floor from heat and sparks. It not only improves the look of the fireplace but also makes it a safer place for the homeowner to manage the fire.
How far should a fireplace hearth extend in front of the fireplace?
The National Fire Protection Association recommends a hearth that is at least 16 inches wide and 8 inches deep in front of the fireplace opening and on all sides of the entrance.
Can I put a rug or carpet in front of a fireplace hearth?
Carpets and rugs should never be placed in front of a fireplace as they pose a fire risk. Instead, homeowners can add design features by placing non-combustible materials like stone or tile in front of the hearth.
Do I need a special kind of fire-resistant flooring for my fireplace hearth?
Flooring materials, such as ceramic tile or stone, that are resistant to heat and sparks from the fireplace are essential in the area around the hearth.
What are some design ideas for a fireplace hearth?
Using natural stone or tile, adding ornate molding or trim, and using contrasting materials can all help to make the hearth of a fireplace stand out as a design feature.
How do I make sure my fireplace hearth is safe?
The hearth of a fireplace should be inspected once a year by a professional to make sure it is in good shape and free of cracks or problems that could compromise safety. To avoid the accumulation of toxic gases like carbon monoxide, homeowners should also check the fireplace’s ventilation.
Can a fireplace hearth be used for seating or decoration?
The hearth of a fireplace can serve as a lounging area or a decorative focal point; however, any furniture or decorations used there should be fireproof and kept at a safe distance from the flames. To make their homes more welcoming, homeowners can decorate the hearth with candles, vases, and literature.
Our final thoughts on fireplace hearth ideas
You can use these fireplace hearth ideas to build the living room of your dreams. Our design tips cater to all types of tastes. Whether you’re looking for modern or traditional designs, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for.
If you liked this article about fireplace hearth ideas, you should check out this article about fireplace mantel ideas.