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In need of fireplace/mantel decor ideas!
bmevans2004
February 7, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We moved into our house a month ago and the items on the mantel are in the exact place I put them when we unloaded the truck!
Now, the new furniture will be here soon so I need lots of help decorating this large focal point in my room!
I'm going shopping this weekend but have no clue on decorating this area. The TV will be staying where it is and I could use the items on the mantel and the clock on the right of the TV. Other than that, the other items will be replaced.
I would love to hear all your suggestions! I want it to feel homey since this is our family room and I will be staring at this fireplace every time I watch TV!
Thanks!
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
I can't tell if the brick stops 6 inches above the top of photo or 6 feet. Please measure and tell us how much space is above the mantel Also how deep is the mantel? Where's the TV? We can't see it. We'd love to help you but without knowing what size pieces can go on mantel, it's extremely hard to make suggestions. Please add a couple more photos. Many thanks.
Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
2 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:01PM
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bexaliikai
@Carolyn Albert-Kincl Design, I asked myself the same question about the TV but now see that it is sitting on the hearth.

It's a curious spot for the TV. Is there a specific reason why it has to stay there?
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:05PM
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REDinterior
What about making it a little more dramatic and painting it black? This way your TV won't be the focal point. Like this:

Rebecca, CID, ASID, CAPS
REDinterior.com
3 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:06PM
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the essentials inside
Hi bmevans2004! Hope you are having a great night.

I have an initial question - just to make sure I am reading your comment correctly. Are you saying you are not going to be using the fireplace for fires?

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Carolyn Albert-Kincl, ASID
Good grief, bexaliikai, you're right. But it's certainly not the focal point inasmuch as I couldn't even find it! And now, on closer examination, I think I see a popcorn ceiling to the left of the fireplace. So, to answer the original question about what to put on the mantel, I would keep it simple.

One of my favorite houzz photos is this one of a mantle with not much space above it. The reason it works so well is that the picture is a vertical piece which is what is needed when there's not much space. A horizontal space will just exaggerate the problem. Then the simplicity of the flowers in the vase is perfect.
3 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:16PM
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bmevans2004
Maybe this additional info will help you all, help me!

There is 32" above the mantel and is all brick to the ceiling with 2" trim at the top.

Mantel is 8" in depth
Hearth is 16" in depth
Fireplace is 8 ft long

We original wanted to place the TV on the mantel but the TV is to large, so placing it on the hearth (am I using the correct term??) was the only place to put it. It also covers the gold insert behind it.

We don't plan on using the fireplace and its never been used since built in 1985.

Painting the brick isn't an option right now since we haven't closed on it yet (crazy situation).

The TV doesn't seem to be in an odd place while we are watching it, it's eye level from where we are sitting.

I've taken a few more pictures and hope this all helps. If you need more info, I will give it to you because I'm at a lost right now with it and need all suggestions!
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:27PM
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bmevans2004
I will also add... This house has been vacant since 1995 and was very well built and I'm sure was in style at the time it was built 10 years earlier. The entire house needs updated so we are taking it a room at a time. It was also FULL of furniture, also out dated, left in it for us too!

So right now we are wanting to make necessary updates right now (painting, change lighting, window treatments, etc) and then will work on the popcorn ceiling, light green carpet thru out house and appliances because its all in good condition, just out dated.

Thanks!
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:37PM
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bexaliikai
Oh I completely feel your pain. The fireplace in my living room is almost identical to yours.

First, I would definitely figure out a better TV location. (And not above the fireplace, as you have already ruled out. That's such a horrible place for a TV. Who wants to look up that high to watch TV?? I digress.) What is opposite of the fireplace? Is there another wall where you can have a TV console? If that's not possible, I can see you have a small space where that desk is, before it turns into the kitchen. Could you move the TV there? There are lots of low TV consoles with storage that you can set the TV on, without venturing back into the '90s "entertainment center" world.

Also, what kind of living room furniture do you have? Could you take a picture with your back against the fireplace?

I also think you can do something super easy and cheap - paint the mantel and wood trim around the fireplace white/cream.

And for the yucky brass/gold door things. I have the same problem. I got a nice fireplace screen that is pretty dark and not very see-through to go in front of it and it's does the job of hiding the ugly brass.

And last question, what is your decorating style? There are a ton of mantel decor ideas out there but what works for you will depend on your style.
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 6:56PM
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bexaliikai
OH and if you are never ever going to use the fireplace, you could take off the gold doors, clean out the firebox, and put candles or decorative birch logs in there instead.


1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 7:06PM
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lparides
Put tv on the mantel don't hide it . You still some thing on it and on the hearth.
2 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:12PM
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bmevans2004
This room is very odd shaped... It's long and narrow! It's an open concept with the kitchen and the wall opposite the fireplace is 2 large windows and a glass door that open to a sunroom. I had asked for help on here a month ago about furniture layout since I wanted to purchase new furniture.

We didn't want a lot of seating in this room since its just my husband and I here now. We have another living room with more seating and better layout for visitors. This room will be our room we use the most since its by the kitchen and in the back of the house.

I'm still searching for "my style"! I'm getting out of my comfort zone and using pops of color. I live in a small town in Midwest Indiana, not modern, not rustic...maybe contemporary, heck I don't know! I've had the "country" style at our last home and I'm over that and the primitive look.

I will add a few more pics of the room...keep in mind, some where before we moved in and had the outdated furniture in it!

Speaking of furniture, I've just purchased a small sectional, an oversized recliner and want to use the sofa table I have. Other than that, I'm needing side tables also.

Thanks for your help!
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 7:16PM
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jenpa8
NO TVs on the fireplace, above the fireplace, blocking the fireplace, etc. You want this room to look nice, that's why you're here, so make the plunge and decide you want a beautiful room and subordinate the TV to that mission. Take out the insert, resurface or if that's too expensive, paint the brick, add some candles, a rug or cushion for the mantle for comfy seating, and recreate the room for next to nothing. See pic, this could be you!
3 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:17PM
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bmevans2004
This is the new furniture ordered, only the recliner in the pic is only the color and not the style, it is an oversized recliner.
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:18PM
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bmevans2004
These are pics of the house when we acquired it!
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:20PM
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bmevans2004
@Bexallikai - I do like the idea of replace the gold insert with a gas log or fill with something else. Then that brings the question of where the TV would go, as there is only 1 other wall in the room where it could go and we ordered our furniture so it could face the fireplace. Can you look at the above pics of the full room? Thanks!
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:27PM
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bmevans2004
@Jenpa8 - we have a formal living room in the front of the house with new furniture and a TV, so we can use that for guests and I do love that room since it has had some painting and decor put in it.

We are wanting this room for our nightly hang out and to watch TV, just the 2 of us. It's at the back of the house and quieter, and will like the sunroom once warmer weather gets here. It's also open to the kitchen so its convenient for my husband to cook dinner and watch TV! I don't want to paint the fireplace yet because we haven't closed in the home yet and would hate to do that or spend lots of money and something falls thru. Any other suggestions for TV placement?!? I've attached more pics of the room above. Thanks!
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Ruth Ann Chaplik-Secreto
I would double or triple your mantle size by adding another layer with dowels &yes, get a drill & fill with glue around the dowels ... They should go 1/2way into brick & 1/2 way into the mantle .... Then I would choose large sexy medium dark tiles &tile from top to bottom.... If you can't afford tiling -then yes Pick a beautiful accent color & PAINT those BRICKS !! They are too tired &outdate your whole room !!
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 7:58PM
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bexaliikai
Wow wow wow. I just read over your other post and saw your room dimensions. That is a REALLY tricky layout, for sure. It might help to use a virtual room planner. Have you tried that yet? There are a lot of free ones out there, if you just google "virtual room planner." Or do it the old fashioned way with graph paper and some paper-doll-furniture pieces. :)

So I think the first thing to deal with is the TV location, but back to your original question about mantel decorating... I personally think that since brick is a "busy" pattern visually, I think that simple mantel decor suits brick fireplaces the best. I also think that medium-to-large size items are better against brick, since the brick pattern is narrow and small, if that makes sense.

You could do one large piece of art or framed photo (landscape, not portrait orientation) in the center, flanked on either side by just a few items in slightly varying heights. The stuff you already have there would work, but I'd switch out the taper candles for short pillars. If you're okay with getting new stuff, I think cream accents look great against red brick and it will pick up the cream color in your fabric you showed.

This fireplace looks similar to yours in dimension: http://www.theyellowcapecod.com/2012/03/white-washed-brick-fireplacetutorial.html
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 7:58PM
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ann
I have seen a series of black frame/white matted photos of different heights on a mantel like this. Simple lines, and the sameness of the frames doesn't make it look too jumbled
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 8:04PM
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joannpb
If you are sure that's the place for your TV, then you probably need to turn that hearth into a real TV center. Right now, it's neither one nor the other. You could put a cabinet on each side of the TV. Get the measurements (height from hearth to shelf and width from edge to cast bracket); go to your local home center and look at kitchen cabinets in a finish that comes close to matching the mantle and price upper (not base) cabinets to fit. Fasten to the brick with masonry screws (If you ever take them off, the holes will be easy to disguise.) I'd just about guarantee you'll find a great fit and the whole unit will look like a custom built-in.

By the way, that vase in the vignette above would look nice on your mantle. Bringing some gray into all that rust/brick/terracotta is a nice touch.
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 8:04PM
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bmevans2004
@bexliikai - tricky room layout is an understatement!! I do appreciate the suggestions and like the picture you attached.

I just hate that this will be the room that we are in the most and its the worst room in the house!

I was thinking a canvas picture on the mantel... Should it be vertical or horizontal? I've been told it should be both ways but I personally would like a horizontal picture. I also need a clock in this room, would a large clock work on the mantel or should I use a smaller one somewhere else in the room?

I'm wanting to get new decor, since this is the same decor I had in my other house for the past 11 years.
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 8:08PM
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Darzy
I think a medium size canvas art leaning on the mantel asymetrically on the right. Then one vase (flat type wood with sticks) on the left side. Keep it very simple. You don't really want too much distraction. If you really are leaving the TV there, I'd at least get a CD of a burning fire to play when not watching tv. :) But, I'd rethink this arrangement. Can you put the TV on the left of the FP and move the desk?
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 8:14PM
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bmevans2004
@joann - could you show me a picture of what you are talking about, I have a hard time visualizing things! I do feel like the TV is out of place where it is, but we can't come up with another place to put it unless its on the solid wall to the right of the fireplace and then how would we place the furniture with one wall with the TV, another with 2 large windows and a door to sunroom, another with the fireplace and the other isn't a wall, but its a bar open to the kitchen!! I'm not sure if you looked at the pic I posted earlier but I will post it again for you, this was before we moved in. HELP!!!! Lol
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 8:15PM
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bexaliikai
I say horizontal canvas. Vertical will look odd in that short space between the mantel and ceiling. Before you buy, google some typical canvas dimensions and use regular paper taped together to do a dry-fitting to figure out what size would fit best on the mantel (not too big, not too small). By the way, canvas a great idea if you want to move away from the "country" look. A gallery wrap canvas feels more up to date than a framed piece of art.

You have a great blank canvas on the wall where you have the sofa table with the plant on it. You could hang the clock there, along with some frames. A gallery wall-type feel.
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 8:16PM
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Beverly Cole
I had the same setting for years finally painted brick and wall same color. Later tore it al out built a beautiful stone faced fire place with granite hearth
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 8:18PM
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bmevans2004
@darzy - we are set on keeping the TV there but can't find another place for it! My question is, if I move it to where the computer desk is (which I'm open to that) how would we layout the furniture so we could both see it from the small sectional and the sofa? I'm totally open to all suggestions, I want this room comfy and homey and its stressful instead!

I just took a pic of the view of the room from where the recliner is now.
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 8:22PM
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bmevans2004
@bexa - I do like the empty wall where the side table is, that was going to be my next question to everyone is what can I do with that area! I've just places things there as I unpacked knowing it would change. We also thought about a large mirror over that table where it is and the recliner and end table in that area. But should the TV go there instead and the sofa table elsewhere?
1 Like   February 7, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Darzy
How about a corner cabinet (not the tall cabinet, just a credenza type) and put the tv in the corner on a pivot stand? Then, the sectional perpendicular to the FP and the sofa table behind it. The recliner on the right side of the window.

4 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 8:55PM
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joannpb
This is just a random kitchen picture, but when you order kitchen cabinets they come in various configurations. I circled a pair of upper cabinets (these may be a double unit, but they do come in single-door, narrower width.

If, instead of mounting on a wall, these two cabinets are stood on the hearth, on either side of the TV so they fill the space outside of the cast iron shelf brackets, they would give the look of a unit with the shelf above. Run a shelf, above the TV and under the mantle, from the cabinet on one side to the one on the other, so that there is a space for accessories over the TV.

If you go to the Kitchen design people at your local home center, and ask for some help, they can probably show you what it would look like on their computer. I wish I had access to a CAD program, so I could make you a drawing.
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 8:55PM
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bexaliikai
I think it's a worth a try! Do a test run and put the TV on that sofa table just to see how it feels to sit and face that wall instead of the fireplace. It'll also give you a chance to temporarily rearrange your existing furniture to see if you can make that set-up work.
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 9:17PM
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bexaliikai
Okay one more thing before I log off... I think it's okay to not make the fireplace the "main attraction" in a family room/den. In reality, the main focus of the room is chilling out with your husband and usually watching TV, right?

I attached a pic of a 3D rendering I did of my long & narrow living room when I was trying to figure out furniture placement with a ginormous non-working red brick fireplace. (I don't have a recent real photo.) Our furniture placement is designed around the TV since that's really the main purpose of the room. The fireplace isn't the focal point. (Or maybe it's just my subconscious way of trying to pretend it doesn't exist.)
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 9:36PM
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bexaliikai
Oops here's the pic.
2 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 9:37PM
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bmevans2004
Thanks for all the suggestions... I took a few more pictures this morning with the horrible drapes open, so you can see what is actual on the wall. These windows and door go into a nice sunroom and we plan on replace the drapes, possibly with the inside shutters or just making the curtains up to date!

Anyway... These windows are on the wall opposite of the fireplace. Take a look at these pics and let me know of any more thoughts and we will arrange furniture tonight.

Not sure who said it, but they were correct when they said about the fireplace not being the focal point. Our main focal point of the room is it sit and watch TV and relax! I don't care if the fireplace is there or not, but it is and that is where you all come to my rescue!!

I love all the suggestions with the TV and furniture layout you have given. But... I'm still needing decorating ideas for the fireplace and mantel! Lets assume you have all found the solution for us moving our tv somewhere else, now I need something nice to look at when I look at the fireplace!

I will attach some more pics I took this morning...thanks for everyone's help! I don't do change well and moving to a new house after 11 years has me going crazy!
1 Like   February 8, 2013 at 7:23AM
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bmevans2004
More pics...
0 Likes   February 8, 2013 at 7:26AM
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onthefence
We have a very similar layout. Challenging isn't it? Probably our only advantage is that instead of a sliding glass door we have a 9' window on the wall opposite the FP.

Our TV is in an Entertainment Unit similar to the one Darzy shows above. It's placed on the end wall where your console table and plant are now. Perhaps you could move your sectional toward that end a bit and float it in the room if you have the walkway area available to do so.

Another piece of furniture that works well in our space is a swivel chair. We have a swivel barrel chair that sits in the area that would be to the right of your FP. That chair can either turn to watch TV or turn back toward the couch for conversations.
0 Likes   February 8, 2013 at 8:02AM
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nFORMAL design
I couldn't read ALL the posts, but I've read some of them.

First...well built doesn't mean well designed, obviously. Whoever "didn't" design that space wasn't thinking about actually living in it...I digress.

Many options depending on level of investment, budget, etc.

I would put the sofa perpendicular to the fireplace. Mount the television on a universal mount that can be rotated, swung out, etc. Then, when you are having people over and NOT watching television, it can be pushed back flush.

Once you close on the house, you could the fireplace or cover it with something that is more sleek and not variegated.

Last thoughts are to put a ethanol fuel fireplace in like Spark Modern...use the flue but update the entire thing.
1 Like   February 8, 2013 at 8:41AM
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Darzy
Just put the sofa centered directly in front of the tv (with just enough space to walk behind it and open the door to the patio). Put the recliner on the right side of the sofa with the little round table on the right. Put the wood square clock in the center of the mantle and you're done.
1 Like   February 8, 2013 at 12:37PM
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the essentials inside
Hi! Hope everyone is having a great night.

I have some ideas for you bmevans2004. I did read all the comments but I'm getting old so I might not remember. ;)

I have some ideas for you. First furniture/tv placement then mantel ideas.

TV PLACEMENT:
I like Darzy's idea of the swivel cabinet (that pic is one of my favs) & the idea of putting the tv where the desk is now. I think a tv on some type of swivel in that general area is the best place for it b/c hubby can watch tv while he cooks & you can see it while you are relaxing. I found some cool ideas:

For the dividing wall:
Pinterest / Search results for swivel tv 1
Pinterest / Search results for swivel tv 2

For against the wall or if you do built-ins:
Pinterest / Search results for swivel tv 3
Parade 2009

FURNITURE PLACEMENT:
I was thinking I had an idea like the one in the pic below (pay no attention to the style) but now I'm not sure -- are you keeping the old sofa along w/the new sectional? Did you get 2 chairs or one?

Jane Lockhart Interior Design


FIREPLACE IDEAS:
Here are a few simple fireplace ideas:
Hammett
Woodinville Retreat
Pinterest / Search results for brick fireplace

The last you'd obviously have to adjust for the width of your fireplace & place the pic (not necessarily a chevron one like that) but I like the simplicity of it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Hope you all have a great night & everyone in the Northeastern portion of the U.S. stays safe.

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   February 8, 2013 at 5:08PM
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Darzy
@essentials inside..fabulous suggestions! The "problem" is bmevans is "set" on keeping the tv in front of the FP box and cozy up to the tv. Hence, my suggestion to center the sofa to the FP/TV and add the recliner to the side (and keep the mantle decor to a minimum).

@bmevans2004...if you want to keep the tv there because you don't mind it and it works for you, so be it. Just so's ya know... it's just that for designers it's like "fingernails on a chalkboard" to block a FP with a tv sitting on the hearth! :)
1 Like   February 8, 2013 at 7:38PM
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bmevans2004
I'm not set on keeping the TV at the fireplace!! After reading the comments, I noticed I typed it wrong on my phone... I would love to find a way to put the TV elsewhere and not on the fireplace. We moved furniture tonight but the room is 22 ft x 16 ft and then only 13 ft wide at the fireplace, we feel limited with our new sectional and recliner we just bought! I'm totally open to the idea of moving the TV!
1 Like   February 8, 2013 at 8:14PM
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bmevans2004
My husband has decided we need to get rid of the big computer desk in the area on the left of the fireplace. He likes the idea of a swiveling stand for the TV there, and swapping the recliner and sectional.

The furniture in the room will only be a small sectional and an oversized recliner. We would like to have 2 side tables and to keep the sofa table.

I hope this clears up any confusion I made!

I'm great full for all the suggestions!
1 Like   February 8, 2013 at 8:22PM
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onthefence
Would it work to do this...rotate your sectional so the back is to the kitchen. Float it out away from the bar a bit. Place recliner to the right of the fireplace. Put TV where console table is. Will you still have appropriate walkways and will everyone be able to see the TV?
0 Likes   February 8, 2013 at 8:28PM
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bmevans2004
Ok... Tomorrow my room will be cleaned out and look like this! To the left of the FP is a nook.
The room is 22 ft long by 16 ft wide and then the FP is 8 ft long, which makes the width of the room along the FP only 13 ft wide. On the wall opposite the FP, a glass doors swings inside the room to open into the sunroom

We have a small sectional which is 7 ft long, will have an oversized recliner, a sofa table and would like to have 2 end tables. The computer desk will be in another room, so pretend that area is now open.

Tell me what to do with what I have to work with and I will move around and take pics until we are all happy that the TV is no longer on the hearth, blocking the FP!!
0 Likes   February 8, 2013 at 8:57PM
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PRO
the essentials inside
Thanks Darzy! I always love seeing you in a thread!

bmevans -

When you get a chance, and are in the mood to have fun moving furniture around :), can you get hubs to move the desk out of the room & take pics of the new furniture in 2 places --

one w/Darzy's suggestion: sectional in front of the fireplace, recliner to the right side of the sofa w/little round table on the right.

second w/sectional on non-kitchen side of fireplace, facing kitchen (back to blank wall) & new chair opposite of sofa but w/back toward the patio door (facing where the desk used to be). The longest end of the sectional should just be about even with the fireplace. This kind of set up might look good w/an oversized coffee table like the one in the pic below sitting in front of the fireplace. (doggie optional)




Take pics & upload of each -- then we can bombard you with more demands. :) :)


Also - try putting the maroon candlesticks together w/the urn on one side of the mantel - moved a little more in toward the center from where they are now & then leave the "family" on the opposite side where it is. That might hold you for now.

Have a great night everyone!

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   February 8, 2013 at 9:02PM
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lparides
Tv on the mantel maybe paint it for fresh look a large vase on the hearth.
0 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 8:12AM
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billgrotheer
Large painting with 2 large urns on either side tools on hearth
0 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 10:07AM
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PRO
Yarbro Home Improvement LLC
I'd furr out the face of the fireplace. Wood framing. Combination of stone / tile drywall. Furring out with wood framing now provides cavity for electrical, audio and media wiring for entertainment area. Get the TV wall mounted. I disagree that a elevated TV is in a position that is impractical
0 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 10:18AM
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PRO
Nan Walz Interiors
I would have the brick removed and dry wall the space in preparation for a new facade or consider removing it completely for more wall space.
0 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 10:31AM
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lparides
Removing the brick would be nice it would look more up dated
0 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 10:38AM
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lparides
U can dry wall right over the brick
0 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 10:39AM
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bmevans2004
As I said earlier, unfortunately painting, removing, etc to the fireplace isn't an option right now because we haven't closed on the house yet and I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that until its officially ours!

I went shopping for some decor today, so once I get it all unpacked and put up, I will post a pic and you can tell me what it missing! I know it will need more than what I bought.

Thanks for all the help!
2 Likes   February 9, 2013 at 3:53PM
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