Unfortunately, approximately half of all homes in the United States do not have a fireplace. While the fireplace is functionally purposeless during the warmer summer months, it does add visual appeal year round. When cooler weather comes around, it can be hard to find a suitable substitute for a cozy fire to greet you as you enter the room.
Even if you are one of the lucky people who does have a fireplace, you probably have a space away from the fireplace that could be cozier. Unless you live in a house like Downton Abbey that is perfectly decorated with a fireplace in every room, in which case we’re jealous.
If you have streamed fake fireplaces via Netflix in every television in the house, this article is for you. We have come up with six steps to add a cozy focal point, no fireplace required.
Consider Balance and Symmetry
Balance is almost always the goal when designing the interior of a home. In fact, every step toward creating a cozy focal point mentioned below uses balance and symmetry in some way.
One of the largest benefits of having a fireplace is that it visually breaks up the wall in a symmetrical way leaving a sense of visual balance and equilibrium. You can achieve a similar feel by incorporating symmetry and balance into your room using other furniture and decor pieces. This is probably a principle that you are already using in your home, you just haven’t thought about it yet!
There are endless possibilities for adding balance and symmetry to a room. Complimentary art pieces can add symmetry and balance each other out. Symmetrical throw pillows are very common on a sofa or a pair of side chairs. Complimentary table sets can add balance from almost every angle. Oval mirrors, like the photo above, can add symmetry and reflect light back into a space.
Balance can be achieved in a non-symmetrical way through the visual weight of objects. For instance, instead of symmetrical throw pillows, you can play with having several different sizes and shapes of throw pillows to visually weigh a couch down more on one side, possibly to balance out a window or a large piece of furniture on the other end of the couch. Both symmetrical and non-symmetrical balance can add coziness to a room. Achieving a sense of balance in a room is very satisfying and would result in a cozy focal point, even without a fireplace.
Highlight the TV
There is one huge advantage to not having a fireplace in the room: many homeowners with a fireplace struggle to find a place for the tv. There is tension between televisions and fireplaces, as they are often competing with each other for attention. Some people opt for mounting a tv over the fireplace, but this is not always practical or safe (plus, the soot can damage the television). Without a fireplace, you have one less complication when arranging furniture.
To create a cozy, inviting atmosphere in a room with a tv, move the furniture closer together for conversation when the television is not in use. Anchor the room by placing the front two feet or all four feet of the furniture onto a cozy rug. The TV can be wall mounted over a gorgeous credenza. Or, consider an entertainment center that includes built in lighting.
Large Scale Furniture
Large-scale furniture pieces can add massive style. Unlike the fireplace, which requires remodeling to change, eye-catching furniture can be changed and rearranged over time. This way, you have more control over whether you want to accentuate a room by using a piece that goes vertically or horizontally across a wall. Furniture can also be used to add a “mantle” to a room without a fireplace.
If you don’t want a television to be the focal point of the room, a glass door bookcase can be warm and welcoming (without the added work of requiring dusting). Round open shelving is another eye-catching option. Add books and trays to stylized shelves for a cozy library feel. If your space is small, a large message board on the wall adds a vertical presence that grabs your attention upon entering a room without taking up the floor space.
Large Scale Art
While the gallery wall is far from dead, single large-scale art pieces have risen in popularity in recent years. Art can complete a room, and pieces on a large scale will gladly take the place of a fireplace by adding warmth and the illusion of motion and light. A large, bold art piece will pull the room together.
Choose an art piece that moves you. Something brightly colored can make a warm, bold statement, while something more subtle and neutral can still tie a room together with a flare of drama. To add texture, consider a wall sculpture or woven art.
When adding a large art piece to a room, remember that it will need room to “breathe.” Like a fireplace, you shouldn’t try to place furniture directly in front of the piece. The room will benefit from having some open floor space in front of a large piece of art. Just make sure that there is enough space to step back and enjoy the piece.
While no artificial lighting is quite as dramatic as fire itself, lighting can add a sense of drama in a room. Instead of relying solely on overhead lights and windows, incorporate multiple light sources in a room. Lighting comes in three levels: high lighting in the ceiling, medium which includes wall sconces, and low which includes lamps. Light can add to the focal point of the room by surrounding it and supporting it. It should both surround a room and anchor a room.
In addition to the ceiling light, a set of table lamps and a dimmable arch lamp can set the mood in the room. Dimmers are always a good idea to avoid overlighting. In place of a large fire, consider using candles in the room, which add both a pleasant aroma and visual interest.
Frame the Windows
Framing windows with long curtains and drapes is a great way to add glamour. Many windows can benefit from multiple layers of curtains to frame the glass. Curtains add beauty through an array of color and pattern options and are very practical for a room. A light curtain adds privacy without sacrificing light, while an insulated curtain over the top can help cut down on window drafts and eliminate glares on the television. When considering curtains, make sure to not skimp on the size. Longer and wider is better.
After framing the windows, arrange furniture with windows in mind to complete the sense of balance. Complete the effect created by the curtains by anchoring the room with a cozy, complimentary rug.
Don’t know where to start? Add small details.
Even though the goal was to create a focal point, cozy is also in the details. A mug of coffee. Slippers. Throw pillows and blankets. All of these things visually add warmth to a space. If you are feeling unsure of where to start, try adding a few small, cozy things to a room. The small changes can tide you over as you consider making some of the larger changes to add symmetry and balance to a room in a satisfying way.