Top 9 Ideas for Highlighting Your Fireplace With Wallpaper
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Are you wondering how to optimise the beauty of your beloved fireplace? Perhaps you've seen some striking wallpaper designs, but you're unsure how to use them to highlight your fireplace's natural charms.
A fireplace is a beautiful architectural feature offering warmth, style, and a sense of rustic charm. And whether you choose a maximalist print that's impossible to miss or a subtle texture that adds earthiness and balance, there's a wallpaper for your chimney breast to highlight your fireplace.
This article shares our top feature fireplace wallpaper ideas for balance, calm, energy, or something in-between.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Can you put wallpaper around a fireplace?
The short answer is yes — of course, you can put wallpaper around a fireplace.
However, some commercial wallpapers are made of highly flammable materials, such as cellulose fibres or synthetic polymers. So, choose wisely.
This doesn't mean you need special fireplace wallpaper. Just ensure you firmly adhere the paper to the wall with no overlaps or flaps.
Consider these safety tips:
- Ensure there's no loose wallpaper around the fireplace's opening, as this could ignite.
- Never cover ventilation ducts — they're there for a reason!
- Keep the paper away from the flame with a fireguard.
However, if you paper carefully (and your fireplace is adequately ventilated), most wallpapers are perfectly safe around a fireplace.
Tips for choosing a feature fireplace wallpaper
Our top tip for fireplace wallpaper is to choose a brand with a wipeable surface, making it easy to remove soot. However, if you spot soot on your wallpaper, get the chimney checked immediately - it may not be drawing correctly.
Some people design their room around their chosen feature wallpaper, mirroring or contrasting background tones in the furniture, carpet, rugs, and soft furnishings.
If you're looking for a robust and striking pattern, consider the complementary tones within the paper. And use those softer tones to balance the room's palette - especially if you're papering just the facing of your fireplace.
This helps to highlight the fireplace while creating a colourful harmony that feels unified and comfortable.
How to wallpaper a chimney breast
There are two methods to wallpapering a fireplace — and it depends on the type of paper you choose.
If you've chosen a funky maximalist wallpaper with an oversized design, centralise the paper around the chimney breast.
But if the pattern is more abstract and less reliant on regularity, you can centralise the paper from the seam (a little easier!).
Method 1: Centralising the wallpaper around the fireplace
Whether you're simply papering the chimney breast or the entire room, it's worth centralising your wallpaper around the fireplace.
How to centralise your wallpaper
- Measure the chimney breast, identifying the centre line. Mark it with a pencil.
- Now, find the centre or focal point of the wallpaper's design, and align it precisely with the centre line of the chimney breast.
- Add wallpaper strips on either side of the first until the fireplace is covered. You might just paper the front-facing facade or the entire fireplace.
- Use a steam-roller to ensure the seams are secured.
- Paper the rest of the room, moving out from the first sheet.
This will ensure that the principal pattern draws the eye to the fireplace.
How to centralise the stem
This is similar to the previous method, but instead of placing the middle of the design over the centre line of the fireplace, use two strips of paper, edging them both along the centre line.
This is often the most straightforward approach.
1. Maximalise your chimney
It doesn't seem long ago that everyone was decorating their homes with magnolia paint and cream carpets, but design has come a long way since.
Now, it's all big floral prints, challenging geometrics, gaudy colour contrasts, and funky abstracts. And wallpaper is the perfect medium to incorporate these bold statements into your living spaces.
However, maximalism in a TV show and the type of maximalism you might be able to live with are, perhaps, a different matter altogether.
And while a giant print might feel like a bold move, there are several approaches that help bring unity to the room's aesthetic.
2. Highlight the chimney breast facing with wallpaper
A statement maximalist wallpaper might be too much for the entire room. And bespoke or high-end wallpapers can be extortionately expensive.
So, consider balancing the statement by wrapping the chimney breast in your chosen paper and painting the remaining walls in a calmer tone predominant within the wallpaper's design.
The facing above the fireplace is the perfect spot for drawing the eye, but this approach allows the rest of the room to breathe with cooler, calmer tones.
Design the rest of your room around your statement wallpaper for tonal harmony.
3. Enclose your chimney breast with shelves
This is a wallpaper idea, I promise!
One of the problems with chimney breasts is that they take up floor space, leaving voids on either side. These voids are perfect spots for wall-to-ceiling shelving, adding valuable storage space.
What about the wallpaper?
Well, using wallpaper on the back panel of your shelves looks fantastic when fitted on either side of your fireplace.
Wallpapering the back of your shelves adds depth to the frame while saving on costs (because you don't have to wallpaper the entire wall).
It’s a crazy idea, perhaps, but it works!
4. Frame your feature wallpaper
If you're worried about going too wild with your wallpaper, consider creating wooden frames on (and on either side of) the fireplace.
Build your panel frames with wooden mouldings and then paper inside the frame.
And while panelling might sound a little fuddy-duddy, if it's good enough for Laurence Llewyn-Bowen, it's good enough for us.
Indeed, wall panelling is Llewyn-Bowen’s trademark design feature, as continually demonstrated in the latest series of the ever-popular Changing Rooms (Channel 4).
You could panel just the fireplace or go all out and panel the entire room. Choose a calming paint tone to surround the panels for consonance.
5. Paint the chimney breast in complementary tones to your wallpaper
Another way to keep costs lower (but still maximise the impact of your wallpaper) is to create a feature wall around the fireplace, leaving the facing neutral.
In this configuration, paint the facing in a tone that complements the paper, offering a more subtle, curated feel to the room.
Paint the fireplace facing the same colour as the other walls in the room, unifying the colour scheme and reinforcing the look of the fireplace itself.
Covering just the fireplace-adjacent walls allows you to go bold with your statement design without overpowering the room's look.
6. A feature wall backdrop for a freestanding fireplace
Not all rooms have a chimney breast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful real fire, especially if you burn bioethanol, which needs neither a chimney nor a flue.
A freestanding fireplace gives you plenty of options because there's no chimney breast to dictate where you place the fire.
So, choose a spot for your fireplace and add a beautiful feature wall behind it.
Think forest scenes and mountain vistas for serenity, big floral prints, or geometric designs for something zingier.
7. Wallpaper the entire room!
We've played it safe so far, but for those who aren't afraid of bold statements, wrapping the entire space in a bold wallpaper helps integrate the fireplace into the overall design.
And perhaps we’re forgetting that some wallpapers are actually really subtle and classic!
For example, a room papered in metallic monochrome looks fantastic. Create a luxurious space with golds or silvers that oozes opulence while maintaining an understated elegance.
- A nature pattern for calm, relaxed rooms
- Light/neutral tones for tranquillity
- Textured wallpapers for warmth and character
- Bright colours for energy and focus
8. Build a chimney breast with stud walls
Maybe your room doesn't have a chimney breast and lacks a focal point. All you need is basic carpentry skills to create a faux-chimney breast, which is ripe for any wallpaper you choose.
But lacking a chimney doesn't limit your choices to gas and electricity for a standalone fire. Bioethanol fireplaces release a little carbon dioxide (about the same as a couple of candles) and a trace amount of water vapour into the room — no need for extractors.
So, you can make your faux-chimney breast feel real with the natural flame from a bioethanol fire.
9. Wallpaper the recess
You might not want to light a real fire, but you might have a beautiful chimney breast that feels like a missed design opportunity.
If you just want to elevate the look of a decorative fireplace, knock out the lower half (make sure you add an RSJ to support the upper walls) and wallpaper the interior of the void.
Place big statement plants, like healthy cheese or spider plants, on the hearthstone, and wallpaper the inside of the nook to reinforce the natural style of houseplants.
Make your fireplace more attractive with wallpaper
I hope we’ve given you some feature fireplace wallpaper ideas that can help transform your dull room into something spectacular.
Thanks for reading!