Decorating an Off-Center Fireplace Wall


An off-center fireplace presents a real design dilemma when the room is not decorated to account for its placement. If the fireplace is throwing the room’s balance off, a few simple changes can make a world of difference.

Differentiate With Paneling

Surround the fireplace with floor-to-ceiling paneling to make it a prominent feature in the room despite its awkward placement. Stacked stone veneer panels provide a contemporary look, while reclaimed wood harmonizes with a rustic vibe. The contrasting texture makes the off-center fireplace look like a dynamic, deliberate feature.

Veneer panels are lightweight and depending on your tools and skill level, you might be able to install them yourself. Do your research to ensure you are complying with all building codes and safety requirements when remodeling a fireplace.

Add Built-In Shelving

Framing in the fireplace and adding built-in shelving results in a dramatic new look for the fireplace wall, but this option requires considerable carpentry skills. In some cases, the existing surround must be completely removed. You might need to hire a contractor to complete the job.

To achieve a balanced look, add more shelving to the wider part of the wall. Another option is to adjust the width of the shelving, going with narrower shelves on the smaller wall or just add shelving on one side of the fireplace if it is near an entryway.

Built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinetry helps disguise the asymmetry of an off-center fireplace, even if you choose a symmetrical design. Trick the eye by adding larger or darker-colored display items on the mantel side or shelves near the wider side of the wall.

Use Large Furnishings

For an easy solution to balance the look on the wall, add a large piece of furniture, such as a bookcase or an armoire, on the wider side. A bookcase provides a look similar to built-in shelving, and any large casement piece helps add visual weight to a large expanse of empty wall.

Alternatively, place a console table along the long wall with a large flat-screen TV placed on top or mounted on the wall 8 to 10 inches above it. Make sure the TV is a few inches narrower than the width of the table to keep a balanced look.

Balance With Accessories

Strategically placed accessories can also be used to balance the look of an off-center fireplace. Position a large potted plant or tall topiary on the long wall near the fireplace. A comfortable armchair accented with a colorful throw and floor lamp placed near the corner provides a simple vignette that helps fill the remaining space.

Use a large painting or mirror to create a new focal point on a wall near a corner fireplace or on the wide side of an off-center fireplace. If the wall has a window, hang floor-to-ceiling drapes in a plush, heavy fabric. An extra-long mantel extending toward the wide wall topped with tall branches in a vase or tall candlesticks adds a simple yet elegant touch.

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