How to Decorate a Hearth Room


A hearth room is a warm and cozy addition to any home. Whether it's located off your kitchen or in a room of its own, the hearth is where friends and family are likely to gather. The hearth is an important design element for a couple of reasons. It's likely one of the largest architectural details in a space and sure to command attention. If the fireplace has a mantel, the mantel is near eye level, making it one of the first things people notice when they walk into the room. Decorating a hearth room is made easy by following a few basic steps.

  • Plan a color palette using the 60-30-10 rule. The 60-30-10 rule says that in order for a room to have a balanced color palette, 60 percent of the color should come from the shade of the walls, 30 percent of the color should be derived from furnishing such as furniture, draperies, area rugs and in this case, the fireplace finish. If the fireplace is made of red brick, that's the color you're going to need to work with in 30 percent of color scheme. The final 10 percent comes from an accent color that is introduced through accessories like scatter pillows, throws, lampshades and artwork. It's important to adhere as closely as possible to this decorating rule when your hearth room is attached to a kitchen or dining room, as it will tie the two spaces together and create a cohesive design.

  • Arrange your furniture around the hearth. The hearth is the focal point in the room -- the area that all other design decisions are based upon. A hearth room is ideally arranged when guests can sit and visit with one another while still viewing the hearth. This may mean placing the sofa at a right angle to the fireplace and two chairs directly facing the hearth. Experiment with your furniture placement until each seat in the room is faced toward the focal point.

  • Keep the hearth the "star of the show." You can accomplish this by omitting other dramatic elements that might compete for the position of focal point. If you introduce a great piece of art, hang it over the fireplace to keep the focus on the hearth. If it's a room with other great architectural details like ornate crown molding, arched doorways or picture windows, you really don't need much in the way of accessories anyway.

  • Choose tools to fit your design theme. If the fireplace is located in a room with a modern decor, opt for fireplace tools in a sleek, simple style to sit on the hearth. If your room has a traditional style, choose tools that are a bit more ornate. Something with a brass finish would work well. Brushed nickel fireplace tools would work well in a country hearth room.

  • Dress the mantel. One way to do this is to employ the rule of "three and one." This decorating rule says that once you've placed the primary piece above the mantel, you should add three items to one side and one item to the other. For instance, your primary piece may be a large mirror or clock. Once you've hung it above the mantel or rested it in the center of the mantel, you're ready to move on to other decorative pieces. For one side of the mantel, choose three pieces of similar style, but varying heights. This may be three candlesticks, decorative vases, picture frames or other items that have something that ties them together. For instance, picture frames may all be made of the same material or vases may in the same color family. Group them together, with the tallest piece slightly behind the other two. On the other side of the mantel add one final piece. This piece doesn't have to be related in any way to the three on the other side. If you've used three candlesticks on one side, something like a crystal bowl filled with flower petals would work well on the other.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you choose the "three and one" method for your mantel, leave at least 2 or 3 inches of mantel space on either side of your decorative items. This space acts as a visual frame for the art.

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