Italian Farmhouse Kitchen Renovation from Vancouver Interior Design Firm, PURE by Ami McKay

Our Favorite Fireplace Ideas

We’ve curated a lovely list of our favorite fireplace ideas for 2023 from past PURE projects to share with you! If you’re fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home, we believe it should be a well loved, well used, and cozy centerpiece. Throughout the years, we have found many wonderful ways to design beautiful fireplaces. They anchor a room for gathering, providing warmth and charm. If your existing fireplace is dated, you could choose to refresh it by adding a mortar wash or over grout to existing brick or stone, or maybe you’d prefer to add some stunning tiles and millwork. If you’re considering adding a new fireplace to a renovation or new build, you have the flexibility to choose its location. You can draw inspiration from the home’s architecture or mix it up to add some tension and variety to the design. Hanging fireplaces are having a moment, with several designs drawing inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s.

Grey Minimal Hidden Fireplace

Fireplace Styles

Your fireplace can either subtly blend in, which is often the case in a contemporary home with a clean and sleek fireplace, or stand out as the focal point in a room. Traditional fireplaces are often significant architectural statements, featuring designs that include intricate plaster or woodwork surrounds and mantles, ceiling-high details, and generous hearths. Versatile styles can include geometric patterns, subtle tones and organic materials. Hanging and freestanding fireplaces offer more flexibility as far as choosing between gas or wood-fired options and placement for the design. The choices are endless, from ultra-contemporary to charming vintage and beyond.

Fireplace Tile Ideas

When it comes to fireplace tile ideas, the possibilities are endless! There are oh so many textures, styles and colors to choose from. An old fireplace can be beautifully refreshed with a fantastic tile surround and a new mantle if needed. Consider how to blend the tiles you choose into the overall design of the room, and what colors or texture would enhance the space. For one of our PURE projects, we chose a white tile with connecting geometric shapes, and for another, we chose luminous tone-on-tone tiles. We love adding color too – deep green or terrazzo tiles are striking choices. This is also a great opportunity to use organic and handmade tiles, considering there is only a small area to cover, especially if you have a mantle.

Green Fireplace Tile Ideas

Fireplace Millwork Ideas

As designers, we truly love using custom millwork to bookend or surround your fireplace, including shelving, windows, and cabinets for storage or to hide a TV. For our PURE Panorama Residence project, we designed an area to stack wood, a custom hearth, and added a bench extending from the hearth to create extra seating.

fireplace with hearth seating

Millwork can extend all the way to the ceiling or fully surround the fireplace, which is a perfect way to conceal a television. For a cohesive design, tie the look of your cabinet millwork into the rest of the house, and consider offsetting the fireplace for added visual interest. Pro tip: if you choose to have a TV over your fireplace, and it can’t be hidden in the millwork, some televisions display art when not being used. Also, be aware that a television placed over a fireplace won’t last as long due to the heat!

Hidden Television Fireplace Millwork

German Schmear Fireplace

A technique that we absolutely love using on fireplaces is the German Schmear, also known as over-grout! This works well with old brick or stone that needs updating. The result is a whitewashed look that is fresh and bright, evoking the feeling of an old European cottage. A thick coat of white mortar wash is applied to heavy grout lines, with extra mortar ‘smeared’ across the surface to create an illusion of perfectly imperfect aged hand-cut brick or stone. The German Schmear technique adds delightful texture, character, and brightens up the color, enhancing the overall feeling in the room. 

Fireplace with German Schmear - Fireplace Ideas 2023

River Rock and Stone Fireplaces

River rock or stone fireplaces have an inviting, rustic appeal. Rocks and stones create visual interest with their diverse sizes, tones, and textures, making them a frequent choice in cottages, chalets, and country homes. These fireplaces can feature built-in wood mantles, wide hearths to hold baskets of chopped wood, and beautiful fireplace tools. We have also incorporated rock and stone fireplaces into contemporary homes, they truly can fit in anywhere. There are so many rock options available, ranging from rustic forms to tiles like travertine, marble, ledge stone, and more, each coming in various sizes, flat or chiseled. For one of our favorite fireplaces, we used three different charcoal-toned ledge stone varieties and sizes in a dry stack profile, beautifully covering the entire fireplace wall.

Stone Fireplace

Outdoor Fireplaces

An outdoor fireplace can add a touch of magic to your backyard, making it extra cozy. We highlighted a beautiful outdoor stone fireplace during a recent renovation, complementing it with an exterior design that included a dining table, seating, and beautiful outdoor lighting. There are also oodles of propane fireplaces to choose from for your deck, patio, or yard if you don’t have one built-in!

Outdoor Fireplace