Tips for orienting your living room fireplace

Fireplaces are often the heart as well as the hearth of a home. Plenty of craftsman house plans offer living room fireplaces, but it is up to the homeowners to decide how to incorporate them into the overall layout of the space. 

Orientation of the room is key to incorporating a fireplace. Some of your major considerations should be the purpose of the room, where you will put the fireplace and how you will place the furnishings around it. There are a number of factors that determine the final design, but here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Locating the fireplace
You have two basic options when choosing the location of the fireplace. You can either center it on a wall or you can place it a corner, as is done in HHF-4812. Generally, a centered fireplace lends itself to a more symmetrical room layout where the fireplace is a  focal point of the space. A corner fireplace is better suited for an off-kilter design. However, these are just guidelines, and you can design a room however you see fit. The purpose and size of the space will help determine whether a corner or a centered fireplace is best. 

Front and center
If the fireplace is to be the main focal point of the room, then all of your major designs in the space should emphasize that fact. First, the furniture in the room – ideally couches and chairs – should be oriented around the hearth. No tall furniture should block people's views of the fireplace. You may also want to make the design of the fireplace itself special. A larger, bumped-out hearth will make for a distinguished design element, preferably of brick or stone. You can also extend the height of the chimney all the way to the ceiling for more dramatic effect. While mantels can be a nice decorative element, you can make the fireplace more imposing without one. 

Televisions will compete with the fireplace for people's attentions. For rooms where the fireplace is to be central, it is best either to leave the television for a different room or else incorporate it into the space so that it doesn't distract from the fireplace. This kind of design is best for living rooms generally used for activities like reading, games or casual meals that don't make extensive use of a television. 

A nice accompaniment
If you prefer a television room where the fireplace is a side feature, you will have to be smart about the design layout. The television and the fireplace will pull people's attention in two different directions, which can be awkward and even off-putting. When incorporating a fireplace into a television room you can scale down the visual impact of the hearth by insetting it so that it is flush with the wall. You can also move it off-center or onto a different wall as the television. The corner fireplace already does this to some degree, as it literally relegates the hearth to the side. However, if the fireplace is more visually stunning than the television, it could make the furniture that's oriented toward the television feel poorly aligned. Either a larger television or a smaller fireplace could compensate for that problem.

A common practice is to place the television over the fireplace. While this seems to be an efficient solution, heat and smoke may cause damage to the television. Furthermore, if the fireplace is well-designed, then a television may feel like an eyesore over it. Consider the scale of both furnishings before choosing this option. If you have a great room, you may be able to place the television and fireplace on opposite ends of the room. Floor plans will help determine what is possible, as that setup would not work in a narrow room.