Use the fireplace as a canvas for displaying collectibles.

How to Decorate an All-Brick Fireplace That Goes to the Ceiling

by Lisa McQuerrey

A floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace can be a dramatic focal point in your home. It's also a wide expanse of stonework that may need to be visually broken up with appropriate decor. Use nails and other hardware designed for use in stone or concrete to ensure you are installing decorative elements safely and in a way that doesn't damage the brickwork.

1. Mantel

Create a single mantel or multiple mantels spanning the width of the brick fireplace. For a rustic look, use aged barn wood or split railroad ties. For a Victorian feel, install an iron mantel, and for a more elegant look, go with a plaster cast mantel painted to look like gilded gold. Once the mantel is in place, display decorative elements with some height to draw the eye upward; for example, tall candleholders, slender vases or floral arrangements that extend upward -- think tall reeds, sunflowers or bamboo.

2. Large-Scale Artwork

Install a substantially sized piece of artwork at a midway point above the fireplace. Black-and-white framed prints often create a dramatic look when set against red brick. You can also opt for a series of smaller prints grouped together. For example, two side-by-side columns of three similarly framed prints creates an orderly yet creative look. You could also create a montage of family photos using a collection of mismatched painted frames. Use colors that complement other hues in the room’s décor.

3. Ironwork

Adorn your brick fireplace with large wrought-iron medallions or scrolls. Even a repurposed iron gate can be an eye-catching attraction. If weight is a concern, you can paint lightweight plastic replicas to resemble ironwork. Faux finish the ironwork prior to installation to match other design and decor elements. Trail silk ivy down iron trellises for a natural, botanical look.

4. Shelving

Install staggered shelving across the fireplace expanse and display interesting pieces of pottery, baskets, silk foliage or other collectibles such as art glass, copper kettles or statuary. Shelves with interesting lights positioned behind them will showcase whatever treasures are displayed. For an eclectic look, find a variety of different shelves at flea markets and thrift stores.

5. Mirrors or Clocks

A collection of unusual framed mirrors or clocks makes for an interesting fireplace display. Clocks don’t even have to be in working order to serve as an unusual design element. Even a single large clock or framed mirror can provide a dramatic look; large mirrors have the added benefit of reflecting light and making the room look and feel bigger and brighter.

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