How can I make the most of my fireplace?

At Home Tales, we provide an excellent service that best accommodates our clients’ proposed loft conversion, refurbishment, or home extension in London. With Christmas around the corner, and the new year closing in, it’s time to start planning for any home improvement projects. While you have this quiet, albeit cold, period to contemplate what you’d like done, we wanted to share our ideas on how you can really make the most of your fireplace. For example, a kitchen extension in London could easily be designed to highlight an existing chimney breast. Some homeowners choose to ignore their empty fireplace completely, while others dress it up as a statement piece.

Alternate uses for a fireplace


When drawing up proposals for a kitchen extension or reconfiguration, we often find ourselves working around a retired fireplace. In this case, the void of a demolished chimney breast is usually a perfect fit for a large stove. If your concern lies with storage space rather than counterspace, the chimney breast could also be used as an area for built-in shelving.

Living room

This is the perfect room for a nice snug fire, but if you’re not a fan of the conventional wood-burning flame, there are multiple alternatives. Electric fireplaces are incredibly popular now as it projects a realistic fire but is much safer and more energy efficient. They’re great for people with limited mobility as they can be controlled with a remote. A gas fireplace also boasts the look of a real fire but is especially great for a home with an industrial or farmhouse style. Ethanol fireplaces can be placed anywhere and are freestanding, so you don’t really need to worry about fitting it into your chimney breast.

If you’re really against having a working fireplace in your living room, there are plenty of attractive ways to dress this space up instead. Some options include piling logs for a rustic feel, stacking books to show you’re a bookworm, or installing a television into the chimney to suit a sleek, flush interior. The latter allows for unsightly cables to be hidden away.


For a bedroom, your empty chimney breast can house a dog bed, creating a specified zone for your beloved furry companion. Alternatively, place your own bed against a wide chimney to repurpose the built-in feature as a headboard. You could decorate this with trendy wallpaper, a contrasting paint colour, or you could strip it back entirely, taking advantage of the brickwork underneath. This exposed brick adds texture and dimension to any setting.


Strip back and replaster your bathroom fireplace to allow for the perfect space to fit your sink and mirror. To make sure it blends into the rest of the room, install a bespoke counter, and embed your mirror into the chimney itself. Alternatively, add a fresh lick of paint to the tiles and restyle the mantelpiece to create an attractive feature in your modern home.

Decorating for Christmas

For the festive period, put some time into decorating your chimney to make a strong impression on family and friends. Once again, piling logs is a simple and effective way to add a rustic, warm feel to any room. This time, frame the space with realistic green garlands to tie in with your Christmas tree. Hang stockings above the fireplace to get your children excited for the most important visitor. Even better, you could set up a little station in the void for milk and cookies to prepare for Santa’s arrival. For a more subtle approach, place a wreath or small Christmas tree in here to ensure every corner of the room feels festive. Implementing these practices will surely spark Christmas cheer!

Don’t like the look of a chimney breast?

If you’re not too keen on the look of a fireplace, you should consider knocking your chimney back. This process does not require planning permission and will add some extra floor area to your property, allowing for better design flexibility in the room. However, there are some things you must weigh up before going through with this task.

A chimney stack spans the entire height of your property, therefore, if you want to remove a single section of the chimney stack (one fireplace), a steel beam must be installed to keep up the rest of the structure. Typically, our clients choose to remove the chimney stack entirely, whilst keeping the external part of the chimney untouched. We support the external stack in the roof with metal brackets. The whole demolition process can be quite invasive, creating dust that could spread throughout your property. When removing the whole chimney, you may have to stay elsewhere during the works that last approximately 1-2 weeks.

We hope you’ve learnt some new ways to utilise this chimney space because it can definitely add character to a home. To discuss your prospective home renovation with our friendly team, contact us on 02070432378. Alternatively, you can book a free telephone consultation with us here or email us at

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