New Uses for Old Fireplaces

by Carmen Corbin on January 29, 2012

In earlier times, before the advent of modern heating, it was common for larger homes to be built with multiple fireplaces to service different rooms in the house.  While the owner of such a home today may make occasional use of the main fireplace, a dilemma often remains about the others.  No one wants to remove a beautiful, ornate mantle and fireplace surround, but maybe you’ve wondered what else you could do with a bedroom hearth.  We’d like to offer a few suggestions.    

Repurposing Your Unused Fireplace

If you know you’ll never use a fireplace again (or its interior condition has become unsafe for fires), you’ll have to hire a general contractor to permanently close up the chimney.  Once the firebox is sealed off, let your imagination run wild!

Flowers and Candles:  An attractive flower arrangement can be a welcoming sight at the center of a living room or dining room fireplace.  Make sure you measure the inside of the firebox before you purchase the flowers to ensure a perfect fit.  Another romantic option is to put 3-5 large pillar candles on sturdy holders of varying heights, or use a multi-candle arched holder (place a decorative pan underneath to catch any wax drips).

Collections:  Built-in or freestanding shelving in the firebox makes a perfect display area for collectibles.  If little ones are around, add a locked glass door for protection from curious hands.

Storage:  Add open bins or enclose with custom cabinet doors to create added storage in a bedroom fireplace.  Or simply install a spring-type curtain rod and choose a set of curtains in a color that coordinates with your bedroom décor.

Dumbwaiters and Laundry Chutes

If your historic home has an old dumbwaiter in the kitchen, call a kitchen remodeler to remove the pulley system and secure the box so it no longer moves.  Use the new space to store small appliances, or remove the door and put in open shelves.  Laundry chutes are found in many modern homes, and can also be closed off and repurposed.  Install short closet rods for clothing, or use the space to display framed photos of friends and family.

For more ideas on repurposing your fireplace and other areas in your home, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.

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