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Should Furniture Face The Fireplace?

If you're considering purchasing a home that has a fireplace, you might be wondering how the furniture should be arranged around it. Should only the sofa face the fireplace? Does the entire living room set need to be set around the fire? Can you have your furniture away from the fireplace altogether? We examined the layouts of scores of living rooms and dens so that we can establish whether or not your furniture has to face the fireplace.

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Your living room furniture should only face the fireplace if you want it to be the dominant focal point of the room. Living rooms and dens that have the fireplace and mantle centered make this very easy. It's best to decide how to arrange the furniture based on your aesthetic, which might mean having furniture face away from the fire.

Now that we know that furniture doesn't have to face the fireplace, we'll look into some living room layouts to show you some great options. You might also be wondering where to place a television in a room with a fireplace, or how far your sofa needs to be from the fire. To see what we've discovered, keep reading in this post. 

A beautiful photo of a cosy living room with fireplace, Should Furniture Face The Fireplace?

Layout ideas for rooms with a fireplace

In this section, we'll show you some excellent ways to arrange your furniture in a room with a fireplace. 

Fireplace as a focal point

Beautiful living room interior with hardwood floors and fireplace in new luxury home. Couches at Right Angles are Opposite Armchairs and Fireplace with Surround that Stretches to Ceiling

This room uses the fireplace as the dominant focal point. The layout the homeowner decided upon has all of the furniture arranged around the fireplace so that it can be viewed and enjoyed from every seat in the room. This type of setup gives a great sense of coziness and warmth. It begs for meaningful conversation.

Fireplace that's off-center

Loft Room with Fireplace

In this room, we see a fireplace that was deliberately placed off-center, eliminating it as the room's primary focal point. The furniture in the room isn't arranged around it, but rather has been established as room features that immediately jump out to the eye. Having the fireplace adjacent to the sofa gives the fireplace the appearance of a piece of art, rather than as a source of heat.

Fireplace that is one of multiple focal points in a room

beautiful Scandinavian spacious living room with modern sofas, fireplace, modern lighting system and big windows with curtains.

The fireplace in this bright room serves as a focal point for anyone who might be sitting on the sofa in front of it. You'll notice the grand wall of windows that this unit has been placed among; these serve as focal points for anyone that might be sitting in the furniture adjacent to them.

A room set up in this way gives a person opportunities to gaze upon the hearth, or the option to look out at the landscape by only shifting his or her gaze, or by changing seats.

Fireplace as a backdrop

Black classic interior with fireplace, leather armchairs, carpet, candles

In this den, we see two Chesterfield chairs at slight angles to one another. These chairs are set in a way that suggests two people conversing, but are also angled so that the occupants might be sharing silent company with one another. The fireplace in this room is behind the chairs, to the backs of those that would be seated. This particular fireplace is being used as a backdrop, which ties the room together nicely. 

Fireplace competing with a television for room dominance 

Beautiful living room interior with hardwood floors and fireplace in new luxury home

The homeowners here have chosen to mount their television side by side with the fireplace. They then arranged the furniture around each of them, with most seats getting a clear view of both. While the layout is pleasant, the homeowner could have chosen to mount the television above the flames. Later in this post, we'll explore some layouts that include televisions that might inspire you. 

How far away should the couch be from the fireplace?

Traditional fireplaces can be a hazard to anything that might be too close. Homeowners need to be careful to not set rugs, furniture, or anything flammable too close, lest an ember pop from the fire and cause a burn.

Innovations made fireplaces much safer over the years. Chained hearth skirting or fireplace screens prevent the above scenario from happening. Natural gas flames in some fireplaces eliminate the need for wood altogether.

Check out this fireplace screen on Amazon.

With modern fireplaces, furniture is more arranged for aesthetic reasons than for safety. Ideally, the closer you are to the fire, the more of its heat you can enjoy. Experts say that having your seat at least two feet away will allow for you to safely enjoy the warmth of the flames, while still having your furniture far enough away so that the flow of the room isn't disrupted. 

Where should a TV be placed with a fireplace? 

The television and the fireplace can both be considered focal points in a living room or den. Many room layouts make sure that anyone seated in them has good visual access to both. But where is the best place for the television?

The answer to this question is really a matter of personal taste and available room. Many people will mount their television above the fireplace so that the furniture can be arranged around this line of sight. We see this layout in the photo below:

Luxurious living room with a large sofa and fireplace

Of course, you can do as this homeowner did, and leave the fireplace as the room's dominant feature by mounting the television off to one side. This layout suggests that the television might not be used as much as a group activity, as there aren't many seats that get a full view of the screen. 

Monochrome living room with wood and grey tiling accents

Here are even more ideas for TV placement in a living room with a fireplace: 27 Living Rooms With A Fireplace And TV

Can you have a mantle without a fireplace?

You may have stumbled across a beautiful antique fireplace mantle at an antique store or estate sale. If your home doesn't have a fireplace, can you still enjoy the mantle? Absolutely. These mantles can be placed in any room and decorated to your liking. If you want to know more about fireplace mantles, check out this article: How High Should A Fireplace Mantel Be?

For an added level of coziness, you could consider having a fake fire installed in what would be the hearth. 

This faux fire log set is lightweight, at only twelve pounds. It's fully electric and is powered by a common electrical outlet. This unit emits just enough heat to mildly warm the room on a chilly day.

To view this faux log set on Amazon, click here.

In Closing

Fireplaces in the home have been built to be the centerpieces for living areas for centuries. How you arrange your furniture around them will depend on whether or not you want to have the fireplace be the dominant focal point. No matter what your preference is, there are countless layout options for any living room or den that has a fireplace. The one you choose should be the one that gives you the most pleasure.

If you found this post on furniture to be helpful, we believe you'll enjoy reading the following posts:

What Color Should My Fireplace Mantel Be? [3 Design Options]

Should Fireplace Mantel Match Trim Or Floor?