Fireplace tile ideas - decorative details for a glowing scheme

Create a fabulous focal point with these tile designs for your fireplace

Fireplace with blue tiles surrounded by white mantlepiece, in a grey and white living room
(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

The fireplace has long been a focal point in our homes. And these fireplace tile ideas can take it up a notch, whether yours is modern or traditional. 

Providing proportion and stature to a room, the perfect fireplace idea isn't just about keeping warm. Those who live in period homes will often keep an original fireplace or fire surround as a feature regardless of whether it's in working use or not. 

Despite real fires falling from favour with the advent of central heating, or the fireplace being usurped by the TV as a focal point, a fireplace or surround is still a popular feature in many types of UK home. 

'As long as you choose the correct type of tile, suitable for the high temperatures your fireplace can reach, tiling it is a great way to add interest and express your personality,' says Harriet Goodacre, tile expert at Topps Tiles. 'By tiling this small area, you can overhaul the look of your entire room.'

10 stunning fireplace tile ideas

Real stone tiles can be used around fireplaces, as they can withstand high temperatures, however, more decorative options are available too which can be better suited to modern fireplace ideas, so check the tile suitability before you buy.  

'We generally recommend porcelain tiles for fireplaces as these offer the strength and durability required,' adds Harriet at Topps Tiles. 'It’s also important to remember that your tiles need to be at least 14 centimetres away from the heat source to prevent discolouration, and in some cases, cracking. Make sure to use the correct heat resistant adhesive and grout too.'

1. Take tiles beyond the hearth

Shower room with fireplace and geometric tiled floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

A tiled hearth looks gorgeous, but why stop there? Originally used as a protective measure, to prevent hot embers or ashes falling onto a combustible floor, a tiled (or brick, stone or concrete) hearth is essential in a room with carpet or wooden floors. 

However, in a room, such as a bathroom, or kitchen (where you might want a tiled floor) you have an opportunity to take tiles beyond the hearth, across the entire floor, creating a more impactful and seamless effect.

2. Make a feature of the chimney breast

tiled fireplace in a living space with blue green zellige tiles on the chimney breast

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Like we said, a fireplace doesn't have to be functional to make a beautiful feature in a room. The interior designer owner of this home used the Mediterranean hues of her blue pottery collection as inspiration for her living room. 

She decided to cover the entire chimney breast in handmade Moroccan zellige tiles from Emery & Cie and to use the existing fire inset to display houseplants. Each square tile has a slightly different tone and texture, so gives a gorgeous mottled effect en masse and makes a beautiful feature.

3. Make a bold statement with slate

bathroom with fireplace and black and white checkerboard floor

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

Even if you do have a tiled bathroom floor, a hearth gives a fireplace a 'finished' appearance, and depending on the material of your tiles, can add protection from stray embers and ashes.

Before choosing tiles for the hearth, consider the style, colour and shape of the fireplace. In this instance, the surround, back panel and inset are moody matt black, so dark slate tiles, or even slate-style porcelain, will bring balance to the fireplace and make a bold statement in the room.   

4. Match the inset and hearth

tiled fireplace in with matching tiles on the inset and hearth in a white living room

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

Keep things decorative yet understated with the same tiles for the hearth and the inset or panel. 

'If you're tiling or refurbishing a traditional fireplace, then adorn the hearth and inset with vintage-style tiles that offer a classic look,' says Amanda Telford, manager at CTD Tiles. 

'Porcelain tiles are a better choice for fires that sit closer to the wall. Tiling inside the fireplace requires a little more thought but the task is easier if your walls are nice and flat.'

5. Team traditional and modern

tiled fireplace in pale grey bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

If you're lucky enough to have an original fireplace, or even just the inset in your home, preserve the ornate antique tiles that remain as a feature. For those who prefer a more modern style, choose a sleek linear surround to frame the traditional tiles.  

Choose simple square white tiles for the hearth to further flatter this feature, which will add character to the space.

6. Create a herringbone effect

Tiles inside a wooden fire surround for a white wood burning stove in a living room

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Giles)

Experimenting with tile laying patterns isn't just for the bathroom, kitchen or floor. Chevron or herringbone laying patterns can be used to great effect in a fireplace too. Here a traditional wooden fire surround and simple white wood burner idea have been elegantly united with the use of tiles laid in an eye-catching way.

'Experimenting with different laying patterns, such as herringbone, can really make the look your own, and ensure your fireplace is the focal point of your room,' says Harriet at Topps Tiles.

7. Go for a brick style tile

modern white painted brick chimney breast with a concrete shelf across the span of the white living room

(Image credit: Future PLC / Armelle Habib)

A fireplace can make a fabulous feature in a modern living room, just as much as it does in one with period features. Although this sleek fireplace is built with white glazed bricks and concrete, a similar look could be achieved with brick slips or brick-shaped tiles laid across an existing chimney breast. 

'You can tile any fireplace yourself, providing the walls are flat and sound and can take the weight of your chosen tiles, but you do need to check the suitability of the type of tile you use,' says Harriet at Topps Tiles. 

8. Inject personality with pattern

Fireplaced tiled in Cuban White Star tiles from CTD Tiles

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

'A tile style should suit the original hearth structure,' says Amanda Telford, manager, CTD Tiles. 'For modern homes, neutral colours and patterns can complement the hearth. Opting for tiles with a decorative pattern will inject personality into the room.'

'Tiling a hearth or fireplace frame can be achieved without seeking professional help and is usually a relatively straightforward task. Ensure you carefully plan your design and layout before starting, consider the equipment you may need to use and the properties of the tile.' Then you have the perfect spot to show off your style-savvy mantelpiece ideas. 

9. Choose chunky terracotta

Arada woodburning stove with terracotta tiled hearth

(Image credit: Arada)

Many people have swapped an open or gas fire for the joys of a wood-burning stove when buying a fire, particularly now they are manufactured with better eco credentials, and are now far less polluting than older models.

These wood-burning stoves are obviously ideally positioned where there is already a working chimney and look gorgeous situated in an old fireplace. If you like the look of exposed brick around the stove, team it with terracotta tiles on the hearth. The warm earthy hues of the terracotta complement the red tones in the brick and will bring a homely rustic style to your room.  

10. Mix things up for modernity

Exposed brick chimney breast with Arada Holborn stove

Arada Holborn stove

(Image credit: Arada)

Exposed brick chimney breasts add warmth to a room and can offer rustic country-style or an urban industrial edge. If you err towards the latter - or just want to make sure your room looks modern - consider combining the bare brick with contemporary or current tiles styles, such as geometric patterns or the ever popular metro tile.  

'Make sure you correctly measure the area you want to cover and double check the tile will cover the required space, lots of tiles come in various sizes,' says Hayley Robson, co-founder of Day True

'Always order samples so that you can see the colour in person or visit a showroom that might stock the tiles.'

What kind of tile is best for a fireplace?

Tiles around a fireplace need to be able to withstand high temperatures, so those made with real stone, such as slate, granite or marble are good and have been used for centuries. If you want a more modern or decorative look, consider porcelain or in some cases, ceramic tiles.

'For a tiled hearth, ceramic or porcelain are good material options for your fireplace,' says Amanda Telford, manager, CTD Tiles. 'These tiles are resistant against heat and are also durable, providing a superior surface choice. 

'Porcelain is considered the most effective tile option due to its toughness and heat resistance, protecting the surface from crazing. However, ceramic tiles can be a  good choice for fires that are not situated too close to the wall.'


Jacky Parker is a freelance interiors & lifestyle journalist, specialising in modern interiors, design and eco living. She has written for Future’s interior magazines and websites including Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home for over fifteen years, both as a freelance contributor and inhouse, with stints as Acting Digital Editor, Livingetc and Acting Style Content Editor, Country Homes & Interiors. Her work also features in national and international publications including Sunday Times Style, Telegraph Stella, The Guardian, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and more. With years of experience in the industry Jacky is privy to the insider view and the go-to places for interior inspiration and design-savvy décor.