No fireplace living room ideas – 10 ways to find a fireless focal point

No fireplace? No drama, there are plenty of creative and cosy solutions for lounges that lack a hearth…

white and green living room with three prints on wall
(Image credit: Future)

We’ve all swooned over lounges boasting stunning fireplaces centre-stage. But what about no fireplace living room ideas? Where's all the love for them?

Because if your space doesn't have a fireplace, it needn’t be left out in the cold. Real flames are not the only focal point opportunity and there are plenty of smart steps you can take to inject similar warmth into your living room ideas, without fire. 

‘Not having a fireplace in your living room doesn’t mean that you can't create the cosy vibe you desire. The key is to focus on comfort, aesthetics and personalisation,’ says Kate Conrad, lead designer at Madison and Mayfair. ‘The first step would be to think of which wall is the focal point as that would be the wall with a striking statement such as a large piece of artwork or a mirror.’ 

Adding indoor plants to your living room will also help, as well as adding more substantial fixtures and features, such as bookshelves and rugs, which can all come together to generate that cosy atmosphere. 

No fireplace living room ideas

Whether you are struggling with styling small living room ideas or overcoming spatial challenges in a larger, cavernous space, our experts have plenty of hot tips and clever tricks for decorating your no fireplace living room ideas in a way that won't feel at all compromised.

1. Go faux

blue tiled chimney breast with blue archers and gold and glass coffee table

(Image credit: Future)

Your no fireplace living room ideas may not have an actual working hearth, but you can create the look by boxing out a faux chimneybreast using simple stud-frames and plasterboard. 

‘A false chimneybreast can bring much-needed shape to boxy living rooms and provide a natural focal point,’ says interior designer, Louise Robinson. ‘Brick slips inside the ‘hearth’ will boost authenticity, while shelves either side will recreate the fireplace alcove scenario familiar in many period properties.’

As you won’t need the full depth of a working chimney, the space sacrifices will be minimal – just 30cm deep is sufficient to achieve the impression of a chimneybreast without losing too much valuable floorspace. Here, pretty zellige tiles ensure the ‘fireplace’ takes centre-stage.

2. Dress (windows) to impress

living room with yellow sofa and curtains to garden

(Image credit: Hillarys)

If you don’t have a living room fireplace, it’s the perfect opportunity to draw the eye to the windows, especially if the windows in question boast expansive views. Even if they overlook the neighbour’s fence, dressing windows and glass doors beautifully will lock down their status as the room’s focal point.

‘Opt for floor-to-ceiling curtains in a classical print to imbue no fireplace living room ideas with a sense of grandeur,’ suggests Yvonne Keal, senior product manager at Hillarys

‘Soft, neutral shades will help create a calming feel and will work with many different decor styles. Natural, linen-look fabrics will enhance the authentic feel, while thermal linings can not only keep off the chill, but also help to create a rich, full look at the window.'  

3. Choose impactful art

white and green living room with three prints on wall

(Image credit: Future)

While no fireplace living room ideas aren't exactly ideal, it could be the chance to flex some creative freedom by plotting a fabulous picture wall. Whether you decide to go for a full-on gallery wall, or a sophisticated triptych of outsized prints, there are plenty of high impact living room picture wall ideas that can prove even more visually interesting than a fireplace.    

‘If you are looking to achieve a strong focal point with art, using a range of striking designs or colours will instantly add personality to your space and draw your eyes towards the feature,’ says Anna Elkington, director of Melody Maison.

‘For minimalist living rooms a gallery wall doesn’t have to be overwhelming, by making sure artwork fits your living room style the results can be subtle but effective. A top tip is to stick to a specific colour scheme and ensure your artwork is cohesive by using the same style and colour frames throughout,’ she adds.  

4. Commission a media cabinet

media cabinet with tv in and grey sofas

(Image credit: Sharps)

Savvy media units make an excellent fireplace replacement boasting extra storage benefits and a beautiful way to frame a large television – movie nights incoming! Opt for a made-to-measure unit to maximises its full potential. 

‘From the configuration through to the finish, a made to measure built-in media cabinet will ensure you make the best use of available space and can be tailored to your unique requirements,'says Rachal Hutcheson from Sharps.

'Choosing a luxurious finish and adding bespoke elements like under shelf lighting will create a cosy atmosphere, making your cinematic evenings even more enjoyable.'

5. Embrace bioethanol

white living room with fireplace and floral art and white coffee table

(Image credit: Bioethanol Fireplace)

Bioethanol fireplaces feature real flames but without the hassle of cleaning and maintaining a fireplace.  ‘They’re a great way to achieve the cosiness of a fireplace, and can be installed by anyone, without the need for a flue or chimney, which means it can be placed anywhere you’d like without having to worry about fumes, soot or the like,’ explains Sara Mølnitz, Marketing Manager, Bioethanol Fireplace.

 A bioethanol fireplace runs on bioethanol fuel which is produced from biological material making it an eco-friendlier choice. Look for bioethanol that has an alcohol percentage between 95% to 97.5% – lower will burn a blueish flame and have a strong odour, while higher will burn too fast and too hot.  

Bioethanol fireplaces are not designed to heat your entire home but they can certainly add cosiness to a new build living room. And, as when buying a woodburner, you should match the heat output of the bioethanol fireplace to the dimensions of the room you’re heating. One litre of bioethanol fuel should burn for four-eight hours, depending on heat setting.

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This portable tabletop version can be used indoors or out, meaning you can add warmth to your living room in the winter, and bring it outside when alfresco evenings return

6. Hang a mirror

blue living room with grey sofa and mirror

(Image credit: Future)

Mirrors make great statement pieces, with the added benefit of boosting the sense of light and space in your no fireplace living room ideas. ‘Placing a mirror above a low cabinet or shelf will mimic the design of a fireplace and create a centrepiece within your living room,’ adds designer Anna. 

‘If you’re looking to attract attention to a certain area of your room then choose an oversized mirror with a unique design or frame. However, make sure the mirror fits with your space, if it is too big it could look out of place and stand out for all the wrong reasons.’

7. Add colour and texture

pink living room with gold sofa

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson/Tom Mannion)

To mimic the warm, cosy atmosphere of a fireplace in your new build home, interior designer Matthew Williamson promotes the power of choosing warm colours for your walls. 

‘I am loving a soft plaster pink at home at the moment, as it feels like a new neutral – it’s warmer than grey and more interesting than beige,’ he enthuses. ‘Drench the living room with it and paint the woodwork, window frames, ceiling or even a piece of furniture in the same shade to create interest and add warmth to the space without it needing a fireplace. You can also choose similar tones of the same colour to layer on the warmth and create a similar effect.’

For extra layers of texture and colour, Matthew recommends investing in accessories such as velvet cushions and printed bed throws in rich chocolate, mustard yellow, cinnamon and burnt orange tones. ‘I feel this palette will work well against most neutrals and soft colours and will instantly add a cosy element to the room,’ he adds.

8. Build bookshelves

A library room with built-in bookshelves, a ladder and two sofas

(Image credit: 247 Blinds)

Distract attention away from an empty wall in no fireplace living room ideas by covering it in bookshelves. ‘Bolting together flatpack bookcases is an easy way to fill a wall and create a library vibe if your living room doesn’t have a fireplace,’ says DIY expert, Ryan McDonough at MyJobQuote.co.uk.

Take the shelving from wall-to-wall and right up to the ceiling to get that exclusive ‘member’s club’ aesthetic. ‘Attaching moulding to the top and bottom will give it a built-in look, boosting the style and making it look more expensive,’ adds Ryan. ‘Painting the shelves in a deep, warm colour will ramp up the cosiness.’ 

9. Look up

grey living room with big designer pendant light

(Image credit: Future)

Focus attention above by giving your ceiling a major glow up. A fabulous ceiling rose, gorgeous coving and punchy light fittings can all be used to turn all eyes upwards upon entering a living room! 

‘Wallpapering the ceiling or going for a full colour-block approach with rich paint colours can also add drama overhead, so the absence of a fireplace will go completely unnoticed,’ adds interior designer Louise Robinson. The more interesting you can make the ceiling, the better; think gold leaf panelling, vintage mirror or lime-washed tongue-and-groove for a cute coastal vibe.

10. Source a statement dresser

blue living room with floral curtain and white dresser

(Image credit: Future)

Using a statement dresser as the centrepiece is a creative way to add character and functionality in a living room that lacks a fireplace. Source a glazed design to keep dust at bay and let your inner stylist loose by creating beautiful displays of your favourite books, photos and other treasures. Change with the shelfie action up with the seasons or to match upholstery updates in the room.

‘When sourcing a statement dresser, it’s important to choose a size that will give at least one meter of space surrounding the piece. This will stop it from feeling too cramped,’ advises interior designer Rudolph Diesel. ‘Be sure to add a decorative lamp or pendant light for some atmospheric lighting, and I’d recommend trying to colour co-ordinate the dresser with the style of the rest of the room.’ 

FAQs

How do I make my living room cosy without a fireplace?

Creating a cosy living space without a fireplace is easily achieved through considered colour choices and use of a few key accessories.

 ‘Deep rich tones swathed across the walls, or chosen on upholstered furniture pieces, provides a warming base from which you can build your desired atmosphere,' says Patricia Gibbons from Sofa.com’s design team.

'Soft throws, scatter cushions, and a tactile rug for underfoot warmth accentuate the effect of a snug space within no fireplace living room ideas.'

‘As a final thought, lighting which mimics the soft glow of a fireplace is best – a mixture of lamps and sconces will provide ambience, and overhead pendants can be added if required for additional light.’

How do you arrange a room without a fireplace?

The omission of a fireplace can prove liberating when planning the layout of a living room as you’ll gain a free wall and won’t feel obliged to focus the whole space around this one feature. 

You will still need to plot out the position of doorways and windows in the room, and, as with any room in the house, establishing a key focal point will help to arrange a room without a fireplace in a way that feels considered and comfortable. 

If space is restricted, this could be as simple as an outsized work of art, mirror or a wallpaper mural on one ‘feature’ wall, with sofas and other furniture arranged to either side. With more space to space, go for a large dresser, media unit or faux fireplace on which to centre your layout. 

Linda Clayton
Contributor

 Linda Clayton is a professionally trained journalist, and has specialised in product design, interiors and fitness for more than two decades. Linda has written for a wide range of publications, from the Daily Telegraph and Guardian to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She has been freelancing for Ideal Home Magazine since 2008, covering design trends, home makeovers, product reviews and much more.