However, one of the other great things about a fireplace is that it creates an instant focal point in a room. There is no guessing on what should be the centerpiece of the room. Fireplaces make it easier to decorate even for non-professional-just-trying-to-make-my-home-as-pretty-as-I-can-using-as-little-money-as-possible-people. Like me. Just try to arrange the furniture and decor so that the focus is on the fireplace and mantel and instantly the room looks more put together and balanced. Plus it provides a ready surface for displaying collections, flowers, and seasonal decor. Here are some examples of drool worthy living spaces with a fireplace as the crown jewel of the room. All images are from BHG.com.
I love the round mirror displayed on the mantel in this photo. It looks gorgeous against that wonderful gray paint on the walls.
This fireplace has some amazing tilework around the firebox. Combined with the timeless clock and pop of red on the mantel, it creates a lovely scene. They even show (gasp!) a TV in this room. More like how a real family might utilize the space. Since most real families do have TVs. (We're a little odd in that we only own one TV and hardly watch it.)
I'm not really sure what's up with the couch thing that looks like a bed, but if you ignore the weird furniture, the rest of the room is lovely. The simple arrangement of three pieces of artwork and the tall, elegant candles create the perfect touch for the mantel. I love the rug too, it brings a bit of whimsy to otherwise formal atmosphere of the room.
This is another fireplace that has some amazing tiling. I love how the red wall paint brings out the deep tones of the tile.
This room just made me smile. It's a bit too much pattern for my more simple taste, but I do love the colors and the way it all somehow works together without being too chaotic.
I'm really digging the arrangement of the milk glass all along the top of the mantel in this photo. Again, another interesting use of tile around the firebox to create a lighthouse scene. (Although I'm wondering why they left their worn out shoes in the picture below the table?)