7 Tips for Adding a Fireplace in Small Spaces

Adding a Fireplace in Small Spaces

Choosing an electric  or gas fireplace for small spaces can be a tricky task to do. A lot of people think that a fireplace can make a room feel smaller than it actually is, but we believe that if you really want to have it at your home, there are ways to make it work.

For many people, sitting by the fire can have multiple purposes. Some use fireplaces as a form of warming up, others use them to meditate, have cozy conversations with their loved ones, or just simply lay in front of a sizzling fire after a stressful workday in order to relax.

If the main purpose of interior design is to create a space where people feel at ease, comfortable, and safe, then it shouldn’t matter whether your house is big or small. No matter the circumstances every person deserves a place that makes them complete and all their wishes are fulfilled.

The short of it that no room is too small for a fireplace. You just need to turn to your imagination, do research, trust the professionals, and you will end up with the fireplace of your dreams.

In this article, we would like to give you some 7 tips for incorporating a fireplace into small living spaces, but before we do that here is some useful information about the correlation between the size of your room and the fireplace sizing.

Fireplace Size Vs. Room Size

The first thing you need to know is to determine the volume of your room. In order to do it measure the width, length, and height of your room in inches and multiply these three numbers by each other. The result will be the volume of your room. If you multiply that number by 4 then you will end up with the minimum output of heat needed for your room.

Let’s do the example to better understand this process. Let’s say your room dimensions are 18 by 15 feet and the height of your ceilings is 10 feet. When we multiply these numbers we get 2700 (this is the volume of your room). Now multiply by 4 and the minimum output number is 10,800 BTU (British Thermal Units).

In general, gas fireplaces come in 3 sizes thus 3 heat outputs:

24’’ x 24’’ 10 000 – 18 000 BTU
36’’ x 30’’ 25 000 – 30 000 BTU
48’’ x 32’’ 35 000 – 40 000 BTU

So to continue on our example, the number we got after multiplying by 4 was 10,800, this number falls into the first category, thus you would need 24’’ x 24’’ fireplace for the room.

This is the general rule to determine the size of a fireplace you need.

One thing that we would like to add is to not be shy to ask the sales associate for more details while shopping. At the end of the day, they are the experts in their niche and know what is the best fit for you.

Now, let’s return to the main subject of this article, how our interior design tips help you in the process of creating a space with a fireplace. No matter the size of your room.

 Tips For Adding a Fireplace in Small Spaces

1. Know Your Measurements

Before starting any work, the first thing you should do is measure the room. These measurements will help you in multiple ways:

  • The volume of the room (width x length x height) will help you determine the heat output thus the size of the fireplace (as we have already discussed in the previous part);
  • The measurements between the couch, sitting area, and the wall intended to host the fireplace will help you determine the needed legroom for walking, or pulling the chairs in and out;

2. Decorate the Mantel With Artwork or a Mirror

Decorating a mantel is crucial when it comes to the fireplaces. You could go for the minimalist look and leave a blank wall but, we think that fireplace decor always brings coziness and a sense of completeness to the room.

When it comes to decorating a fireplace the area what needs the main focus is the mantelpiece. Other than decorating with your favorite artwork, or candles, it’s a very good idea to place a moderately large mirror above the fireplace. This will trick the eye and in effect increase the size of the room.

But remember, this is your home, you do you. You can mix and match different decorations, for example, you could incorporate plants, candles, and artwork at the same time. Or just use a big mirror and plants. The most important part of decorating is to listen to your heart, stay true to your style, and choose the decor according to that.

3. Utilize Space Around the Fireplace

Using up every possible inch for storage is a must in a small room, especially in the living room. In this modern era, we have a lot of gadgets, chargers for everything, board and card games, toys for our children or pets. This is the stuff that we always looking to store.

Luckily, fireplaces that are placed in the middle of the wall give us the possibility to create shelves, and storage units around them. It’s important to understand that in confined areas you should try and create proportionate spaces. For example, if you decide on creating a shelving unit on one side of the fireplace, you should do the exact same for the other side too.

4. Create a Proportionate Area in Front of the Fireplace

To continue the thought process from the previous tip, you should always aim to create a proportionate space in front of the fireplace as well. If the measurements of the room allow you to place a coffee table and chairs/armchairs in the sitting area, you should distribute the chairs evenly, one on each side of the fireplace.

Depending on the space, the ultimate sitting area in front of the fireplace would include a moderate-sized couch facing the fireplace, two armchairs facing the couch on a 45-degree, and a coffee table in between them. This creates a balanced area for lounging and encourages conversation between people.

5. Add Character to the Fireplace

A good-looking fireplace can be the center of attention and the focal point of your small room. If you are a house party hoster then it can be a conversational starter as well.

It’s important to know that there are multiple ways you can add character to your fireplace. For example, you could expose the brick around the rim (just a heads up, if you can afford it, hire a professional to do the breaking part of the wall), add the decorative wallpaper on the wall around the fireplace, add pattern with the decorative tiles, or paint the whole fireplace the same color as the whole wall.

These options will definitely give your fireplace a distinguished look and will be a guaranteed conversation starter.

6. Install a Double-sided Fireplace

When dealing with small spaces, you usually don’t want to waste your space on walls and other bulky dividers. This is why people opt for open floor plans.

For people who love open floor plans, double-sided fireplaces are one of the best ways to separate different areas from each other. Other than giving the unique look to your house, double-sided fireplaces are great when it comes to the heat and light distribution.

7. Choose Unconventional Styles of Fireplaces

It’s important to know all the options you have when it comes to fireplaces. If the space doesn’t allow you to add the traditional deep-in-the-wall fireplace, you can always go for an electric one that can be mounted to the wall or installed in a corner. There’s also a free-standing fireplace that can be placed anywhere your heart desires.

The corner and recessed fireplaces give your house a modern, unique, sleek look, while free-standing ones give the old, country-side, cozy look to your living. You just need to think about what will fit best in your style and overall look of your home.


To sum up, everything that has been said above, it is always possible to incorporate a fireplace in small spaces. You just need to plan ahead, do a lot of research on Pinterest and Google, trust your gut, your imaginations, your style, and just go for it.

And don’t forget to keep in mind that the measurement of your room matters the most. It will determine the size and output power of your intended fireplace.


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