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10 Quick Ways to Change Your Fire-less Fireplace from a Black Hole to a Worthy Focal Point

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Everyone loves a fireplace aglow with a roaring fire or flickering embers. But your fireplace need not be a gaping empty hole--like a picture frame without a picture--those times you choose not to have a fire.

As you look over these ideas, you'll recognize any that will need to be adapted if you have young children or pets with access to the fireplace.

  • Ivy Basket: A lovely basket filled with a thriving ivy plant adds a touch of nature to your room. Let the ivy trail onto the hearth to keep the look informal.
  • Autumn Vegetables: In the fall, create an arrangement of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, and silk leaves in autumn colors. Set some of your vegetables on upturned wooden bowls to vary their heights.
  • Pine Cones: An arrangement of pinecones of varying sizes, displayed in a large basket, wooden bowl, firewood basket, or even an old washtub works well for a causal country d?cor. Scatter some of the pinecones around the container, too.
  • Pottery Jug & Dried Plants: For another country autumn look, display a large pottery jug in your fireplace, and around it make a loose arrangement of intertwined, dried grapevine. Mingle some other clusters of dried plants into the grapevine. Dried baby's breath, for example, keeps the look open and airy.
  • Poinsettias: Blooming poinsettias, especially ones so large they practically fill the fireplace, look stunning during the winter. Depending on your room, the white ones may be even more dramatic than the red ones. Put smaller potted poinsettias on the hearth.
  • Tropical Vignette: Let your fireplace provide the frame for a tropical retreat vignette when summer rolls around. With a piece of driftwood, display large seashells and colorful glass fishing balls-some perched on the driftwood or on white candle holders to give them height.
    • The truly venturesome might set these goodies on a base of rippling white sand.

      • Party Balloons: Party time? Inflate balloons in keeping with your party's color scheme. Load the fireplace full of the balloons (not helium ones!), using the fireplace screen or glass doors to hold the balloons in place.
        • Tie the ribbons of three helium balloons to a heavy object, such as a wrapped brick wrapped as a "present," at either side of the fireplace.

          • New Year's Vignette: When it's time to ring in New Year, first tape two taut strings inside your fireplace, above where they will be visible. Run each one from a front corner to the opposite back corner, so the strings form an X.
            • Unroll one-fourth inch wide white, silver, and black party streamers and drape them over the strings so they dangle down at varying lengths into the fireplace. Next, unroll more streamers and casually spread a deep pile onto the fireplace floor.

              Now add the appropriate props: champagne bottles and glasses, party hats and horns, a large clock set at almost midnight, or metallic numerals of the New Year. To raise some object, set them on boxes hidden under the streamers.

              • Fresh Flowers: There's no time of year when a large bouquet of fresh flowers set in your fireplace won't look great. Forget the silk ones, though. Let's not kid ourselves that our guests will continue to assume that they are real when they've seen them time and again.
              • Fireplace Candelabra: But, if you're like many of us who feel that a fireplace just needs the flicker of fire to look its best, consider a fireplace candelabra, a candle holder designed specially for your fireplace. You can have a fireplace aglow with light without a single stick of firewood in sight or the expense of gas logs.
                • Some fireplace candelabras are slim enough to fit in front of your existing andirons and grate while others are make to fill your empty fireplace. Select candles for your fireplace candelabra in colors that accent your room or set a holiday's or party's color scheme.

                  Plus, you can even match the fireplace candles' scents to the season or event! Think, for example, pumpkin and spice for Thanksgiving, vanilla or apple spice to elicit a "homey" feel, and lemon for a crisp summer scent.

                  So, your fire-less fireplace need not be a Black Hole after all! You can make your fireplace, the natural focal point of your room, worth looking at even when there are no burning logs.

                  About The Author

                  Susan Penney appreciates simple ways to make our homes renewing spaces for our families. She invites you to visit for fireplace accessories to serve your fire-less or your fire-filled fireplace.


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