From a design perspective, large open spaces or walls can be intimidating but they also present a great opportunity. Often you start with your focal point, in this case we will look at breaking up a large wall with a modern linear fireplace. The U.S. design trend for big walls seems to be ever bigger fireplaces, but we want to illustrate that you can create a dynamic design without creating an inferno! Below we present 8 different design techniques to help you create a masterpiece with your blank canvas.
1. Create Architectural Intrigue
Who says your wall has to stay flat? A large wall is the perfect opportunity to create a dramatic push and pull of architectural elements. The natural recess of your modern fireplace can be echoed by a built-in shelf or contrasted by a chunky modern mantel. The added bonus of this technique is it often leads to new spaces you can use for decoration or storage.
Looking for fireplace design guidance? We do this for a living.
2. Extend your Linear Fireplace without Extending your Flame.
Do you have a 20 foot wall but only a 6 foot linear fireplace? One way to break up a large wall while also bringing more emphasis to your fireplace is to extend the horizontal space your fireplace takes up. In this extended space you can create a niche for books, small sculptures or keep it empty for a more asymmetrical approach. This means you can have a smaller fireplace (read: less unnecessary heat and fuel cost) while giving your fireplace the design prominence it deserves!
3. Create a Distinctive Vertical Element
Another way to accentuate a small to medium fireplace in a large space is to create a dramatic vertical element. This works particularly well for tall walls and in expansive spaces, like a hotel lobby, where the distinctive vertical element can also act as visual wayfinder for guests. In many ways, this method is a modern nod to the centralized and structural chimney/hearth utilized by architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, for generations. Moreover, it is also a convenient way to hide any venting that may be a required for the installation of your linear fireplace.
4. Create Modern Storage for Logs
While many linear fireplaces today use either gas or electricity for fuel, we still cannot deny the natural beauty of rough-cut wood. By creating a modern storage for logs near your fireplace, you not only break up the large wall, but also bring a beautiful textural element to your fireplace motif. The logs can be stacked horizontally or even vertically, depending on the fireplace and desired wall composition.
5. Utilize Multiple Materials for your Fireplace Surround
The perfect antidote to the blank white wall may be a fireplace surround that utilizes multiple (and unexpected) materials and colors. The world is literally your palette as you introduce stone, patina or rusted metals, brick, wood, or even leather (see image below) to your fireplace surround. For those that want a more ‘curated approach’ check out our interactive surround builder and design your custom fireplace surround today.
6. Embrace Minimalism
Not to contradict ourselves here but sometimes a predominantly clean white wall is just the ticket. Minimalism is an aesthetic in art and architecture that embraces the idea of “less is more.” With a large wall and smaller fireplace this mantra can be beautifully interpreted. Just remember, when you have less to look at every gesture and every proportion must be exacting and perfect. A small bench, simple mantle, or a single pop of color can help the viewer’s eye move around the space before it rests on a beautiful clean fireplace.
7. Install a TV
Above Nearby the Fireplace
Fireplaces create natural gathering spaces. During a rainy day, or a snow storm, they are places of warmth, where friends and family come together. But we would be naive to think a fireplace can keep the attention of the modern teenager all on its own. Enter: the television. Just remember, while it’s easy to plop the TV above your fireplace there may be a more elegant way to design your wall. For example, the TV could be offset or hidden by a custom cabinet so it doesn’t distract (too much) from the beauty of your linear fireplace.
*Note you should always read all manufacturer installation manuals before installing electronics above a fireplace as excess heat could potentially cause damage. For more information on safely installing a TV above your fireplace check out our Cool Wall Installation Guide for Element4 Fireplaces.
8. Come Off the Wall to Create Depth
Think outside the box (or off the wall in this instance). Yes, we admit this last method doesn’t directly involve a wall or even a ‘linear fireplace’ exactly but stick with us for a second. A hanging fireplace is a great way to create multiple levels of depth with the large wall acting as background. This helps break away from the typical static fireplace and gives a totally new dimension and flow to your room.
This article was a collaboration by: Cory John Ploessl and Paige Huntress-Parr