When I had a corner fireplace in my living room, I was stumped at first on how to arrange my furniture around it. First off, I won’t deny that a corner fireplace is not ideal. If I were designing a new build from scratch, I wouldn’t choose it. It really does create obstacles you simply wouldn’t have with a centered fireplace. That said, good layout options are possible with a corner fireplace. There are even some upsides (believe it or not) that I’ll talk about below. Here’s a guide to making that awkward corner fireplace work for your room!
Benefits of a Corner Fireplace (Yes, there are some)
1. A corner fireplace can look charming and add character:
If you get the design right, a corner fireplace can look cute and quaint. Since they are less mainstream than centered fireplaces, they can be unique architectural elements. Check out these enviable English examples below.
2. There’s less pressure to make it the perfect focal point of the room:
A fireplace can sometimes give a room a formal feel. Or, I should say, folks assume it should. Here’s an interesting factoid: Aside from kitchen cabinets, a fireplace is the home feature I get the most questions on how to “fix”. When people ask me for advice on their fireplaces, it’s often in the realm of “it’s dated”, “can I paint it?” or “should I just rip it out and start over?”
My answers to these will always be to go for it! However, not everyone has the time or budget for that. If it’s an angled fireplace, and not the room’s focal point, it takes the pressure off to make it perfectly fit your style.
3. Better television placement options:
An interior designer would likely say to never put your TV above your fireplace. Now, I’ve broken this rule a few times (so have some pretty well-known designers), but I understand why. Unless you have a Samsung Frame TV, or attempted a frame tv hack as I have, they are not a nice main focal point! Having an off-center fireplace makes it easier to center your television elsewhere, like a beautiful media console table.
4. It can leave more space, and provide better traffic flow:
Imagine the grand fireplace of your dreams. Does it have a stone veneer? A hearth? Beautiful. Now imagine that you don’t live in a grand house. You live in an average home, like the rest of us. You see your kids running around this room, tripping over the hearth.. Point being, a large imposing fireplace doesn’t work for the modest space of most rooms. Also, if your living room is more of a family room / tv room, having the fireplace off to the side will provide more floor space.
Awkward Living Room Layout Solutions
Now let’s talk about ways to make that corner fireplace work and avoid an awkward layout! Usually, the best way to arrange furniture around a corner fireplace is to sort of… ignore it. What I mean is, don’t direct your furniture toward it, and treat it as a pretty design afterthought.
However, if it’s in a glorious spot in your living space where it makes sense to let it commandeer the furniture arrangement, the best placement of furniture will be different. It also helps if this is not your chosen television viewing room – this leaves many more layout options to choose from.
Each room’s ideal furniture layout will vary. Different rooms will have different obstacles to work through – a dining area in the same room, a large window taking up an entire wall, an already narrow living room layout, etc.
A Corner Fireplace in an Open Plan Concept
Ahhh, an open floor plan was one of my conundrums. My entire downstairs was one giant L-shape, with the living area at the center, and the fireplace at the very corner of that L-shape. In this case, you need to be sure to define the distinct areas of the room. The main sofa back will need to face away from the dining room, diving the space, and making the rest of the room your family room / living room / fireplace room.
For my living room, I chose an L-shaped sectional, and the end of the chaise of the sectional left a few feet in front of the fireplace. Always make sure there is enough space for traffic flow. An open concept layout gets extra tricky when it comes to figuring out traffic flow because you’ll be moving in a bunch of different directions!
With a corner fireplace in an open plan living space, the best option is usually to face your sofa toward the flat wall, place your TV on that wall, and then the back of the sofa will serve as a room divider.
A Corner Fireplace in a Small Living Room Space
If you have a very small living space with a corner fireplace, you may consider placing your TV above the fireplace mantle instead of taking up another wall for a console table or entertainment center. This way, you can add extra seating instead. Here, you would direct your furniture toward the fireplace instead of treating it as a secondary focal point as you would in your main TV room.
If we’re talking about a small room that doesn’t have a TV in it, like a formal sitting room, then you have plenty of options since the viewpoint from each seating area won’t matter. You can arrange the furniture to focus on the shape of the room or it’s purpose. For example, two sofas can be sat directly across from each other to create a space for conversation, relaxation, studying, etc. – whatever you wish. Meanwhile, a fireplace will just cozy up the space!
A Corner Fireplace in a Large Living Room
Arranging furniture in a large living room can be just as much of a puzzle as arranging around a small living room. The above design by Emily Henderson highlights the fireplace as a focal point. We have firewood as a decor piece, and wood tones matching the mantle. Windows flank each side of the fireplace. But notice there is no TV in the room so that definitely makes the furniture arrangement puzzle easier!
Depending on how large the room is, you could take this opportunity to create an intimate seating area around the fireplace with additional chairs. Then create another seating area, including the sofa, to center around your television.
To sum it up, a corner fireplace can make a fantastic primary or secondary focal point. This all depends on the main purpose of the room (tv family room, formal living room, etc) and the size and layout of the space before furniture placement.
Take these into consideration, and build around that. From there, remember traffic flow and go for it in adding your personal style to complete the room!