The Top 56 Fireplace Hearth Ideas
“We no longer build fireplaces for physical warmth. We build them for the warmth of the soul; we build them to dream by, to hope by, to home by.” – Edna Ferber
Virtually every fireplace needs some type of hearth. Whether you have a wood burning fireplace, a gas fireplace, or even a faux fireplace, a hearth is an essential component of your fireplace design ideas.
These fire-resistant zones protect your home from fires caused by sparks and embers. Hearth options exist to fit any decorating style and budget. Look through our carefully selected collection of fireplace hearth ideas for inspiration on building or remodeling your hearth.
Brick is one of the most common materials used in building a fireplace hearth or surround. Inexpensive and durable, brick can carry off nearly any design style, from rustic to contemporary. When building a brick fireplace, a brick hearth feels like a natural addition. Classic red brick adds a country or farmhouse feeling to the room.
To update an original brick hearth finish, paint the brick. Popular paint colors for exposed brick fireplace elements include white and various shades of grey. If you have a wood stove instead of a traditional fireplace, hire a mason to lay a brick hearth beneath the stove and on the wall behind it.
Using concrete on a fireplace surround is a great way to cover up a dated brick or stone hearth. Concrete is also less expensive than some hearth surround materials. Concrete adds a smooth, modern vibe to your fireplace hearth.
A concrete hearth can be stained or textured if you want something beyond a smooth, grey finish. Various glazes or sealants also change a concrete hearth’s color and sheen.
A freestanding fireplace or stove may or may not need an actual fireplace hearth. If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove, a hearth is required to protect your home from flying sparks and falling embers. Gas fireplaces are less of a fire hazard and units with zero clearance won’t need a hearth.
However, many homeowners prefer the look of a traditional fireplace that includes a flat or raised hearth. Placing a marble, brick, or stone hearth under a freestanding electric fireplace or gas fireplace turns it into a real focal point. Anchor a small freestanding corner fireplace in the room with a masonry hearth that extends up the wall behind it.
Marble is perhaps the most elegant material you can use for a fireplace remodel. White marble is a classic natural stone used to create an all-white fireplace surround. Marble comes in many different colors, including black, green, onyx, pink, and brown. Its veining patterns range from subtle to dramatic.
If real marble is too expensive for your budget, you can apply adhesive tiles to create a fake fireplace hearth that looks like marble. You can also achieve a similar finish with heat-resistant paint. Watch this video for tips on painting a dated marble tile fireplace hearth:
A modern fireplace is simple, streamlined, devoid of unnecessary details. This doesn’t equal boring, however, as modern fireplace decor often becomes the room’s most dramatic feature. For example, an oversized glossy black marble fireplace surround makes a strong statement in an otherwise all-white room.
Explore a variety of architectural tile styles to add dimension to your modern hearth and mantel fireplace idea. These marble, granite, and other types of tiles come in a variety of geometric shapes and textures. They are great for adding detail to a monochromatic modern color scheme.
Mosaic art has been around since the third millennium BC and its classic beauty is still an excellent choice for embellishing a fireplace mantel and hearth. Naturally heat-resistant, mosaic is a great way to add artistic detail to a concrete or stone fireplace.
Mosaic-enhanced masonry fireplace design is often found in Mediterranean style homes. Mosaic fireplace tile can be made of any number of things, from small porcelain tile to broken dinnerware. It can be applied to most areas of a mantel or hearth in a way that embraces your interior design style.
Rustic style conjures images of log cabins and country lodges, of lake houses and industrial lofts. Stacked stone is a common indoor and outdoor fireplace material. Its rough edges and color variety make a stacked stone fireplace perfect for all types of rustic dwellings.
A rustic hearth benefits from the addition of a similarly rustic mantel. A simple mantel shelf made from a big piece of rough hewn lumber fits the style. Wrought iron brackets and bolts are perfect metal embellishments to add to a rustic, cozy fireplace.
Flagstone, river stones, and stacked stones all make attractive fireplace hearths. It’s usually well worth the expense to hire an experienced mason to build an original masonry fireplace in your home or outdoor kitchen. While prefabricated stone fireplaces can provide a similar look, a real masonry fireplace’s workmanship is unmatched.
Stone can be rough-cut for rustic decor, or polished for a more refined appearance. Brick-shaped stones provide a unique hearth that marries the best qualities of a brick fireplace and stone fireplace. Add an upgraded fireplace insert to an old stone fireplace to improve its heat efficiency.
Large or small, plain or detailed, tile has always been a good material to use on fireplaces and hearths. If you have a tile floor, the same type and size can be used to cover a raised hearth. Floor tiles also work well when applied to the wall surrounding the fireplace opening.
Glass tile makes an elegant fireplace surround and wall treatment that pairs well with larger hearth tiles. Hand-painted tile is a traditional accent on Italian and Spanish hearths. Tile laid in a chevron or herringbone pattern adds subtle detail to a modern fireplace structure.
In Victorian times, the most common fireplace mantel material was wood. While that sounds simplistic, Victorian wood mantels often included highly detailed carvings and trim. Wood is an excellent material to use if you want to build a faux mantel for a fireplace-like accent in any room. This video explains how to make a simple DIY faux fireplace and mantel:
Metal fireplace hearths also appear regularly in Victorian homes, usually coupled with intricate iron inserts. Decorative tile is another material that’s at home with Victorian design, with floral and greenery patterns a classic choice.
A white fireplace, hearth, and mantel works with any style, from classical to modern. Painting your current brick or stone fireplace white is a great way to refresh a dated hearth that no longer complements your decor.
Couple an all-white fireplace with black-and-white encaustic tile on the hearth. Add a black wood mantel to balance the colors.
Fireplace Hearth FAQs
Paint is one of the easiest ways to do a fireplace makeover. Use heat-resistant paint to change the look of the entire fireplace surround. Metal, brick, stone, and wood surfaces are all good candidates for a paint-based makeover. Update unattractive smooth tile with peel-and-stick tiles.
According to the International Code Council, a fireplace hearth must extend a minimum of 16 inches from the fireplace opening. It must also be at least 2 inches thick and reach at least 8 inches beyond the firebox on each side.
If your floor is made from tile laid on top of concrete, you may not need to add a hearth to your fireplace design. However, many choose to for aesthetic reasons. A hearth designates a visual safe zone around the fireplace opening and provides a clear place to store wood and fireplace tools.