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Define Your Fireplace with a Stone Surround

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

Fireplaces get more use when the temperature drops, but they are a major design feature year-round. Does yours have a suitable surround that frames flames when they’re there and can stand alone as its own focal point in the off season? A fitting fireplace surround can elevate the entire room, so be sure to choose the right one to be a permanent part of your interior design. Here are some different ways that stone can be crafted into a beautiful highlight for your hearth!

Eldorado Stone The Carmela

The Carmela is a traditionally styled, limestone-look surround with an 11.5” depth mantel, making it perfect for decorating.

The Classic Mantel Surround

When imagining a fireplace, most people envision a formal carved stone surround. Made up of pilasters on the sides and a mantel across the top, this is a popular option liked for its comparatively simple installation and classic lines. The variety of styles available ranges from ornate traditional, which can include plenty of curves and finer details from top to bottom, to utterly contemporary, which is sleek and more simply geometric. The easiest way to categorize different looks is to look at the width of the mantel; if it overshoots the pilasters, you have a design on the traditional side, but if it’s equal for a square or blocky effect, it’s firmly contemporary. There’s plenty of variation along the spectrum, so you’re sure to find options that suit your home and personal style.

Beyond the aesthetic aspect, many people insist on a mantel surround because of the decorative potential. Whether used to store favorite books or knickknacks, or to host seasonal arrangements, a mantel makes its own statement as much as it provides space for you to make your own. If this is an important feature for you, be sure to check out the specifications for the mantel depth of each model you consider. Some are shallow and provide only a few inches of shelf space, while others offer more than a foot. Of course, the profile affects the fireplace’s ambiance and that of the whole room as well—you don’t want to choose a big, bulky surround for a small room, as it would overpower the space. Strike a balance with the parts that have to be fixed to the wall first.

Eldorado Stone LedgeCut33

This sleek LedgeCut33® veneer in Sage makes a beautiful and modern accent around the fireplace, and extending it to highlight a wall helps to create a dynamic yet balanced interior design.

Personalized Stone Designs

If you want more control over the final look of your fireplace, you might want to use stone and mortar to construct exactly what you want. Veneer is available in every sort of size, shape, texture, and color imaginable. Perhaps large, flat-faced blocks would build the utterly minimalistic and industrial look of your dreams, or you want a totally unique design that includes the gamut of a number of characteristics. Many types of stone veneer have varied pieces, and depending on the overall style, you can use them to create natural looks or patterns. Some homeowners take it even further by buying two or three different products, but mixing and matching is best done with professional guidance.

While traditional mantel surrounds simply fit around the fireplace, there is a ton of design flexibility with stone veneer. Some people choose to build the shape of a mantel surround with the extra visual interest that stone affords. Others lay the stone against the wall and extend it up to the ceiling so it looks like a chimney, regardless of if their fireplace actually vents. There’s also the whole or partial accent wall option, which is common in contemporary architecture because it gives structure to wide open spaces. Finally, many people like to combine stone and mantel surrounds to get the best of both worlds—like a chimney look and the extra decorative potential. The adaptability of veneer means you can take it in practically any direction you want.

Eldorado Stone TundraBrick

Keeping with its bright farmhouse vibe, this kitchen’s fireplace features a fresh take on an old medium with TundraBrick® in Chalk Dust, which offers clean lines, worn surface texture, and light grayscale shades.

Beyond Stone Options

If stone looks just don’t do it for you, rest assured you still have plenty of options. Brick is available in colors beyond classic red, giving homeowners the chance to go old-fashioned or edgy. And it’s a natural choice for fireplaces, where it has been used for thousands of years. One distinct advantage of brick is its regularity, which is a major selling point for anybody who has a pattern in mind. The traditional running bond is ubiquitous, but decorative herringbone and basket weave designs add some flair. Put different colors in the equation and your fireplace will be a one-of-a-kind piece of geometric art.

Recently, wood has moved beyond the floor to make a statement on walls, too. While you might be understandably hesitant to put real wood around the fireplace, noncombustible wood-look products are perfect to add an extra unique touch. Vintage Ranch is made of concrete but has all the natural texture and color you want, so it could make a stunning and unexpected addition to your hearth. It was even named one of the best new home products of 2017 by This Old House!

If you’re interested in seeing more possibilities, check out the Fireplace Inspiration Gallery from Eldorado Stone and Kindred Outdoors & Surrounds. With a huge variety of stone surrounds, stone veneer, and brick, you won’t be stuck for lack of styles to choose from! Eldorado Stone also offers design services if you need expert help finding the perfect product(s), so get ready to make your fireplace stand out for all the right reasons!