Nothing compares to the warmth of a fireplace on chilly evenings. Just staring into the flickering flames can relax you after a stressful day’s work. Fireplaces can be used all seasons of the year, even in the summer. Not just to create heat, but also as decoration.
Wood fireplace – Cleaning and Maintenance
A wood fireplace can’t be cleaned properly during winter when it’s in constant use so summer is the ideal time to do so.
You should first clear away all the debris and ashes in the hearth using a shovel, brush and vacuum cleaner. Any remaining soot stains can be removed using a sponge or soft cloth and a solution of warm water and a mild detergent.
You should be very careful not to use strong abrasives and/or bleach since they can discolour the fireplace.
As well as cleaning the hearth, summer is the best time to arrange for the chimney to be inspected by a professional.
Not only will they be able to remove the build-up of soot and creosote in the flue which is a potential fire hazard but they can check for any structural damage too.
Decorating your Fireplace
A fireplace is often the focal point of a room with the seating grouped around it. For this reason, the space can seem especially empty in the warmer summer months when there is nothing there to draw the eye.
So, how can you decorate your wood or gas fireplace?
You could replicate the flames of a winter fire by placing candles in or in front of the hearth. A grouping of candles would look great but should be of varying heights and sizes to add interest. If you have a candelabra, this would also provide an eye-catching addition to your fireplace.
Summer is a time when nature is at its finest so why not bring it into your home? Lush plants like ferns or philodendrons could fill the hearth well or you could add a large-sized vase filled with an arrangement of fresh or dried flowers.
You could also use the area in the fireplace to recreate the mood of the summer. Arrangements of pieces of coral, sea glass, driftwood, shells and/or unusually-shaped or -coloured pebbles placed on wooden trays or in wicker baskets would bring the essence of the season into your home and provide an eye-catching and unique display.
If your taste in home décor is more minimalist, one single object like a sizeable piece of artwork such as a piece of sculpture or painted canvas would look attractive placed inside the hearth. Alternatively, you could place a mirror in the alcove. Its reflective surface would add an air of spaciousness to the room.
Fireplace covers or dividers are also available in a range of designs, sizes and materials. They effectively cover the space formed by the lack of a fire and blend in so that a walled-off effect is created.
However you decide to decorate your fireplace in the summer, you should ensure that the display matches the colour palette and home décor style of the rest of the room.
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