Aside from providing heat, a fireplace has been known to create a certain feeling, bring a certain tone or portray a certain style. In fact, most designers would say to make your fireplace the primary focus of the room - the grand statement. This can be true in certain cases however, lately I have been gravitating toward spaces that do just the opposite. Placing the focus more on furniture placement and conversation areas rather than displayed objects is an easy way to modernize your space while creating a more relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Here are some examples of how to keep it relaxed. Keep it fresh. Keep it real.
Use it as a backdrop. The unframed snapshots and mismatched display items keep the fireplace looking casual and part of a larger composition. The lamp and guitar resting on the base offer an invitation to sit down and get comfortable.
Keep it simple. Often times, fireplaces can tend to look more formal especially if constructed out of marble. Displaying a couple key, small objects in an asymmetrical way can dress down the area. Balancing traditional pieces with modern patterns, textures and light fixtures can also help make the space seem less formal.
Give it a purpose. A lot of times, fireplaces are treated like a built-in display case. Streamline the room's design by getting rid of the mantel and frame while using the chopped lumber as a decorative statement. This helps keep the focus on the seating making the room feel relaxed and available for great conversation.