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A recent study revealed that fireplaces rank as the most coveted bathroom feature

All too often bathrooms get neglected in homes flaunting vivid kitchens and showplace living rooms, relegated to uninspiring utilitarian status. But, fueled by a pandemic-era desire to reside in true sanctuaries, the bathroom is quickly morphing into a soothing and spa-like retreat. One of the most dramatic ways to ramp up this underutilized space? An imposing yet serene fireplace. Industry specialists Showers To You dug into the top bathroom trends of the moment, and have found that fireplaces are the most popular bathroom accessory on Pinterest, popping up on 992 boards and garnering 191,178 pins.

Summer is an ideal time to embark on revamps that make way for a fireplace, promising that by the time temperatures start to dip, bubble baths will be accompanied by warm crackling flames. A cozy and characterful focal point, the bathroom fireplace has been embraced by the likes of Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, who sought out a soft white one for the primary bath of their Los Angeles house by Landry Design Group and Joan Behnke & Associates. AD100 designer Elliott Barnes is also a fan, as evidenced by the mirrored fireplace he incorporated into the bathroom of an Alpine ski chalet.

Thomas O’Brien, founder and president of New York’s Aero Studios, also outfitted the primary bathroom of his Long Island abode in Bellport with a fireplace. Bountiful heat source aside, the allure of this bathroom trend, O’Brien tells AD PRO, is that it’s simply “a beautiful, luxurious thing.” Even the smallest of sitting rooms can benefit from a fireplace, he notes, but in the bathroom, it packs a particularly indulgent punch. “Bathrooms are usually organized around a vanity or tub in the center, but when there’s enough space for it to be a fireplace, then that’s even more special,” he says.

Although they can be factored into renovations, fireplaces are easier to accommodate in new-builds because they can be configured into commodious layouts from the get-go. Most important for all wood-burning fireplaces is ensuring the chimney is in tip-top shape or that a flue system has been properly installed. (Given the abundance of water splashing around near a tub, an electric fireplace is a no-no, and gas fireplaces require the extra hurdle of weaving in gas lines.) But once such logistics are in place, a joyful and gracious mood awaits. O’Brien enjoys peering at his fireplace through the open bathroom door. “It’s at the end of a long view, and even puts it in the bedroom. And it’s a wonderful thing to walk into,” he points out.

As for the style of fireplace most appropriate for a bathroom, it should ultimately reflect the overall aesthetic—or it can be an opportunity to intentionally bring a new layer to a design scheme. “A lot of what I do is helping a client find their way through lots of choices, navigating a way to make classic things feel young and fresh,” O’Brien explains. “Or sometimes people want to have a patterned carpet, but they can’t quite do it, or they are modernist and love a certain antique. I help them find a way to make that language work.” A fireplace is no exception. One behind glass, for example, could brighten a rustic ambiance, or a more formal version paired with artwork could add grandeur. A fireplace, O’Brien says, is another way to help “unlock choices.”

A fireplace facelift can take your living space from "whatever" to "wow!" Whether you’re contemplating a full-on renovation or looking for an easy weekend upgrade, get inspired by these 5 ideas that will transform your hearth to the heart of your decor.

Budget-Friendly: Add a Striking Mantel

This fireplace, seen on HGTV's Fixer Upper, has a wooden mantel that brings warm tones into this space and draws attention to the living room's main feature, the fireplace.

Budget-Friendly: Contrasting Colors

Painting the fireplace surround a complementary shade of slate gray makes it a subtle focal point in this cozy family room.

Budget-Friendly: Reclaimed Rustic

This stunning fireplace was constructed from reclaimed wood, adding a big dose of warmth and drama, while staying true to the rustic, shabby chic style of the room.

Mid-Range: Natural Touches

This fireplace's stone surround lends cottage charm to this cozy and inviting living space.

Mid-Range: Statement-Making Tile

This tiny room by Astleford Interiors is big on style, thanks to the fireplace’s tile surround. Note that with a fireplace this fabulous, it’s best to keep the mantel simple and knick-knack free.

Once you’ve done with the annual spring clean of your fireplace, packed away the firelighters and log basket for another year, your fireplace can end up looking a little forlorn and uninviting.

We don’t know about you but we are ready for spring. This winter feels like it’s gone on forever and we are loving seeing all the bursts of color in gardens, lambs in the fields and the odd ray of bright sunshine making an appearance at last!

Here we look at 5 unique ideas to help freshen up your fireplace and keep it in-tune with the rest of your living space ready for the warmer days ahead. 5 quick, easy and budget-conscious ways to freshen up your fireplace for spring. Find out how changing a few simple things can bring your home out of hibernation and transform an entire room!

  1. Bring the Outside In

Fill vases with your favorite blooms and place them on the mantle remind you that spring is here. Buy an inexpensive bouquet at the grocery store and split it up into small posies. We love the eclectic look of mismatched vases or mason jars, and the trend of decorating with vintage watering cans in spring and summer is always a winner!

Don’t forget nature’s other gifts as well, gather branches, moss and pebbles and place them either in or around the base of your flower arrangements. Remember to dry them well first or use a protective mat to avoid marking your mantel.

2. Two Words – Feature Wall

Feature walls have been trendy for a good few years now and their popularity hasn’t waned over time! There’s a very good reason for this – a feature wall brings the room to life without making the room feel crowded or clashing.

The wall your fireplace is situated on is an ideal location for a feature wall as it’s already a focal point in your living space. Be bold with your new background choice and choose something you love. A feature wall consisting of patterned wallpaper or a vibrant colour will draw attention to the area and add a lot of personalisation to your living space. From flowers to birds, geometric prints to city scapes, there are so many wonderful designs when it comes to choosing a wallpaper that suits you.

Spring is the time to paint, since you can finally open your windows and let the fresh air in. If you’re thinking of simply painting the background behind your fireplace a single colour, then deep blue, mustard, forest green, rusty browns and grey shades are all fantastic choices that follow this year’s interior trends.

Try adding in accessories to complement your wall and matching these to mimic the paper designs or paint colour for a harmonious look.

3. Fill The Fireplace

Now is the perfect time to sweep away the ashes of winter fires and start fresh. Fill your fire basket with plants, an arrangement of candles, or a display of beautiful birch logs. Alternatively, a huge rise has been seen in the trend of covering the fireplace with an attractive, modern folding screen.

4. Play with Punches of Yellow

Nothing says “spring” like the colour yellow and Pantone 13-0647 ‘Illuminating’, a bright yellow, is dominating design styles this season. Daffodils are a fresh, inexpensive style accessory that not only freshen up your home but also gives your home a nice spring touch. A tall glass vase daffodils can bring instant style into the lounge for spring. Make your fireplace mantel decor simple yet stylish by arranging with favorite yellow pieces such as artwork, candles, and ornaments alongside flowers in a vase. Stagger items of different heights and widths in front of each other to create depth – which is key to an attractive display. If you have time to DIY more, you can also do wreaths and garlands to hang over your fireplace mantel

5. Mirror image

The chances are your fireplace isn’t situated under your window, but rather opposite or on a side wall. This means it’s a part of the room that gets the most light. Using a mirror to take advantage of that is a great way to decorate your mantlepiece in the spring. As the days become longer we get more natural light to play with. A mirror can reflect this natural light and bring the feeling of more space to your living room. If your home feels light and spacious, it will most probably put you in a better mood – or shall we say ‘put a spring in your step.’

A Final Note

Nothing says ‘home’ more than personalisation. Not only does your fireplace make a beautiful feature statement in your home – it’s a great blank canvas to personalise with photos of loved ones, cherished trinkets and quirky mini blackboards featuring cute messages. Mid to late spring may be spring cleaning time, but it is also a prime time for a clear-out in the home, so you may come across items in your loft, cupboards or stowed away boxes that you had previously forgotten about. This could include vintage glass bottles, ornate clocks, the children’s old trophies and good-looking old leather-bound books! Anything goes when it comes to personalising your mantlepiece – it’s just a matter of visualising and being creative.

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