Making The Most Out Of Unuseable Fireplaces

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What can you do with that old ghost of a fireplace? It hasn't worked for years and now it just sits there haunting your living room. A capped, non-functional fireplace does not have to be an eyesore. Make it the focal point of the room with a little ingenuity. Consider these ways old fireplaces can sparkle once again.

Make It work with an Insert

When is a fireplace not really a fireplace -- when it is an electric heater, instead. Start by measuring the firepit and giving it a good cleaning. Make sure the damper, or flue, is closed, too. If you feel a draft while doing the measuring, it might still be open.

Check to ensure you have access to an electrical outlet nearby before buying the insert. It is best to use a dedicated circuit just for the heater. On average, electric inserts require:

  • 120v
  • 15 amps
  • 60 Hz

The insert will just slide into the hearth. If the fit is tight, tilt it before pushing it into place. reports an electric insert will cost anywhere from 200 dollars to 3,000, depending on the model and features. 

If there is no outlet available, consider a gel fireplace insert. They are ventless, as well, but a little trickier to install.

Make It Glow

You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars just to add illumination to fireplaces. Fill the firepit with a string of mini white lights. No need to hang them -- just put them in a pile at the bottom of the fireplace.

You can fill the space with candles, as well. Use a single, large flameless candle or stack many of them on a candelabrum for a dramatic effect.

Make It a Showpiece

Set your fireplace up to give the illusion it works. Install an iron grate, so it has an air of authenticity. Grates are freestanding units that hold the wood, so all you need to do is slide it into the firepit.

Fill the grate with logs, so the fireplace looks ready to go. Place a decorative fire screen in the front of the pit to add chic style.

If none of these ideas appeal to you, use the space for decoration and storage. You can fill the firepit with books to create a makeshift library or use the mantle to frame a piece of art. If the fireplace is letting in cold air, install fiber-free insulation around the firepit to seal it before adding decorations or an insert. You can also contact a company like Hearth and Patio that can bring your fireplace back to working condition.