NataLee 9-1-1: Off-Center Fireplace

Jana of Salt Lake City, Utah writes:

When you mention “decorating dilemma,” this is the first thing that comes to mind. My fireplace sits on a diagonal wall to the rest of the room, and the fireplace is off-center on that wall! It has driven me crazy since we moved in. I finally opted for centering the mirror over the fireplace (the previous homeowner centered a mirror on the wall), and I dearly hope that’s right. I have no idea how to treat it. Do I just pretend that it is symmetrical? Do I put un-balanced items on the mantel to try to even it out? I’m lost.
Thank you for any help you can give me,


Thanks Jana… Unfortunately, this is an all too common problem!  Sometimes I wonder what builders/architects are thinking when they place windows and fireplaces in seemingly random spots. In my house the builder randomly placed the bedroom window completely off-center.  Fortunately I am able to hide this with strategically placed window treatments.  Yours was probably caused by a lazy subcontractor who didn’t want to take the time to fix the error, and a general contractor who didn’t care enough to make him. 

First off, you did right by hanging the mirror center of the fireplace!! Way to go.

Might I suggest some color on the walls though? Maybe you too can try out the gray trend?  Or maybe a soothing sea foam color… like Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage.  Also, since your tile is light in color.  I would suggest painting your mantel black… like the picture below.  This will also tie in with the frame on your mirror.

You will also notice in this picture they have balanced the off-center fireplace with visual weight in the way of  some tree branches and wood storage…. this balances out the lopsidedness of the wall.  Might I suggest for your smaller space a taller spiral topiary (something like the below picture) or something of that nature?

Then you will need to balance out the height of the topiary with some taller candle sticks on the other side of the mantel.

For those of you who have a bigger space on your lopsided fireplace… try a bookshelf like shown above.  Basically, it’s about weight distribution and tricking the eye.

Hope that helps… and send us pictures of the final product!


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