Fireplace accent wall: materials, colors, and design ideas

A fireplace is one of the most sought-after architectural elements that can add warmth and personality to your living room. As the designers assure, with the fireplace’s competent decoration and the surrounding wall’s aesthetic design, you can easily create a focal point for any room or open hall in your house or cottage.

Today, it is still not uncommon for a fireplace to look dull, impersonal, and not even immediately striking when looking at a room in more detail. An accent wall will come in handy in such a situation: it is thanks to it that you will receive a creative, aesthetic, and highly individual interior. In such cases, the essential thing is to decide whether it is possible to create an accent in the plane above the fireplace based on the peculiarities of its location and design.

For example, the design of an accent wall is unlikely to be attractive if it contains any other architectural elements besides the fireplace itself – in this case, we mean the fireplace located in the same plane with the doorway. The accent can noticeably aggravate the visual imbalance created in such circumstances, so in this case, it is still worth transferring it to another wall.

Another nuance is the thoughtful design of classic fireplaces. A harmonious accent wall requires more volume and expressiveness, so do not forget about such elements as an elegant surrounding and a beautiful, massive mantelpiece. Without them, the fireplace can be “lost”, especially if you use materials with a catchy texture to accentuate.

As you can see, there are practically no obstacles to highlighting the area above the fireplace as a strong accent. It remains only to figure out the appropriate materials and color – this is what we, in fact, will now do.

Accent wall above the fireplace: how to highlight it

When decorating an accent wall above the fireplace, you have to solve a rather challenging but at the same time fascinating task: to perform a truly aesthetic finish, but at the same time ensure its complete balance with the design of the fireplace surround. Besides, the material’s composition and refractory properties remain a critical detail, which we will discuss below.

Paint or decorative plaster

Turning the space above the fireplace into an accent is very simple: just paint it in the shade different from the base one for your living room interior. What it will be – warm or cold, dark or light, pastel or deep and saturated – you still have to decide, and we will talk about this a little later.

The advantage of a painted accent wall over the fireplace also remains its self-sufficiency: if you use contrasting shades, you may not even need a decor because due to the relatively small area, the color spot will turn out to be moderately bright and reasonably expressive. However, if the chosen color is neutral or light, one or two (or maybe more) decorative elements will come in handy.

Decorative plaster will also be a good option for decorating the above-fireplace area, primarily due to the incredible variety of textures for every taste. If you prefer smoother surfaces, then you will not be able to do without decor (we will talk about it later); however, more expressive textures are good in and of themselves – especially if the fireplace surround is decorated, as designers say, on a grand scale.


Finishing an accent wall with stone seems to be the most natural solution for a fireplace area. If the fireplace area is already decorated with stone, the remaining area of the wall will enter into an organic union with it, and if plaster or wood is chosen for the surround, the stone will become another coin in the piggy bank of the environmentally friendly solutions you use.

Depending on the style in which the interior of your living room is designed, you can choose any of the following types of stone – both artificial and natural:

  • Limestone. Its porous and uneven texture, combined with a natural grayish, brownish or beige tint, makes this stone the perfect solution for accent walls with fireplaces in Mediterranean interiors.
  • Coquina. A type of limestone that is less porous and has an extensive palette of shades from pastel yellow and pink to dark gray with a slight sheen. It looks very organic in both classic and modern designs.
  • Dolomite. Dense facing stone, predominantly white or gray. A find for decorating an accent wall around a fireplace in a modern laconic living room.
  • Travertine. A light rock with a surprisingly noble veining pattern and various colors from white and beige to red and dark brown can decorate a fireplace accent wall in the most luxurious interior.
  • Slate. A stone with a lamellar texture impresses not only with a wide range of colors but also with practical compatibility with any interior style – in some cases even with country and farmhouse.
  • Marble. One of the most expensive and noble finishing types. It is noteworthy that the marble accent wall looks equally impressive as a combination with a classic fireplace, decorated with a luxurious surround, and with trendy built-in and back-to-wall rectangular or cubic shapes.


A laconic modern, stylish loft, calm and cozy Scandinavian – these are just some of the styles in which a brick accent wall looks incredibly organic. For a dining room accent wall, you can use not only natural brick, which is very weighty and not suitable for any walls, but also its imitation – clinker tiles, wall panels, quartz vinyl, or all the same wallpaper with a corresponding pattern.

Depending on which brick you choose for the accent wall, you will get completely different results. For example, aged ceramic paired with a fireplace will create an excellent composition for French country, vintage, and country styles, fashionable yellow complements neoclassical very well, and dyed white is good almost everywhere – from Scandinavian to industrial in the “light” version.

Designers believe that another advantage of brick is its ability to create an unusually stylish background for almost any decor. You can hang a mantel in any color, size, and configuration, mount a TV on the wall, place a picture in an elegant frame or a mirror collage – combined with a brick base, the decor will acquire a fresh sound.

Wood or its imitation

The combination of wood and a warming hearth is the quintessence of home warmth that seems unshakable and unchanged for decades. That is why designers love so much to decorate fireplace accent walls with wooden elements – and that is why you have so many options if you choose this material. However, we will not beat around the bush – we will just announce which wooden elements for which style will come in handy:

  • shiplap – for Scandinavian, minimalism, and loft;
  • boiserie panels – for classical, neoclassical, and art deco;
  • hardwood and engineered wood – for retro, neoclassical, modern;
  • pallets – for loft, industrial, farmhouse, vintage;
  • board and battens – for any contemporary style.

When choosing wood for an accent wall, do not forget about precautions – especially if your fireplace is supposed to have a live fire. So, specific rules are governing the distance of wooden elements from the hearth. Besides, if you prefer to play it safe, you should take care of the fire retardant impregnation.


Tiling the area above the fireplace can look incredibly impressive and expressive if you guessed right with its choice. Today designers offer many solutions:

  • majolica tiles – for Mediterranean and boho interiors;
  • patterned tiles – for French country and vintage;
  • large-format porcelain stoneware – for any interior, depending on the texture.


The use of metal elements for a fireplace accent wall is an unusual solution but very attractive for industrial and loft fans. Moreover, in this case, the choice of materials is sufficient. It can be sheets of iron with rivets, large-format porcelain stoneware stylized as metal with any texture, and even plates of tinted copper. In the latter case, you will end up with an art object in the steampunk spirit – technological, catchy, combining the past and the future.


Creating an exclusive accent in the fireplace area is sometimes completely unnecessary to apply finishing coatings to the walls – especially if you are pretty happy with what you have. In such cases, you do not need to spend money on cladding and repainting: stylish decor will solve accenting tasks with no less success.

According to the designers, the mantelpiece’s decorative elements must echo with the wall ones, allowing for a solid and effective composition. To create combinations, you can use:

  • pictures – small collage or one in a massive frame;
  • sconces and garlands;
  • herbarium under glass;
  • mirrors of various sizes and shapes;
  • art painting and frescoes;
  • candles of different heights and volumes – also wall chandeliers.

Colors for a fireplace accent wall

When choosing a color for an accent wall above the fireplace, designers are guided by the rules, which, in principle, are characteristic of this design technique. However, when choosing complementary and bright colors, do not forget that these colors are not suitable for compositions with a TV: the redundancy of color will scatter your attention. Otherwise, the palette for a fireplace accent wall is quite extensive, so we’ll talk about the most popular solutions.

White and beige

Shades of white are both expressive and neutral, and therefore require companion colors, which are provided by voluminous, catchy decor in various shades – for example, mustard, purple or turquoise. If you are not looking for such stark contrasts, then turn to soft and warm shades of beige, against which almost any decor is appropriate.


A gray accent wall above the fireplace will create a noble and strong enough note in a modern interior decorated in light colors. Its gradations can be combined with surrounds decorated with wood, stone, or brick – in a word, natural materials with an expressive texture.


A brown accent wall will provide the necessary contrast in the living room, for which light and pastel colors are chosen as the base. Leaving it solid is optional: a slight metallic sheen of the accessories will add the necessary chic. Besides, brown perfectly sets off the white fireplace surround.


The color blue is the most fantastic combination of luxury and ease, and if you have the opportunity to set such for a fireplace accent wall, you should not miss it. As for the shade, you can choose either your favorite tone or use ideas from the fashionable palette offered by the designers:

  • dusty blue is the most harmonious solution for modern and neoclassical;
  • turquoise – a color for all times, fresh, bright, and sophisticated in a contemporary way;
  • sea blue – noble and reminiscent of distant wanderings;
  • gray-blue – ambiguous, mysterious, and very modern.


Bright red is an overly eccentric solution for an accent wall, so it makes sense that we won’t even mention such shades. However, more muted, dark, sophisticated gradations of this beautiful color will bring unconditional aristocracy to your interior and emphasize the beauty of a surround made of stone, brick, bleached wood, or granite. Designers advise to pay attention to the following shades:

  • brick red;
  • terracotta;
  • saffron;
  • wine;
  • burgundy.


In a small amount (which, in fact, most often is the accent wall above the fireplace), black brings mystery and modern chic. Combine it with wood and brick elements, white painted surround, and shelves – the result will pleasantly surprise you.

The nature of your home is determined by the materials and colors you choose – and the way you decorate your fireplace accent wall is no exception. To provide your design with individuality, take the time to find interesting textures and combinations: the result of your efforts will be a strong and effective accent that you will not see anywhere else.

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