Home Decor

Decorating advice from Virginie: Where to put the fireplace?

Dear Virginie, We recently moved into this small but cute house and while my to-do list is long, my first priority is to install a gas fireplace. Would it be weird to put it between the living and dining rooms? And what are your thoughts on round dining tables? I'm really into the British colonial style right now.

Once a week, Chatelaine’s Home editor, Virginie Martocq answers one reader’s decorating question. If you have a design dilemma for Virginie to solve send an email to: askvirginie@chatelaine.rogers.com

Dear Virginie, We recently moved into this small but cute house and while my to-do list is long, my first priority is to install a gas fireplace. Would it be weird to put it between the living and dining rooms? And what are your thoughts on round dining tables? I’m really into the British colonial style right now.

Sam in Toronto

Hi Sam!
Thanks for being the first with a question.

Let’s start with the question of the fireplace. The most obvious place to install a fireplace would be across from your sectional, so that the living room is clearly defined as a living space. (That’s assuming you can vent a gas fireplace there, if not, you’ll have to choose an electric model like this one from Classic Flame.


 

I think the idea of installing one between the living and dining rooms is really fun though. You would have to make a few changes for it to really work. The first is to either paint that middle section dark brown, or paint the entire wall white. The space is too small to have such strong separation between the two rooms, so you need to treat it as one room, and be more subtle about defining living areas.

Depending on how big the room is, it might be fun to install a bench in front of the fireplace, that could double as extra seating for either the living or dining rooms. I like this pony skin one from Gus Modern, although something longer and not quite as square might be better for your home:


 

 

 

From what I can tell, the space is quite long and narrow – a good trick is to use a strong colour at one end to help the room feel a little squarer (it will make that wall pop forward). You already have great dark windows, so I would frame the window with simple drapes like these ones from West Elm, and replace the awkward half shutter with thick wooden blinds like these ones from Ikea:


Now it’s time to accessorize and decorate. First thing to do is lay a larger area rug; the feet of your sofa should sit on the rug. I personally love something graphic but simple, like this flat woven rug by Madeline Weinrib (I might even have the matching one in the dining room):


 

Add some pattern with throw pillows on your sofa. I like the modern dots in the pillow on the left by Habele Construction, and the nice organic feel of the branch pattern on the pillow from Bouclair.


 


A tall lamp behind the sofa would do wonders. Try this simple tripod lamp from West Elm.

Now for the dining room. I love round tables, especially if you don’t need to seat too many people. In a space your size, something that seats four would be perfect, and the round shape can break up the rectangular feel of the space quite nicely. This one from Crate and Barrel has a nice colonial look about it and has the strength to balance out the dark drapes that would be at the other end of the room.

Keep it modern and simple by pairing it with a schoolhouse type chair like this one, also from Crate and Barrel. I think the mid tones of the wood would bring together all the wood tones in your house.

 

I also really like this rectangular table with rounded edges – the best of both worlds! You could hang an organic chandelier above it to give the room some warmth and texture. Both are from West Elm.


 

And if you’re craving that colonial look, consider having two end chairs like this woven one from Crate and Barrel at each end of the table. 


 

 

 

Finally, add some colour with art. I love the pale blue one you already have on the wall. It feels a little like it’s floating though. I think you need more similar art, like maybe this one from Love the Design.


 

Regardless of where you put the fireplace, you’ll need some nice strong art above it – the piece above would be perfect because it’s quite large, but still kind of subtle.

Hope that helps and gets you excited about your place!

If you have a decorating question for Virginie, please email her at: askvirginie@chatelaine.rogers.com