Sometime in the past, the fireplace in our living room was boarded up but the chimney breast is still there. We want to decorate the room but can't work out where to put the TV and what to do with the alcoves.
Should we have bespoke cabinets made in the alcoves for the tv and put a sideboard where the fireplace used to be? Should we try to reinstate a fireplace (can't do gas, so the easiest would be a gel or electric fire)?
It's a strange set-up and we can't get it right! Any help gratefully received!
I think they need to have a grill for the airflow to prevent damp. The rest of the wall around it may well be bricked. To be honest you won’t know until you start knocking it and if just get a professional in to do that. It’s very messy! They will be able to establish the natural opening size. We found some Original Victorian tiles behind ours (at least it wasn’t a skeleton which I had worried about!)
We mounted the TV on the chimney breast and put the DVD player, sky box, xbox etc on shelves inserted where the fireplace would have been. It looked ace. Obviously the flu was capped and boxed in. Just don't mount the TV too high.
We took ours back to the brick. It had a nice arch of brick around the top. We replastered and left the brickwork exposed inside and the arch. Painted the hearth a black masonry paint. Never needed a heat source so its had various things inside (candles, fairy lights etc).
We had an iron victorian fireplace with tiles behind one and a medieval inglenook behind another. Other friends have ranged from lovely Victorian tiles to nothing. I'd probably have a glass of wine and get out the hammer and chisel
I had the same situation - I reinstated the fireplace and put in a logburner. It was a bit of a splurge, but I have never, ever regretted it. It's so lovely to sit and see the flames in the winter, and I look forward to lighting it every year. I am going to have some cupboards put in the alcoves eventually, but they are temporarily filled with some nice Ercol furniture I got on Ebay for cheaps, so no rush for that.
I've a man booked to come see what he can do about reinstating, as I didn't feel brave enough to just start prising off the plasterboard. He agrees with Mumsnet that the grill is a good sign in terms of what he will find.
I'd love to open my fireplaces, but the rooms they're in are so tiny I'd be fretting too much about soot and smuts. What I've done though is shelves in the alcoves either side painted the same colour as the walls/chimney breast and crammed the fireplace with loads of mismatched candlesticks. The upstairs fireplace I've used for bookshelves.