If you live in a pre-1960s home, you’re probably looking for chimney breast storage ideas to give the living or dining room a little character, or to introduce more bedroom storage. We’ve put together our ten most popular alcove ideas to bring beautiful style at home, whether you need more storage space or are looking for extra display surfaces.
1. Floating Shelves
A top contemporary fireplace alcove idea is to fit a set of floating shelves between the chimney breast and the wall. They’re created using invisible brackets or are made of a timber frame with panelling at the top and bottom, so no brackets are visible. The nature of the alcove means you’ve got three walls to attach them to making them really sturdy.
2. Bare Brick and Reclaimed Wood
A modern alcove shelving idea is to take away all the plaster from the chimney breast and walls, and install stained reclaimed wooden shelves for a true Bohemian look and feel. It’s an enduring living room idea that’s easy to re-plaster if you change your mind.
3. Simple Wall-Mounted Shelving
You don’t always need to get the saw and plane out to realise your fireplace ideas. A pair of straightforward wall-hanging shelving units need little more than a few drill holes and screws and hey presto – you’ve got a perfect storage space that’s pretty as a picture.
4. A Single Cabinet
Alternatively, why not opt for a stylish cupboard instead? A durable cabinet is perfect for extra storage and a place to put your TV, family photos, and ornaments. Whether you choose something simple or go for a real statement piece, just make sure it’s measured correctly so that it slots in the gap with ease.
5. Purposeful Asymmetry
Symmetry has been valued at least since Ancient Egypt, but it’s not an absolute rule in interior design. While almost-symmetrical can look a little awkward, going the whole hog and having cabinets of very different sizes, colours and styles, or having a chair in one alcove and a lamp table in the other, shows that your design instincts are perfectly balanced - if not the fireplace.
6. Iron Display Cabinets
If you want drama in your alcove units, go with something dark and moody. Perfect for a Victorian property with its original wrought iron fireplace, choose a cabinet with heavy ironwork to continue the theme and let the glass windows lighten the load and allow the display of books, ornaments or even a subtle LED lighting setup to add warmth and character. The Downtown cabinets from Nordal come in wide and narrow widths, which work wonderfully with uneven alcoves.
7. Modern Minimalist TV Stand
Television’s having a golden age, and we’re spending more on the tech to make it look and sound superb but what about where the TV sits? If you’ve got alcoves, make a statement with a beautiful bench that will house the flatscreen plus all the paraphernalia. Why not go for a curvaceous design? Adaptable to any shape, it will look beautiful at every angle.
8. Vintage Matching Cabinets
If you have perfect symmetry in your alcoves (which is rarer than you might think), a matching pair of vintage cabinets will really fit the bill. ‘Vintage’ doesn’t have to mean antique – just a pair reminiscent of any particular era or culture (Shaker, Victorian, 1970s) works in perfect balance, especially if they’re in keeping with the house.
9. Invisible Door Panels
Ceiling-to-floor-height plain doors can completely hide the alcoves altogether for the ultimate in sleek storage bliss. Use push latches to do away will telltale handles, paint or wallpaper the doors the same style as the room, and you can even add details like skirting boards and wall lights if you’re really committed to giving your alcoves a good hiding.
10. Shelves with Down-Lighting
There’s nothing like the warm glow of downlit shelving, especially when they’re in a dark, natural colour. As well as illuminating the contents, they bring a wash of ambient light to the room. These are great for bedroom alcoves, where they can work with the bedroom furniture to create a welcoming sight when you enter, and are a convenient place to store sweaters, shoes and jeans.