Whether you opt for a fire fueled by wood, or decide to go electric, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere shouldn't stop there.
Yes, your guests will be comforted by the temperature and glow from the flames (fake or not) but you shouldn't underestimate the power that fireplace tile ideas can have to bring charm and character on your mantel, surround and hearth.
Before you accessorize this space with ornamental fireplace ideas, think about your tiles first. Adding color and interest, the benefits of fireplace tile ideas aren't just aesthetic. They can also protect your floor from heat damage too.
Plus, the pattern and application options are endless. Decorative conservatively with a dainty trim or tile a whole wall - the decision is yours! These extremely gorgeous styles show you that tiles are worth the task in hand.
Fireplace tile ideas to inspire
When thinking about the tiles you want to buy, it's worth doing a little bit of research into whether the tiles are suitable for a fireplace.
'Always check whether tiles are suitable for hearths and fireplaces since heat may crack tiles, melt adhesives and damage glazes, while smoke may discolor tiles,' says Colin Roby-Welford, creative director at Fired Earth (opens in new tab).
'Tiles should always be kept a minimum of 30cm away from direct contact with flames or the main heat source. As always with tiling, ensure that the area to be tiled is clean, dry and level.'
'Tiles often provide a suitable base for a new layer of tiling as long as the surface is flat, in good condition and firmly fixed in place. Make sure that surfaces can take the extra weight of the additional layer of tiles, something that’s particularly important when using heavy tiles such as flagstones.'
1. Tile the whole wall in a geometric pattern
Combined with wooden beams on the ceiling, log storage below the fireplace, wooden tables (love the cuboid block) and the unmissable tree, this fireplace tile idea is akin to a honeycomb beehive.
And there are no hard and fast rules to how far up you tile, so go wild with a whole tiled wall, making it into a striking feature wall idea.
'For those looking for subtle pattern, Hexagon Split Shift is a neutral tile with a twist. This tile allows you to play with the tessellations and create striking lines and angles with the 'split' element and allows you to create a unique statement.' says Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May (opens in new tab).
2. Use a stone-tile effect for a modern look and feel
Not really into patterned tiles? Why not think about opting for stone instead for a modern fireplace idea?
'As an interior designer in Houston, Texas, we don’t really need fireplaces but most clients still want them,' says Pamela O'brien, founder of Pamela Hope Designs (opens in new tab).
'It’s always a big discussion when a client considers taking one out during a remodel or omitting one altogether in a new construction project. In the end, most clients have a fireplace and as an important architectural feature of the home, we often design and style them.'
'For a casual design, stone-look tile was laid in a straight, horizontal pattern to create this fireplace. A television was planned for the space since it was the only sitting area on the second floor.'
'We added whimsy and style by painting the bookcases a blue-green hue and repeating that in the sectional. For this young, professional client, lots of color was preferred so we added art and accessories to balance out the room.'
3. Don't forget to tile your hearth for maximum impact
'Tiling your fireplace is a great way to add personality to a space: tiles can create a focal point in a room and add elegance and style. When it comes to choosing a tile, porcelain tiles such as Bert & May’s Black Alalpardo (opens in new tab) make the perfect choice as they are durable and easy to maintain.' says Thornley.
If you love this idea, discover how to tile a fireplace hearth like a pro.
4. Use brick-style tiles to inject industrial chic
With their warm tone, these Boutique metallic copper brick tiles from Walls and Floors (opens in new tab) are perfect for creating a glamorous but still industrial scheme. They have a characterful and textured surface with a shimmering metallic finish, and can be used in a multitude of layouts, such as brick bond and herringbone.
We'd pair these tiles with a dark living room flooring idea to add texture to a dramatic look.
5. Tile your fireplace area, even if it's out of use
And how about that on-trend, geometric fireplace tile idea? If you have an existing fireplace that's no longer in working order, you can still making it a focal point of a room by using geometric tiles to give it impact.
Get the look by using Bert & May's grey split shift tiles (opens in new tab). Mix and match the three variations of this tile to create your own individualized look and use it for as a place to put candles or feature a vase of dried flowers.
6. Be playful with a pastel paint and tile combo
This vibrant tile and hearth color combination will work for both modern and period living rooms.
‘I love bold patterns and fun color combinations on a fireplace as it doesn’t overwhelm a room but adds a brilliant focal point,' says Hannah Otto (opens in new tab), Instagram home renovator.
'The reclaimed terracotta tiles on the hearth add texture and help to soften the overall look.’
7. Mix and match your tiles for a classy contrast
With so much choice in the market, it can be hard deciding over the thousands of fireplace tile ideas that are online and in-store. So if you've been lucky to dwindle your options down to two types, you can take both home!
The former features an elegant flat brick shape with a unique shadow or smoky effect throughout its surface giving an overall tonal gradient finish. Its matt finish also means that it has a great anti-slip finish which is ideal for when you're cleaning your fireplace or if you've got young children.
The latter have a star-shaped design with an distressed vintage effect. They're made from ceramic and are perfect for creating a striking focal point out of a fireplace surround.
8. Break up bookshelves with monochrome pattern
'Are you bold enough for a patterned fireplace?' asks Lauren Ramirez, founder of Texas based, Lauren Ramirez interiors (opens in new tab).
'This funky patterned tile was the first thing our clients chose for this project, driving the design of the surrounding bookshelves and creating the perfect showstopper to gather around.'
9. Use metal tiles to create an industrial chic vibe
Our aforementioned fireplace tile ideas have included looks that put a feminine touch on your furnace.
But if you're looking for a few more masculine ideas or something that suits an industrial chic space, consider using metal-effect ceramic tiles like these, which create a unique feature in this minimalist living space.
'Fired Earth’s Furnace tiles replicate time-worn metal and are perfect for lending interiors an urban, industrial edge. Available in Copper and Iron finishes, the Furnace ceramic tiles are robust and low-maintenance in that they don’t require sealing.' says Roby-Welford.
10. Fake the look of real tiles with adhesive stickers
If the thought of tiling seems too taxing, you can fake the look with adhesive options. Not only do these stickers look real, but they are ideal for renters or, if you want to change your fireplace tile ideas more frequently.
'We decided to just take the old electric fire out and give this a bit of a face lift using some leftover paint and these amazing stick-on tiles from Amazon!' says Angie Barron of creative design consultancy, Something Blue Home (opens in new tab).
'Just make sure you draw the lines out from the middle, use a spirit level and don’t just plonk them on like I did and hope for the best. As always styled with things I already have at home! My mantra is to use what you have to get the look that you want.'
What are the benefits of tiling a fireplace?
'Tiles are beautiful pieces of art on their own and have the power to utterly transform a room,' says Andew Bendall, marketing manager at Craven Dunnill Jackfield (opens in new tab).
'Placing tiles around a fireplace is an exquisite way of displaying and accentuating their pattern, texture, and glaze whilst also making a historic design statement. Traditionally used by the Victorians as a solution, which no other material could improve on, tiles can withstand a very high heat and are extremely easy to clean.'
'Fireplaces are an opportunity to make a statement or carry through decorative themes running throughout a room. Whether you’re looking to go bright and bold or simple and classic, our offering of tiles come in a whole range of styles and designs to suit all types of homes.'
What is the best tile for fireplace?
'Fireplaces can play an important role in creating a welcoming interior. This can either be done by making a bold statement, or going more minimal by reflecting the style of the rest of the room.' says Katie, founder of KTM Design (opens in new tab).
'If you want to create an impact, choose patterned tiles or use shaped designs which will help draw your eye, such as herringbone or fish scale. For a more blended design, choose a simple, large neutral colored tile. Larger tiles are best for a minimalist look whereas smaller tiles are best for feature fireplaces.'
'Popular materials to use for fireplace tiles include ceramic, porcelain, glass, metal, quartz, and stone, which are all durable and can withstand high temperatures.'
'Don’t forget to decorate your fireplace for added impact. Use cut firewood, on a stand or in a natural material basket. If you’re looking to add something more, sitting a plant on the hearth can add color to the space whilst keeping a natural feel and allowing focus on the tiles.'
What is the National Fire Code for tiles around a fireplace?
'The National Fire Code requires all combustible material to be at least 6 inches from the opening of the firebox.' says Jenny Griffin, VP Marketing at Alabama based Firerock Building Materials (opens in new tab).
'For every 1/8 inch of protruding combustible material, you must account for an additional inch of clearance. All fireplaces must have a noncombustible hearth that extends 20” beyond the front of the firebox and 8” to either side.'
'Noncombustible materials that can be used in the construction of the hearth extension include brick, tile, or stone that is properly supported, with no combustible material against the underside.'
'Also take care to ensure that combustibles are not placed less than 28 inches from where the sidewall opens (again, specific model requirements vary, so consult installation manuals).'