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How to Style a Non-Working Fireplace


Whether you’ve got a fully functioning fireplace or a faux mantel, styling it can become a challenge. If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out the best way to fill or fix up your fireplace, this vintage furniture aficionado might have the perfect solution for you.

Leney Breeden is a photographer and the founder of Folkling, a store selling vintage and handmade goods. Breeden lives in a 1,045-square-foot home in Gordonvsille, Virginia, that she filled with beautiful, unique vintage finds. “Something that’s incredibly important to every area of my life, and not just my home, is to shop secondhand or handmade whenever possible,” she says in her house tour. And you can definitely see this passion reflected all throughout her home.

According to Breeden, nearly everything in her home is at least 50 years old. “I saved for my couch and there are a few pieces of furniture my dad made, but everything else is from no later than the 1970s,” she explains. “But most things are much older.” One of the older items is a beautifully maintained chest of drawers that belonged to Breeden’s great-great grandmother. Where did she place this family heirloom? Right in front of her fireplace.

It’s safe to assume that the fireplace doesn’t work and that she didn’t get much use out it. So instead of filling it with decor, logs, or books, Breeden simply chose to style the mantel, place the chest of drawers right in front of the fireplace, and then just leave it be. “Everything I own has either explicit purpose and usefulness or is something I find to be inherently beautiful,” she explains. Not only is this chest vintage, but it was passed down throughout her family, so it’s no surprise she wanted it front and center.

“Moving things around and finding new ways to love and appreciate them allows me to feel content with what I have,” she says, and you may want to take note. If you have a fireplace or mantel that you aren’t necessarily sure how to fill, maybe you don’t have to. You could place your sofa, armoire, or any piece of furniture you love right in front of it.

Breeden says, “I am constantly editing my home and keeping things around that only make me feel good and remind me of people I love or places I’ve been.”

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is Assistant Editor for the Home Team at Apartment Therapy. When she’s not writing about style tips, product launches, or interviewing designers, you can catch her re-watching Gossip Girl or on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a proud HBCU graduate and Clark Atlanta University alumna who believes there’s nothing good food can’t fix.


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