Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Nothing is better than curling up on a comfy chair in front of a warm fireplace on a chilly winter day. Still, putting chairs in front of a flaming firebox isn’t always practical, especially when safety comes into the picture. So, how do you know when it’s safe to put your favorite chair right in front of the mantle?
You can put a chair in front of a fireplace. However, there are some things you need to consider before doing so. You should have a working fireplace damper to prevent the smoke from escaping into the rest of your home and ensure that the chair legs are fireproof.
So, let’s discuss some things you’ll need to consider before moving a chair right in front of your fireplace. I’ll talk about safety and touch on design so you can have a safe, well-decorated, and comfortable place to sit while you enjoy the fire.
Things To Consider When Putting a Chair by a Fireplace
You may want to place chairs in front of your fireplace for warmth or make it easier for everyone to sit down and relax. However, there are some things you should consider before doing so.
So, let’s look at some things you’ll need to consider when you plan on moving a chair closer to your fireplace:
It’s Not Always Safe To Put a Chair in Front of a Fireplace
The first thing to note is that most manufacturers don’t recommend putting a chair in front of your fireplace. Some companies warn that placing a chair in front of the fireplace can cause damage or start a fire in your home.
One main issue is that the chair can block air circulation around the firebox and cause carbon monoxide (CO) gas poisoning. That is because CO gas needs an ignition source – such as an open flame or pilot light – to ignite. When the toxic CO gas can’t escape, it will get trapped in your home, potentially harming you.
Another thing you should consider is whether or not you want to opt for a vented gas fireplace. A vented gas fireplace allows air movement, which helps reduce the risk of CO poisoning.
Secondly, placing wicker or wooden chairs right in front of a flame is usually a terrible idea. These materials have a low burning point, and if you get too close to the fire or leave it unattended, you could set your entire home on fire.
If you’re considering putting a piece of furniture close to a fireplace and would like to know first what the manufacturer’s recommendation is, find the model number of the fireplace and search online for that number, plus the word “owner’s manual.” Most modern fireplaces have an owner’s manual available online.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when moving furniture. Doing so could save you from a house fire.
If you live in a space where you don’t have room for more than one type of furniture beside your fireplace, consider placing one comfortable armchair directly to the side of the fireplace and another nearby armchair ten or fifteen feet away from it.
You might also choose to use taller chairs with metal legs to help prevent potential fireplace blockages and fires.
In addition, you shouldn’t sit directly in front of a fireplace without being protected by something sturdy. Sitting beside it is much safer if your fireplace has a grill, glass doors, or a screen. That’s because these barriers will absorb some of the flame’s heat, making it less likely for your chair to go up in flames.
Chairs May Obstruct Your View of the Fireplace
Even if it is safe to place chairs in front of your fireplace, you’ll also have to think of the design and how moving a chair will affect the appearance of a room. You want to think carefully about the dimensions of your potential chairs and how they fit around the fire.
The critical question is, can you see over or around the chair and directly at the fireplace? While tall or large chairs may work best in some cases, I believe that counter-height stools can open up different design and seating possibilities.
If you spend a lot of time at your dining table for meals, homework, crafts, and board games, it’s worth thinking about how much visual space you have. High-backed chairs might block the fireplace from view. At the same time, low-back chairs can create a more open design.
Keep an eye on proportion – never be afraid to start with one or two bar stools, then add to your collection as your needs change. It’s also worth noting that bar stools are probably not for everyone. Certain people find that these stools can be uncomfortable after a few hours.
For others, they may prove to be too small when entertaining friends or family. When considering where you’ll use your new bar stool, it’s always worth considering interior decoration first.
Some Homeowners Don’t Use Their Fireplaces Due to a Lack of Decor
If you don’t use your fireplace that much, it is safe to put a chair in front of it. Without heat from the fireplace, you don’t need to worry about your furniture catching fire.
So, always consider how much you want to use your fireplace before moving anything. In some cases, you may put some chairs in front of the fireplace during summer when you won’t need that extra heat. Then, when it gets cold enough to light up the fireplace, you can move the chairs somewhere else.
If you never use the fireplace or if it is not functional, there’s no reason not to pile up furniture in front of it.
You can place furniture and chairs in front of fireplaces, but you must put safety first. Be sure to check your fireplace’s user manual before moving anything. In addition, if you never use your fireplace, it is safe to cover it up with furniture since you aren’t at risk of CO poisoning or house fires.
- SFGATE: How to Arrange Chairs in Front of a Fireplace
- Apartment Therapy: Furniture in Front of the Fireplace
- MODSY: 16 Ideas for Living Room Layouts With a Fireplace
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