Can You Put A Chair In Front Of A Fireplace?


Can You Put A Chair In Front Of A Fireplace

Settling down in a wing-back chair at a fireplace with your feet on a pouf or ottoman is bliss. However, arranging chairs in front of a fireplace has always been tricky when decorating a home. One of the most frequently asked questions is whether you can put a chair in front of a fireplace.

Chairs can be put in front of a fireplace at a minimum of three feet away. Mostly ottomans or poufs are put in front of a fireplace. Winged back chairs customarily flank a fireplace on the sides at a minimum of two feet away. Sofas in front of a fireplace are usually between 6 and 8 feet away.

Whether you can put a chair in front of a fireplace presents the same tricky option for a living room, dining room, study, games room, or bedroom. The seating for these spaces might vary but not the positioning of chairs to a fireplace. The room’s shape also influences the distance between a fireplace and a chair. Here are some considerations.

Can You Put A Chair In Front Of A Fireplace?

The coziness of an upholstered chair with wings that trap heat from the fire is synonymous with being beside a fire. Chairs can be arranged in front of a fireplace, but mostly wing-back chairs flank a fireplace. The distance between furniture and a fireplace is important, especially for a winged-back chair at a fireplace.

Placing a winged back chair in front of a fireplace is done with careful consideration. Safety precautions need to be taken into account when putting a winged back in front of a fireplace as it is an upholstered chair. Placing it close to the front of a fireplace can cause it to go up in flames if burning embers shoot from the fire and land on it.

That’s why there’s a rule of thumb for a minimum distance between a chair and the front of a fireplace. The distance between the chair and the front of a fireplace is at least an adult’s arm length way (more than three feet). This minimum distance is considered reasonable and safe for a chair in front of a fireplace.

As sparking embers are a hazard, and if more chairs are needed, the arrangement of chairs in front of a fireplace needs to be pushed back. More chairs can fit by stepping out of the arrangement of chairs and further back. This arrangement further away allows for more people to have a view of the fireplace and also to stick to safety for hazards like shooting burning embers.

Choosing How To Place Chairs In Front Of A Fireplace

The seating arrangements in front of fireplaces need to be carefully considered. Chairs (and sofas) shouldn’t be directly in front of a fireplace. What’s occasionally done is to put an ottoman or a pouf in front of a fire. Both these need to be at a safe distance from the fireplace too. 

You could even consider arranging chairs, a sofa and a coffee table in front of a fireplace which will depend on the size of the room. But of course, make sure you don’t crowd the space in front of a fireplace with furniture.

Choosing How To Place Chairs In Front Of A Fireplace
Choosing How To Place A Chair In Front Of A Fireplace

An ottoman is typically used in front of a fireplace as not only is this furniture piece a comfortable footrest in front of a couch or a chair, and it can be used as a stool or even a coffee table. This kind of seating with no back is also versatile in front of a fireplace as you can sit facing the fire or even with your back to the fireplace. 

Like the use of an ottoman in front of a fireplace is the use of a pouf or two. You can arrange one of two poufs in front of a fireplace. Again these need to be at a safe distance of more than three feet from the fireplace. You can use poufs as chairs or a footrest and even a tabletop for a tray.

Sofas Are A Standard Furniture Piece At A Fireside 

One of the most conventional arrangements in front of a fireplace is arranging chairs on the side and a sofa facing the fireplace. Commonly, a coffee table is often put in front of the sofa on the side of the fireplace. Between the fireplace and the coffee table, there’s often a pair of poufs or an ottoman with the dual functions to face the fire or the room.

Sofas Are A Standard Furniture Piece At A Fireside
Sofa and Chair Near a Fireplace 

Curiously some designers have reconsidered the classic take on a fireplace as the focal point of a room. They have come out to say that when a fireplace is not in use, it’s non-functional. In the case of the fireplace being non-functional, they’ve argued it doesn’t exist. Some have even, as a statement, turned the backs of furniture to the fireplace.

Mostly, they believe that it’s the ambient heat rather than the actual fireplace as the centerpiece that needs to dominate. In all these instances, like with a chair in front of a fireplace, a safe distance of three feet is still recommended. The emphasis is to have ambient warmth but, more so, to encourage conversation.

From a Feng Sui point of view, a fireplace is an essential balancing element in a house. Fire is one of the elements needed to achieve harmony in a home. Therefore, the fireplace is a focal point and remains so when furniture is arranged in front of it.

Rooms’ Shape Says If A Chair Can Be In Front Of A Fireplace

The shape of a room and the fireplace location will determine where the furniture is placed. At least a chair and a sofa should face the fireplace for balance in the room, though (and conventionally speaking). The principle is that one needs a focal point in a room to arrange its furniture. The fireplace is the focal point.

The seating depends on the shape of the room. If the room is oblong or a rectangle and the fireplace is on the shortest wall, the space might even be divided in two to accommodate a chair in front of the fireplace. The fireplace most likely will be in the middle of the wall in a square room, and a chair is at a safe distance in front of the fireplace.

When a fireplace is in the middle of a room, the fireplace would rather be treated as ambient heat than placing a chair in front of it. A fireplace built at an acute angle will determine the layout or arrangement of furniture. Here one has to consider the flow through the room too.

Most commonly, a room is a square or rectangular room. The arrangement is then with chairs to the side of the fireplace, a coffee table between the fireplace, and (depending on the size of the room) a sofa opposite the fireplace. Each one in the room will have a fair view of the fire and an equal share of the heat.

Conclusion

No one can argue there are benefits to having a warm cozy fire on a cold day or night. However, arranging chairs in front of a fireplace takes some planning and thought. You can put a chair in front of a fireplace but at a safe distance.

When you walk into a room next, and there is a fireplace, survey the layout and make sure that you not only have a chair in front of the fireplace but that the arrangement of chairs sticks to a safe distance from the front of a fireplace. 

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