Whether you’re installing a new fireplace, or sprucing up the old one to makeover your room, you’re going to want to make sure it blends in well with your style and taste. You may decide that now is the moment to redesign the whole interior at once and start from scratch. But whichever situation you’re in, with a few well-chosen pieces, a fireplace mantel can transform a room. The modern fireplace surround can be a beautiful design feature to enhance the feel of your living space. Whether you choose to have a small ledge or a wide surface above your fire, you have lots of design choices to make. Make them wisely.

Your fireplace is very likely to be the main place people huddle, or where passing visitors naturally stand on a cold winter evening. But even during the rest of the year, there’s always a psychologically comforting sense of being near a hearth. When you're decorating that significant place, don’t overdo it, but make it count. With a little thought, you can transform that focal point into an attractive draw for the eye. Potentially you could even add a practical and discrete little shelf for your keys and wallet - the more important things you need every day that easily get lost.

Even if you prefer a minimalist look, adding something subtle as a finishing touch can really enhance the feel of the space. Look at the room as a whole. The textures, the materials, the colour scheme and the kind of space you’re creating, whether it’s a cosy family room, an elegant dining room for the grown-ups, or a creative place to show off your camera skills.

It’s a great idea to hang something like a mirror or prominent artwork above the mantel. It helps to give scale and balance to the room. How you frame the artwork will make all the difference. A vintage wooden frame. Polished aluminium. Slate black. Or frameless. If there’s an obvious colour theme in the room, it can be good to make sure there’s a hint of it in your modern fireplace surround, even if it’s just with some fresh flowers in a vase.

If you have some cherished antiques or ornamental treasures, the mantel can be the ideal place to put them. There, they’ll be safely out of reach of little fingers, but in full view of family life, rather than wrapped away in the attic.

Consider having some candles for gentle lighting in that area. Or how about some spotlights embedded in the ceiling with a dimmer switch to bring out the comforting warm glow even when the fire isn’t burning.

Fireplace surrounds come in a wide range of different designs and materials. Mosaic or marble, tiled or bare stone. You can get creative with contrasts, or keep it really simple. Less is likely to be more. Just make sure that whatever styles and features you decide to use are in keeping with each other, so you don’t make the room feel as if different features are in conflict. The idea is to end up with a feel of a space that is warm and welcoming so it’s the obvious place for everyone to relax.