Lauren Shields, a prop stylist who has worked for Martha Stewart, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens and more, knows that objects tell a story. So if your fireplace isn’t in working order, look at it not as a cold eyesore but as an opportunity to say something about your personality and style. Here are her favorite ideas for decorating a non-working or off-season fireplace.

1. Stack birch logs horizontally or on their ends.

2. Paint thick sticks or bunches of kindling with stripes or solids and stack.

3. Create a scene straight out of a natural history museum, with logs, woodland creatures, taxidermy and branches.

4. Set a triptych of antiqued mirrors in the space.

5. Display a sculpture or interesting piece of art made of natural materials, such as wood, metal or stone.

6. Arrange a variety of sizes of pillar candles.

7. Collect and display oversize crystals, geodes and gems such as amethyst and coral.

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