Choose bilevel furniture. Clear surfaces look great – but let's face it, they are hard to keep clear. One way to solve that problem is by picking out coffee and side tables with a lower shelf. You can spread out your stuff when you're home alone, and then stack it up and stash it on the bottom shelf when company comes.
Solo ledge. When there's ample shelving and storage elsewhere in the house, it can make more sense to keep things simple around the fireplace. The single shelf in this living room is enough to add some chic coastal style with accessories.
Warm gray. For a contemporary twist, paint the walls around your redbrick fireplace warm gray. A gray that is too cool or flat would not work as well, but with a bit of warmth, gray complements rather than competes with brick.