As we’re approaching winter here in New Jersey, we here at Fireside Furniture love nothing more than getting cozy by the fire in our living room with the family and our favorite show or board game, or perhaps a cup of tea and a blanket and our favorite book. Truly, there is nothing like a fireplace to make the body feel warm, even if the fire is simulated.
Fireplaces in the home provide a touch of elegance as well that can make your living room pop, in addition to all of the great living room furniture you may already have (or are planning to add)! But which kind of fireplace is best for your home?
Fireplace Style Overview
Fireplaces fall into a variety of styles, from the traditional to the ultramodern. In this article, we’re going to look at some of the more common styles we see these days, from electric to gas to wood.
For many people, an electric fireplace is the most practical option for their home. An electric fireplace is not “technically” a fireplace since it does not burn wood, but for most people, it’s the most popular and practical, and gets the job done, especially when being cozy and warm is the main objective!
Powered by an electric heater, an electric fireplace gives off heat and generally has a fake log effect.
Because they give off no fumes and the risk of fire is eliminated, electric fireplaces give homeowners the most options for design. You can use brick for a traditional look, or have it recessed into the wall with a marble shelf and surrounded by stone look tile.
Gas fireplaces are the closest thing to a traditional wood fireplace, but without all the mess. Powered by gas, they do produce a slight residue that needs to be vented, but a gas fireplace is often a bit cheaper to run overall than an electric fireplace, and is compatible with many types of gas.
There are two types of gas fireplaces:
- Gas logs, which are typically made out of ceramic to imitate wood
- A traditional furnace, which can be converted to gas with a gas insert.
Again, the options for design style are infinite and can range from the traditional brick wall to the more modern.
Wood fireplaces are, of course, the standard and traditional option and are found in many homes. A wood fireplace necessitates a chimney since smoke is produced when wooden logs are burned.
When considering adding a wood fireplace to a home (or purchasing a home with a wood fireplace in it already), there are a lot of things to keep in mind, although many people have already bought a home the contains a wooden fireplace:
- The first consideration is whether it is legal to use. Some states and many localities have banned or at least made wooden fireplaces restrictive to use.
- Secondly, wood can be expensive to burn in a fireplace, you not only have to have it delivered but have a place to store it.
- Thirdly, wood can not only cause outdoor air pollution but indoor air pollution as well. It is for this reason that almost none of the newer homes have wooden fireplaces and even those who have bought an older home prefer to have their wooden fireplace converted to gas.
- Finally, lighting a wood stove is not as easy as you might think. Often it is necessary to spend several minutes getting a fire going, as compared to a gas or electric fireplace where you just switch on the gas or electricity.
As for design styles, brick is the most common, although a fireplace surrounds made of a metal plate, limestone, granite or marble are also available, and if a homeowner wants to convert a traditional wood fireplace to gas for example, then upgrading the fireplace surround to look more modern makes total sense.
But regardless of whether you have a traditional, rustic wood stove, or a modern, updated one, most people love the rustic look of a wood fireplace.
Modernizing The Look and Style of Your Fireplace
Most people, for aesthetic purposes, like to produce as modern a look for their fireplace as possible. For example, they will get a new frontage installed, or shield the flames of a fireplace with glass.
Another decision is about installing a mantle (if the fireplace does not already have one). If you’re not familiar with this term, a mantle is the traditional shelving surrounding a fireplace. Mantles were the traditional way of not only limiting smoke in the home but also for decoration. Nowadays, most people will put photographs, flower vases, or decorative sculptures on the mantles of their fireplace.
The problem with mantles is that it does tend to date the home. If you are going for a colonial look, then perhaps a mantle is ideal. But if you have a modern home with modern furniture, a mantle can in some ways make a home look dated.
Another option for a fireplace — especially if you find that you rarely use it — is to turn the fireplace itself as a frame for decorative items that make your home pop. It’s even possible to use smaller, faux trees to decorate your fireplace. Another decorative item is to pile attractive birch logs that you use for decoration only, not for burning, to provide an authentic look.
Still another way to really brighten up the room is to purchase a gilded fireplace screen. Fireplace screens come in dozens of varieties and as a result, you can totally modernize your home by purchasing a fireplace screen, perhaps an art deco screen or a three-panel iron fireplace screen at your local furniture store.
At the end of the day, you should realize that you are by no means are you stuck with the fireplace you have. You can always modernize.
And while you’re at it, stop on by Fireside Furniture to upgrade the furniture in your house as well, especially the couches and sofas in your living room!