Fireplaces remain a fairly traditional focal point of a living room despite the dominance of the TV in modern homes. Fireplaces offer some distinct advantages though; they can offer you warmth, a cosy atmosphere and serve as an extra design feature that really helps brings a room to life! You remember those nights as a child sitting near the fire, hot chocolate in hand? Perhaps that's just us… but trust us, it's a nice one to cherish!
There are lots of things to think about before installing your perfect fireplace, however. Gas burner or wood burner? Contemporary or classic design?
Let's review some options.
Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes and each person's is different from the last. It's completely up to personal taste as to which one you choose. Fireplaces are no longer confined to that traditional, relatively large square structure that we're all so familiar with.
In this example we see that cast has been totally shrugged off and moulded into a new and innovative structure. This example appears to be suspended in mid air, an idea that will absolutely be the object of a few compliments at your next gathering. The unique shape of this fireplace is also something to draw attention to with its oval structure completely changing our pre-conceived notions of what a fireplace is. This little pod of flame and heat is a testament to smaller fireplaces being just as good as larger ones.
Here we see a completely contemporary fireplace; one that has broken all the rules of the traditional fireplace and has made it a totally new feature. It's free standing and encased in a plain white block, unlike the classic setting of a mantle. Definitely an innovative design feature and one perfect for the most modern of rooms.
However, you may want to opt for a more classic fireplace for a traditional room. A mantle can cause a real transformation to your living room as it gives you so much more surface space to display your personal belongings or family photographs. A favourite thing to do is surround your fireplace with tea lights and tower candles, which adds a wonderfully twee and homely feeling.
Wood burners are certainly the most traditional of all fireplaces and perhaps still the preferred choice of most. Just think about that glorious scent that comes with burning wood; smoky and intrinsically linked to the great outdoors, as if you're gathering around a campfire in the heart of the woods. There's really nothing like a wood burning fireplace to make you feel as if nature has been brought into your own home. It takes a little more work to start a wood burning fire and perhaps takes some practise but, in the end, the effect totally makes the extra effort worthwhile. Who knows, you could maybe find yourself toasting marshmallows above the glowing embers at the end of the night!
When it comes to easy effects a gas burning fireplace is definitely the way forward. Can't be bothered with the hassle of collecting and storing wood, coaxing a real flame into life and then being left with the scattered ashes to clean up the next morning? Well, a gas fireplace is definitely the option for you.
This example comes as both a gas burner and wood burner. Even if you prefer the more traditional style fireplace, complete with an elegant mantle or surrounded by marble, gas burners can also be installed into these surroundings. So don't think because your taste is more classical you can't own the ease of a gas fireplace as they're available in all styles, shapes and settings so whatever the atmosphere you wish to achieve in your living room, a gas fireplace could still be the option for you.
So we've covered the importance of the mantle surrounding the fire. We've seen contemporary examples of fireplaces and more traditional designs. The materials used in each fireplace have differed from project to project and add significant amounts of individual character to the feature. Carefully think about the materials used to build your fireplace as they can make or break a room, both practically and aesthetically.
Here we see a fireplace built into a brick wall. Essentially a safe solution that boasts country chic design and blends so naturally into the room. It's cosy, comforting and allows you to arrange all your nick-nacks around its base, creating that heart warming atmosphere we all love!
Accessories, do not overlook them. Family photos are not the only way to go when accessorising your mantle, although they can definitely be the most interesting (depending on your family!) The example, pictured, shows a really interesting use of accessories around a fireplace, with flat stones having been stacked either side of the fireplace itself. At first they could be mistaken for the ends of logs, as the designer most likely intended. It's a wonderful way to incorporate a more natural look into a contemporary setting.
Also notice the candles on top of the mantle. Each one is a different size and adds intrigue to the presentation. Don't be afraid to get more creative with your fireplace accessories. Almost anything can be an accessory if used correctly!