Light My Fire: Trends in Home Fireplaces
Back in the days before electricity, the hearth was the heart of the home, a place for cooking and gathering to eat and stay warm. Though we no longer need fireplaces to stay warm, they’re often at the top of the wishlist for creating a cozy, beautiful home.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options to bring a new fireplace into your decor. Take a look at some of the latest trends in home fireplaces to heat up your design.
A gas fireplace is one of the staples of new construction, and they’re seen everywhere from sleek studio apartments to expansive single-family homes. Gas fireplaces offer real flames and heat, but without the mess of wood and ash to deal with. They can be very modern looking, with a low profile that looks great against a wall where you keep you entertainment center. Gas inserts are also a great way to convert an old masonry fireplace into much more efficient heating, since you won’t have to worry about chimney drafts — or fires. Gas fireplaces typically require only a vent pipe instead of a chimney, making it much less expensive to install.
A ventless fireplace is a freestanding appliance that provides the look of a fireplace, with no chimney or ductwork required. These often look like a piece of furniture, with a firebox built into a decorative wooden hearth. Easy-to-install ventless fireplaces run on propane or gas and provide a live flame; they release small amounts of exhaust into the home and come with carbon monoxide detectors and automatic shutoff for protection. Their safety is questioned by some experts who are concerned about any amount of combustion exhaust remaining unvented.
To avoid the air quality concerns surrounding ventless fireplaces, you can opt for an electric version instead. Modern electric fireplaces have very convincing lights that flicker and move to simulate flames. They come in freestanding versions as well as inserts that you can use to close off an old masonry fireplace without ruining its charm. Plug-in fireplaces often have the benefit of a “no heat” setting so you can enjoy the look in the summer, too.
Modern wood stoves are highly efficient, and they’re very popular in Europe. They’re also available in some very contemporary designs that work well when you want something that is set away from the wall and has the potential to heat your whole home. They’re not as convenient as gas or electric models that operate with the flip of a switch, though — you’ll have to source firewood and light it when you want to enjoy a cozy fire.
Whether you’re looking for a fireplace as a decorative accent or a major source of heat for your home, it’s hard to beat the homey quality of golden flames as a centerpiece in your living room. It’s the perfect finishing touch to a home renovation, family room addition or new home construction. At Design Custom Homes we trust the people at United Brick and Fireplace to supply us with all our fireplace needs.