The fireplace is still one of the most prominent features in a home. Whether it is in the living room, great room, or den, the fireplace is a focal point and gathering place.
If you are building a home or renovating one, you may be wondering how to choose best the shape, size, and style of your fireplace.
Today, we will provide five tips to help you choose the right shape, size, and style for your home.
Things to keep in mind
The first is the type of fuel you will be using; wood, gas, or electricity. Fuel matters because it will help determine specifics as to where in the room you put the fireplace, if it will have a mantel and the size of the fireplace.
Will the fireplace need to be vented to the outside through a chimney?
How large is the room, and will the fireplace be providing supplement heat or be the primary heat source for that room? The answer to that matters because you will need to know how many BTUs your fireplace should provide. How many windows are in the room? How old is the house? What is the climate where you live, and what is the shape and size of the room? All these things will tell you the number of BTUs you need to provide heat to the room.
Five tips for choosing a fireplace
These five tips will help you choose the shape, size, and style of fireplace that will best fit your home. Each of these also needs to take into consideration if you are going to have a mantel which we will discuss as part of the five tips.
- Shape – fireplaces come in various sizes from 20 inches up to 100 inches. When you choose the size, you need to know how much space you have to work with. How large is the room, how long is the wall you are putting the fireplace on, how thick is the wall, what is the height of the ceiling? All these things will help you determine was size fireplace you can choose. Now that you have the size, you can begin looking at the shape. Again, look at the room and the size of the space where you are putting the fireplace. If you have significant wall space, you can choose a wide shape that is square or rectangle—a square or rectangle with an arch in the top of the fireplace. If you are putting an insert in, you may want to use one with doors.
- Size – again, we are going to look at the space you are putting the fireplace. Is the ceiling high, is the wall long, etc. If you have high ceilings, you can choose a taller fireplace. If your room is average size with standard eight-foot ceilings, then a shorter fireplace will look better, especially if you want a mantel. You must also choose a size that will be energy efficient if you are going to use the fireplace as a primary or secondary source of heat. Remember the BTUs we spoke about earlier.
- Style – can be a little more challenging since we all have our own unique style. Start by determining what type of house is yours: Victorian, farmhouse, Colonial, modern, or one of many others. If you own a Victorian, it doesn’t mean you can’t choose a more modern fireplace. You just need to pay attention to the design elements. A farmhouse would probably look better with a rustic look than a more modern home or a Colonial style. To achieve the type you want, you have to decide will it be brick, wood, stone, or tile around the fireplace and the hearth to protect the floor in front of the fireplace. Once you know which medium –brick, wood, stone, or tile you will be using, then you can begin choosing colors. Colors can make a statement from bold to calm. That is a personal choice. But, think about the house style, the style of furnishings, carpet color if you have carpet, and work on choosing a color that will work with the colors you have instead of clashing. For example, you wouldn’t want orange tiles in a room that is pastel or soft green.
- Mantel – the mantel again will be determined partially by the size of the room, the height of the ceiling, and wall size. You also need to think about how you will use the mantel beyond decorating for the holidays. Will you have candles or hurricane lamps on the mantel? What about photos, paintings, mirrors, or other items that you may decide to hang over the mantel? These should be at eye level, and you will need to make sure that any lighting or decorating items are not in the way of the painting or mirror. In Victorian homes, you may find a double mantel in the wood that frames the fireplace. There will be the first mantel, a mirror, and then a mantel over the mirror on wood pillars that run from the floor to the top. These are generally very ornate carvings on the wood.
- Another part of the style is a safety screen for your fireplace. The safety screen helps keep hot embers in the firebox and on the hearth where they won’t damage the floor or start a fire. The hearth is the area in front of the fireplace and is generally raised up a half-inch or so from the rest of the floor. They typically come out of the firebox about 12 inches to 20 inches. If you put in a fireplace, the hearth can add more style.
One more tip if you are unsure about the style of your home, room, or anything else we have discussed here, you can always hire an interior designer to help you with the size, style, shape, and finishing mediums and colors.
You can always start by looking at home remodeling magazines for some ideas.