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What should I consider when choosing a fireplace

By Pedro Calcano January 01, 2024 0 comments

What should I consider when choosing a fireplace?

A cozy living room with a traditional fireplace and comfortable furniture.

Ready to add some warmth and ambiance to your home? Choosing the right fireplace can seem like a daunting task. With various styles, fuel types, installation options and safety considerations, there's more to it than meets the eye.

Our comprehensive guide will help you navigate this complex decision-making process easier so that you can find a perfect heartwarming addition for your home. Let’s fire up this conversation!

Key Takeaways

  • There are many types of fireplaces like built-in, mantel, wall mount, media console, stove and log sets. Each type has unique features that can enhance your home's warmth and style.
  • The fuel you use for your fireplace can be wood, gas or electric. Wood gives a traditional feel but needs more care. Electric is easy to use while gas provides constant heat without the need for regular refueling.
  • When picking a fireplace location, think about safety rules and how it can warm up your house efficiently. Make sure there's enough space around it away from anything that could catch fire.
  • Consider the size of the room when selecting a fireplace as larger rooms require larger units to heat properly. Choose designs that fit well with the rest of your decor to keep things balanced visually.

Understanding the Purpose of a Fireplace in Your Home

A cozy living room with a fireplace surrounded by comfortable furniture.

Fireplaces serve multiple purposes in a home, with their primary function being heating. When temperatures drop during winter months, a well-placed and properly functioning fireplace can heat rooms effectively.

Different countries have regulations governing the use and emissions of fireplaces so they are not ideal as central heating units distributing warmth to all parts of the house. Yet, the right type of fireplace, such as wood-burning ones equipped with a dual combustion system or efficient gas fireplaces, can supplement your main heating unit wonderfully.

Beyond just being sources of warmth, fireplaces also become decorative elements that add character and charm to living spaces. They often act as focal points in rooms like the Great Room or family room—the most popular spots for installing them—elevating their aesthetics significantly.

Apart from this visual appeal, having a cozy fireplace at home often evokes feelings of comfort and companionship—a lure that makes even frosty nights desirable!

Types of Fireplaces

A welcoming living room with a fireplace and comfortable furniture.

The types of fireplaces you can choose from include the built-in fireplace, mantel fireplace, wall mount fireplace, media console fireplace, stove fireplace and log sets.

Built-In Fireplace

Built-In Fireplaces offer both aesthetic appeal and functional use for your home. Constructed as an integral part of the house, these fireplaces become a permanent fixture that not only provides warmth but also enhances the overall interior design.

They come in a myriad of styles from rustic to modern depending on your taste and can be finished with various materials such as natural stone, wood, brick or metal to complement room décor.

The type of fuel used plays a critical role in choosing a Built-In Fireplace. While some people prefer the traditional ambiance created by burning wood logs, others may opt for more convenient fuel types like gas or electricity which are easy to control and require less cleanup.

The insulation, altitude, region, glazing and flooring affect the efficiency of built-in fireplaces making it crucial to consider these factors during installation. Interestingly enough, some built-in fireplace models also double up as cooking spaces adding another layer of functionality apart from heating pleasure.

Mantel Fireplace

Mantel fireplaces hold a special charm, adding an ambiance of warmth and elegance to any room. The mantel itself provides a creative canvas for decorators to display artwork, photos or holiday decorations.

They're available in different styles such as rustic or modern, allowing you to select the one that best fits your home decor. Mantel fireplaces can run on various fuel types including wood, gas, bioethanol, and electricity which offers flexibility based on availability and preference.

Opting for wood-burning mantel fireplaces equipped with a dual combustion system delivers high efficiency by generating more heat while consuming less wood. However, it's important to note that they can't serve as central heating units due to their inability to distribute heat equally across all rooms.

Despite this limitation, they remain a favored choice among homeowners seeking additional heating coupled with aesthetic appeal. Whether you prefer closed fireplace designs or open ones with chimney inserts – there is a diverse range of hearths available that align perfectly with mantel fireplaces.

Wall Mount Fireplace

Wall mount fireplaces bring a modern touch to your indoor spaces. Their easy installation makes them a popular choice among homeowners seeking both style and heat efficiency. Available in an array of designs and finishes, these fireplaces cater to diverse aesthetics, from rustic charm to sleek minimalism.

Although they offer additional heating comfort, it's key to note that they don't act as primary heating units. Regular care is necessary for wall mount fireplaces, emphasizing the importance of professional maintenance services in their longevity and performance.

Whether you opt for wood, gas, bioethanol or electric variants depends on your personal preference and needs.

Media Console Fireplace

Media console fireplaces bring warmth and style to your home, serving as a two-in-one piece of furniture. They offer the classic look of wood-burning fireplaces with the added convenience of easy operation via gas or electricity.

Not having to worry about chimney venting is a plus point for these units providing ease in installation. These types of fireplaces not only shed soothing heat but also provide storage space and serve as a stunning focal point in any room.

Whether styled traditionally, cozy country, or chic contemporary, media console fireplaces effortlessly enhance the architectural details of indoor spaces. With a wider range of designs available and options for professional installation, choosing such unit can elevate your heating pleasure.

Stove Fireplace

Stove fireplaces make a fantastic choice for homeowners seeking functionality and style. They offer both heat and the unique ability to cook meals, making them a versatile option for indoor spaces.

Whether you live in an apartment or a sprawling ranch-style home, there's a stove fireplace tailored to your lifestyle and expectations.

Maintaining your stove fireplace contributes greatly to its lifespan and overall performance. This includes handling wood correctly, storing logs appropriately, and feeding the fire at regular intervals.

However, it's also important to keep in mind that different countries have their own regulations regarding stove fireplace emissions - always ensure you're complying with these rules for safe usage of your heating pleasure.

Log Sets

Log sets offer a flexible, versatile approach to achieving the ambiance of a traditional bonfire. These faux-wood pieces mimic natural logs and are ideal for homeowners who crave the charm of an open fire but not its maintenance.

Often made from ceramic or other heat-resistant materials, log sets can fit seamlessly into your existing fireplace structure. You'll appreciate the simple installation process as there's no need for remodeling – just place them in, add your preferred fuel type, and you're ready to enjoy a realistic-looking fire with less hassle.

Log sets provide efficiency combined with aesthetic appeal for a welcoming hearth at any time.

Different Fuel Types for Fireplaces

A cozy living room with a rustic fireplace and inviting furniture.

Explore the pros and cons of wood, electric, and gas fireplaces to determine which fuel type best aligns with your lifestyle and budget. Dive into this section for a detailed guide on the functionality, cost-effectiveness, and ambiance each offers.

Wood Fireplace

Wood fireplaces offer a classic, timeless aesthetic that many homeowners adore. There’s nothing quite like the sound of crackling logs and the smell of burning wood to create a cozy atmosphere.

This type of fireplace typically utilizes hardwood logs as its fuel source. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and cherry are popular due to their long burn time and efficient heat output.

With advancements in technology, today's wood-burning fireplaces have evolved into more efficient heating systems equipped with dual combustion systems that generate more warmth while using less wood.

They are also cost-effective as they do not need electricity and utilize one of the least expensive fuel options available for home heating - timber.

Electric Fireplaces

Electric fireplaces are a versatile and stylish choice for all types of indoor spaces. These appealing heating units cater to various lifestyles and expectations perfectly. They offer the beauty and warmth of a real fire without the mess, maintenance or hazards associated with wood or gas burning units.

Despite their many advantages, electric fireplaces do have some limitations you should be aware of before purchasing. For example, they can't distribute heat to every room in your home like central heating systems can.

However, if you chiefly want a fireplace for aesthetics rather than as a primary heat source, consider one with glass panels that display the attractive faux flames clearly. The visual charm will undoubtedly make it an engaging centerpiece in your living space!

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces offer convenience and warmth with the flick of a switch. They operate by burning natural gas or liquid propane, thus eliminating the need for wood fuel. Since these fireplaces are connected to a duct system like conventional fireplaces, they provide efficient heat distribution throughout your indoor spaces.

This makes them an attractive choice as either an additional heating unit or the main heating source in homes located in high altitude regions where it's often chilly. Gas fireplace designs range from traditional hearth style to sleek wall mounts, blending seamlessly into any home decor theme.

It's crucial though, to consult professionals for proper installation and maintenance conforming to regulations of your country regarding fireplace emissions and usage.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fireplace

A warm and stylish living room with a fireplace and elegant furniture.

When choosing a fireplace, consider factors such as location and size of the room, design style that matches your home decor, type of fuel used for burning like wood, electric or gas, heat output desired in BTUs and additional accessories or décor elements to complement the overall look.


Choosing the right spot for your fireplace is crucial. The location will influence efficiency, safety, and even how effectively it heats your home. A well-chosen spot allows proper ventilation and complies with local building codes.

It also means easy access to fuel sources and less hassle during maintenance. Keep in mind that fireplaces should be away from any combustible material for safety reasons, so consider the layout of the room carefully before installation.

After all, practicality doesn't have to compromise style!


The size of your fireplace holds a significant role in its function and placement. It should be proportional to the room, not overwhelming or getting lost in the overall space. Larger rooms typically require larger fireplaces to sustain adequate heat distribution while smaller spaces may only need compact options.

Considering the available space in your home for a fireplace is equally essential. This determines whether you opt for a large, built-in unit or perhaps a sleek wall-mounted style.

The appropriate size of the fireplace also enhances the existing decor by creating balance and harmony within the room. Furthermore, take into account your heating requirements when deciding on size; expansive areas may necessitate more powerful units for optimal warmth.


Design plays a crucial role in enhancing the aesthetics of your fireplace. It can either be minimalistic or ornate, based on individual preferences and overall home decor. A wide range of designs are available, from contemporary to traditional styles.

Some people prefer the timeless appeal of stone or wood finishes while others opt for sleek metal designs for a modern touch. Electric fireplaces offer adjustable flame heights making them not just functional but also visually appealing.

The design possibilities are endless and finding one that complements your home's ambiance could turn an ordinary room into an exceptional space.

Fuel Type

Choosing the right fuel type for your fireplace is a key decision. Wood, gas, electric or ethanol are some popular choices. Wood fireplaces give off a traditional vibe with their crackling noises and real flames but need regular supply of firewood and maintenance.

Gas fireplaces offer easy control with just a switch or remote, saving you time on starting the fire manually. Electrically fueled ones stand out due to their energy efficiency and convenient installation process yet might not deliver as much heat as those running on wood or gas.

Heat Output

Heat output plays a crucial role in choosing the right fireplace. This factor is influenced by elements such as the positioning and style of the fireplace, its finishing material, and fuel type used.

To provide sufficient warmth for an area, calculate the power required based on 1 kW per 10m² of surface area. Fuel choice also affects heat generated; while wood—the least expensive option—can be used for extra heating needs, it's essential to explore other available options too.

Accessories & Decor

Fireplace accessories like mantels, screens, log holders and tool sets play a critical role in enhancing both aesthetics and functionality. These elements not only heighten visual appeal but also ensure safe operation of your fireplace.

The selection should be guided by factors such as style, design and personal taste.

Decorative items such as artwork, candles and decorative logs can dramatically transform the ambiance around your fireplace. For instance, a well-chosen piece of artwork above the mantle can become an impressive focal point in the room.

It's crucial to ensure that your chosen decor complements the overall look of the fireplace for a cohesive feel. This approach creates a cozy atmosphere where warmth meets exquisite style.

Safety Considerations for Fireplaces

A modern living room with a cozy fireplace and fire safety equipment.

Ensure your chosen fireplace has proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide buildup, and install smoke alarms in your home to monitor for potential fire hazards.


Proper ventilation plays a crucial role in maintaining a safe and comfortable environment when operating your fireplace. It helps in efficient smoke and gas release, thereby preventing the buildup of harmful fumes that could lead to poor indoor air quality.

Different fuel types for fireplaces may require varying ventilation requirements, meaning each case demands bespoke attention. Therefore, always involve professionals when designing and installing your ventilation systems to guarantee optimal airflow and safety within your home.

Ensuring adequate ventilation not only contributes towards the longevity of your fireplace but also plays a vital part in preserving good health conditions indoors.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms play a vital role in ensuring safety while using fireplaces. These devices detect smoke and promptly alert occupants of potential fire hazards, significantly reducing the risk of damage or injury.

For maximum effectiveness, it's essential to install these near your fireplace as they can pick up any early signs of excessive smoke. Regular maintenance such as testing for functionality and replacing batteries frequently is also crucial to ensure that these alarms continue serving their purpose effectively.

Fireplace Installation Options

A contemporary living space with a wall-mounted fireplace, tasteful furniture, and a TV.

Considering the right fit for your space, fireplace installation options could range from wall-mounted units for a sleek modern look, built-in fireplace inserts that provide an authentic ambiance, free-standing fireplaces offering flexibility in placement, corner fireplaces perfect for smaller rooms to two-sided fireplaces designed to heat multiple spaces simultaneously.

Another trendy option includes placing a TV over the fireplace which can enhance your living room's aesthetic appeal while maximizing space utility.


Wall-mounted fireplaces offer a sleek, modern aesthetic to any indoor space. These fireplaces, unlike their traditional counterparts, do not need a chimney infrastructure for installation.

The installation must consider important factors including region-specific regulations, altitude adaptability of the unit, the type of flooring and adequate insulation in place. To ensure safety and longevity of your wall-mounted fireplace - professional assistance is often recommended during installation process.

Bask in the warmth of these trendy fireplaces while enjoying an unobstructed view of dancing flames without losing valuable floor space!

Built-in Fireplace Insert

A built-in fireplace insert transforms an existing traditional masonry fireplace into a more efficient heat source. Instead of losing most of the generated heat through the chimney, this design allows for greater warmth distribution throughout your living space.

Each insert contains an insulated glass front, which provides a barrier between you and open flames while enhancing the beauty of the fire. You can choose from wood-burning, electric, or gas versions to match your preference.

Furthermore, installing a built-in fireplace insert typically demands professional assistance to ensure optimum performance and safety standards are met.


Free-standing fireplaces bring warmth and charm to any room, making them a popular choice for many homeowners. With their versatile design, they can easily fit into various settings without the need for major renovations.

They are available in a range of materials from metal to stone, offering aesthetic options to suit diverse interior styles. Beyond adding ambiance, free-standing fireplaces also serve practical purposes such as room heating and meal preparation.

These standalone units require careful consideration during installation; factors like insulation, region-specific conditions, altitude, glazing and flooring selection greatly impact their performance and longevity.

Corner Fireplace

Corner fireplaces give homeowners the advantage of maximizing their living space. They fit snugly into any corner, turning what could have been unused square footage into a warm and inviting area.

Because these types of fireplaces come in many different styles, it is crucial to choose one that complements your home's overall aesthetic.

A diverse range of finishing materials such as natural stone, wood, brick or metal can be used for installing corner fireplaces. These materials not only enhance the look but also contribute to the fireplace's functionality.

For instance, good insulation can help increase efficiency whereas choosing an appropriate fuel type like wood provides cost-effective heating. However, keep in mind that these types are typically meant for additional heat and don't serve as central heating units; they mainly provide warmth within the room they are installed in.

Two-Sided Fireplace

Two-sided fireplaces offer a versatile solution for homeowners who demand both style and functionality. Their unique design allows them to warm two spaces at once, making them an ideal choice for open layout rooms or areas requiring dual heating purposes.

With the ability to use wood, gas or bioethanol as fuel options, these marvels can fit various lifestyle needs. Moreover, they're available in multiple materials and designs - from rustic stone finishes to sleek modern styles – catering to diverse aesthetic expectations.

Some models even permit cooking meals, adding another advantage to their long list of benefits.

TV Over the Fireplace

Placing a TV over the fireplace has become an increasingly popular design choice for many homeowners. However, certain factors need careful consideration to balance functionality and aesthetics.

The heat from the fireplace should not exceed the recommended levels for your TV - high temperatures can damage electronics over time. Also, ensure that there's no glare falling on the screen from windows or lights which might ruin visibility.

An adjustable mount can provide flexibility with viewing angles, enhancing comfort and reducing neck strain when watching television from different positions in your room. For creating appealing visuals around this setup, consider using trim work or built-in units; they successfully merge technology with traditional warmth to create an engaging focal point in your space.

Styling Your Fireplace

Discover the perfect blend of form and function as we explore various fireplace styles, from the elegance of traditional designs to cozy country aesthetics and chic contemporary vibes.

Stay tuned to uncover how different materials, colors, accessories can dramatically alter your fireplace's look and feel.

Trendy Traditional

Trendy Traditional fireplaces fuse the charm of conventional designs with modern aesthetic sensibilities. They usually feature logs burning brightly, accompanied by a robust wooden mantel and a stone surround that extends from floor to ceiling.

A fabulous illustration of this timeless yet chic style is on display in the Contemporary house plan #161-1092.

This delightful blend of old-world elegance and contemporary sleekness offers a unique warmth to any living area. It effortlessly combines elements from different eras, creating an inviting atmosphere while adding value to your home's architectural design.

The essential characteristic that sets Trendy Traditional fireplaces apart is their ability to make classic styles relevant and appealing in today's world.

Cozy Country

Cozy Country fireplaces embody warmth and inviting charm, bringing a blush of rustic appeal to your living room. Simple designs and quaint decor touches on the mantel reflect this style's focus on comfort and casual elegance.

Picture yourself in house plan #108-1891 - an ideal example of the Cozy Country fireplace located in a spacious Great Room. This design is more than just visually pleasing; it becomes an integral part of family gatherings, creating a welcoming space where memories are forged amid the gentle crackle of burning logs.

Chic Contemporary

Chic contemporary fireplace designs take a bold step away from tradition, offering sleek and minimalist style. These fireplaces often feature glass, concrete, or stainless steel to create a clean-lined and modern look.

Some models even incorporate LED lights to add color and visual interest. This type of design is ideal for urban homes or any space that embraces the modern aesthetic. Chic contemporary fireplaces are not just about looks; they also provide efficient heating with option for either gas or electric power sources- allowing homeowners the freedom to choose what suits them best.


Choosing a fireplace requires careful evaluation of various aspects including the location, size, design and fuel type. The right choice not only enhances your home's aesthetic but also serves functional purposes effectively.

Always prioritize safety measures like ventilation and smoke alarms during installation. Remember to embellish it in accordance with your personal taste, making sure that it aligns well with the overall décor of your space.


1. What should I consider when choosing a fireplace?

When choosing a fireplace, you need to look at the style of fireplace, its position in your home, professional installation and maintenance considerations and if it adheres to current regulations.

2. What types of fireplaces are available?

There are many types of fireplaces including wood stove, open hearth or closed hearth options along with more modern styles like bioethanol or double combustion technology units with a clean glass system.

3. Do I need to consider any safety rules while installing fireplaces?

Yes! Fireplace safety considerations include proper smoke detector placement, having an appropriate chimney flue and ensuring that there is a fresh air inlet for adequate thermal balance.

4. Can the appearance of my fireplace be customized?

Certainly! You can decorate your fireplace using decorative surrounds or colored glass for both indoor and outdoor spaces which can reflect your personal style from rustic versions to modern outdoor ideas.

5. Are there specific items needed for maintaining my fireplace?

Proper tools like an ash disposal can, log rack and canvas log tote bag will assist in regular cleaning while replacement parts & propane conversion kits may be required for upkeeping heat output efficiency over time.

6. Does the type of fuel used affect my choice on selecting the right heating tool such as boiler/heat pump/air conditioner/fireplace?

The type of heat source - be it wood burning or other fuels - indeed impacts your decision on selecting right heating tool as each has unique benefits that adhere specifically towards certain ventilation requirements like masonry ducts or vent-free stove fireplaces.


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