It doesn’t matter if you are homeowners who are working alongside your helpful home builder and skilled architect on a new home, you are someone working with an interior designer to remodel your home, or you are simply trying some interior design of your own to change up your home decor style, fireplace ideas can be hard to come up with. There are many questions that might come up like: what kind of fireplace should you get? What are some of the common benefits that come with electric fireplaces? What can I do to make my fireplace a beautiful living room focal point? Should I use a built-in fireplace or not? Can I build my own DIY mantel?
You’re in luck because the article that follows is going to answer all of the questions above and many more. Let’s get started.
What Are The Three Main Types of Fireplaces?
There are three main types of fireplaces and it is based on the fuel that they use. These three types are wood, gas, and electric. While a wood-burning fireplace is the most traditional fireplace of this group, it has its disadvantages when it comes to safety, convenience, and efficiency. Gas fireplaces tend to be a little bit more heat efficient and a safer alternative to fireplaces that burn wood, but they still have some issues to be aware of. Electric fireplaces tend to be the safest and most efficient type of fireplaces, but there are certain types of electric fireplaces that should be avoided as well.
What Are Some of The Various Types of Wood Burning Fireplaces?
Fireplaces that burn wood are the oldest and most traditional type. It isn’t uncommon for them to be a brick fireplace with red brick or a stone fireplace. In some more luxurious cases, you might even see them as a marble fireplace using white marble or a tile fireplace using marble tile. Regardless, all of the different styling choices can be replicated using gas and electric fireplaces as well. Here are the common types of wood fireplaces:
- Open Hearth Fireplace – An open-hearth fireplace is the one that you will see most commonly in homes that still have wood fireplaces. These are basic openings under a chimney, with a space to place a grate for you to build a fire on it. Usually, you would put a metal screen up for extra protection.
- Enclosed Fireplace – These are fireplaces that are slightly safer and more efficient with the heat by being completely enclosed rather than open to the room. The fire is built behind a door, usually made from glass so that you can still see it.
- Fireplace Insert – A wood-burning fireplace insert is one that goes into an open hearth so that you can convert it into a fireplace that is completely enclosed for added efficiency and safety. This isn’t to be confused with electric inserts.
- Wood Stove – These are traditionally in wilderness cabins or rural homes that don’t usually have electricity or other utilities. You burn wood inside of the stove. As the fire burns, the sides and top of the stove radiate heat to warm the room. The top of the stove is also used for basic cooking.
- Fire Pit – This is an outdoor fireplace, typically in the backyard of the house. While it can be a natural fireplace built into the ground, these days it is more common to find them as a table that is slightly raised off of the patio.
What Are The Different Types of Gas Fireplaces?
Gas fireplaces typically come in two different types:
- Direct Vented Fireplaces – These are built-in fireplaces that use a gas that requires ventilation due to harmful emissions.
- Ventless Gas Fireplace – This is a built-in fireplace that uses a gas that is a bit safer and doesn’t need ventilation.
What Are The Different Types of Electric Fireplaces?
If you are looking to get a new fireplace for your home, electric fireplaces will usually be your best bet. Here are the different types:
- Flat Wall Mantel Combo – A mantel combo is a fireplace that comes with a wood mantel fireplace surround and looks the most like a normal open-hearth style fireplace.
- Corner Fireplace – These are the same, functionally, as their flat wall counterparts, however, these are built into a mantel shape so that it fits into the corner of a room rather than against a wall. They can be good for saving space or if your room has more emphasis on the corner with its layout.
- TV Stand Fireplace – These are TV stands that have electric fireplaces built into their body. While they save space by combining two things into one, they also have limited space for features like shelves and the fireplace may be smaller as well.
- Corner TV Stand Fireplace – These are the same as the White TV stands above except they are built for a corner. Unfortunately, there is even less space for things such as shelves or cabinetry, and more corners may be cut in the performance of the fireplace itself.
- Wall Mount Fireplace – These are units that can be hung on the wall with mounting brackets. The brackets connect directly to the studs within the wall so that the heavyweight of the fireplace can safely be supported. It is also common for these types of fireplaces to be installed into wall recesses so it is built into the wall.
- Electric Fireplace Insert – Fireplace inserts are placed into the firebox of a traditional, open-hearth fireplace in order to turn it into a fireplace that is completely electric instead of one that burns wood as its fuel source. This allows you to have a fireplace that is electric without letting your existing fireplace go to waste.
- Freestanding Fireplace Heater – These are portable heaters with a fireplace aesthetic. Because these try and do too much within such a small device, they tend to look tacky and perform terribly as a heater. These should be avoided if you want a quality fireplace.
- Electric Fireplace Stoves – While these look very strange in many modern homes, these are if you want a fireplace that is electric but looks like a wood stove that you might find in cabins and rural homes.
What Are Some of The Main Problems Involving Wood and Gas Fireplaces?
Here are the core arguments of why you should think twice before considering a wood-burning fireplace:
- They are very unsafe when it comes to the chance of a house fire. They build up soot in the chimney that can easily catch on fire if professionals don’t clean your chimney regularly and the flames that are exposed within your home can also be dangerous.
- They produce very harmful emissions such as smoke and carbon monoxide. While the flue and chimney allow a lot of these emissions to escape your home, it is inevitable that some of these emissions fill your home.
- Wood fireplaces are a huge hassle to use regularly. They require so much work and upkeep that it begins to feel a bit like you have a part-time job just using your wood fireplace.
- There is a heat loss problem that you have to worry about when it comes to heat escaping through the chimney. You will need to burn a larger amount of wood to make up for all that heat that is lost from the room.
- The smoke leaves an unpleasant smell that fills your home. This smell can linger for several days after you have stopped using your fireplace. If you leave your home, you will likely smell like a fireplace and not even be aware of it.
- The smoke can actually cause soot to build upon the wall above your fireplace and over time the smoke will yellow your white walls and any lighter color furniture and fabric in your home.
- You can never hang any flat-screen TVs up above the mantel of a real wood fireplace because the smoke and heat will eventually destroy the inside of your TV, making it unusable. This kind of damage usually isn’t covered by any companies’ TV warranties.
- You need plenty of space to store the massive amounts of wood that are needed to keep your home warm throughout the winter. The alternative is to have frequent deliveries of wood which can be very inconvenient.
- If you were to build a new one onto your home, the construction project would be huge and it will cost you quite a lot of money.
An alternative to wood that is a bit safer and more efficient is a fireplace that uses gas. Of course, gas fireplaces still have a good number of issues that you need to be aware of:
- Gas fireplaces still have a flame that is exposed to your home. Anytime a flame is exposed, there is a higher risk of a house fire starting.
- The lack of smoke is nice, but there is still a high presence of carbon monoxide in most gas fireplaces and carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.
- The color of the flame for gas fireplaces is typically weird-looking. Even when they try to make a flame color that looks more natural, it never seems to look quite right. Of course, some have gas that burns a strange, neon blue flame color, which looks very tacky and artificial.
- The flames are usually very weak and never seem to flicker like the flames in a real wood fireplace. This is due to the burners being nothing more than what are basically Bunsen burners. Gas fireplaces can have a log set to help break up the flames a bit, but it never seems to look like a fireplace should.
- An expensive professional is required to come to install some gas lines for you, install the fireplace, and in many cases, add ventilation as well.
What Are The Benefits Of Electric Fireplaces?
- Since nothing is actually burning inside of electric fireplaces, you don’t need to concern yourself regarding any added risk of a house fire.
- Electric fireplaces don’t produce any smoke or carbon monoxide.
- You don’t need to worry about stains or smells due to no smoke being present.
- Electric fireplaces are easy to use. Just turn them on and enjoy.
- Installation is as easy as picking the fireplace wall and plugging the fireplace into a standard 120-volt electrical outlet. While some electric fireplaces can be a little bit more involved, rarely would you need the help of a professional for your installation.
- You aren’t stuck only installing one in your main room of the house with electric fireplaces. You can easily put them in the dining room, family room, or any other room of your home.
- It is safe if you want to hang a TV above your electric fireplaces.
- Since there is no ventilation, you don’t have to worry about wasteful heat loss.
- You can set up zone heating for large homes, benefitting from a secondary fireplace to save more on your heating bill.
- You can control your fireplace from your seat with a remote control or, in some cases, a useful smartphone app.
If you make the wise decision to properly invest in a higher-end fireplace that uses holographically projected flames, it will capture the warm ambiance that wood fireplaces have.
What Are Some Trendy Fireplace Ideas For The Living Room?
When it comes to fireplaces, there are plenty of things to keep in mind. For starters, if you want a modern electric fireplace with a clean, minimalist design, you can get a white fireplace with a solid white oak mantel to match the clean white paint on your walls. For room ideas, you can hang up paintings with vibrant colors to pop out from the minimal design.
If you want room ideas that are more luxurious and extravagant, you can get a fireplace with crown molding and ornately carved details as your room’s centerpiece. For a great room bonus, you can pair it with a beautiful chandelier that still has a contemporary look.
For a more rustic, farmhouse look, you can make a fireplace backing of reclaimed wood. Or if you want to still keep it clean, you can use white shiplap and build a bookcase into recessed walls on either side of your fireplace.
If you are feeling like a more adventurous craftsman, you can look for design inspiration on home design websites and build a mantel for your fireplace all by yourself. There are endless possibilities and the experience can be incredibly rewarding.
Keep in mind that whatever design ideas you want to choose for your fireplace, that match the style and furniture that you will be using in the room. You don’t want to pair an ornate, dark fireplace mantel with a coffee table that is white and minimal. Keep your style consistent for an overall better sense of clarity throughout the room.
What Fireplace Has The Most Realistic Flames?
If you are looking for electric fireplaces that have flames that look just like the fire in a real fireplace that burns wood, you don’t need to look any further than MagikFlame electric fireplaces. Impressive visuals aren’t all that MagikFlame has to offer as well. Here is what you can expect with every single MagikFlame fireplace best model that they offer:
- 3D Projected Flickering Holographic Fire – There are 30 different styles of flames that MagikFlame fireplaces can produce. These flames move and flicker realistically and are 3D projected onto log sets that sit inside the fireplace.
- Crackling Log Sounds – Immersion is further elevated by the inclusion of the sound of crackling logs that accompany the visual effects of the fireplace.
- 5,200 BTU Heater – The heater is both powerful and efficient so it uses the least amount of electricity needed to keep your home warm.
- Smartphone App Control – MagikFlame fireplaces can be controlled with a simple and intuitive smartphone app from anywhere in your house.