Adding a fireplace is a natural choice during any home renovation. It obviously provides warmth, but also serves as a focal point and adds a certain sense of coziness; a welcoming invitation to any room in the house.

Heat Sources

Wood BurningAlthough many people are opting for more efficient options, wood burning fireplaces are still in demand.  Nothing can substitute the intense aroma of burning logs! Wood burning fireplaces lose about 90 percent of their heat through the chimney but many modern versions have increased efficiency.  Keep in mind that you will have to maintain a stock pile of wood and clean up ash and charred wood.

GasGas fueled fireplaces require less maintenance than wood burning versions but provide the same look and feel.  Because they don’t require a chimney, gas fireplaces are easier to install but should be placed along an outside wall for gas and fume ventilation.  Just a flick of a switch is all that is needed to start a fire.

ElectricSimilar to gas, electric fireplaces are much easier to install and maintain than wood burning options.  But, electric fireplaces need neither a chimney nor a gas line in order to produce flames.  This is why electric fireplaces are a popular option because they offer more versatility in terms of location.

Other OptionsAnother heat option for small fireplaces is gel.  The gel is a non toxic form of grain alcohol that is odorless and colorless.  Although not as powerful as its gas, electric, and wood burning counterparts, gel fireplaces offer minimal heat to surrounding areas and can be set up in any part of the house.  This option is great for people who don’t want the responsibility of a more traditional fireplace.  Some people even prefer using simple candles in their fireplaces for aesthetic purposes only.

Design Ideas

So you’ve decided on the perfect type of fireplace. Now it’s time to get creative!  Below are some options in fireplace décor that can make your new addition the focal point.

Traditional Brick– If you want the most classic option for fireplaces, then stick with brick.   Use a single color for the entire back drop or alternate with a variety of different tones.

Stone– Stone offers a more rustic look for your fireplace and can help accent a room with rich, earthy tones.  Place stones along the immediate borders of the fireplace or all the way up to the ceiling.

Mosaic Tile– For a more creative, eye catching fire place, mosaic tile is a great choice.  With an unlimited amount of colors and sizes, mosaic tile adds a little flair to any fireplace.  You might even consider breaking the tiles for a more custom, one-of-a-kind look.

Slate– Slate tiles are highly versatile and can fit any décor from classic to contemporary.  Its natural beauty and durability make it a popular option for many homeowners.

A Mantel­– No matter what backdrop you decide on, a mantel is another great way to draw attention.  Whether minimal or ornate, a mantle provides a decorative framework around your fireplace.

Paint– A simple coat of paint to the surrounding area around the fireplace may be all you need!  This option allows that fireplace itself to take center stage.