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Fireplace Designs

Updated on November 23, 2009

Fireplaces bring joy to any home.  They provide a comfortable place to gather as a family, they provide heat and light, and they make a room look beautiful.  That is why it is very important to have the right fireplace design for your home.  Fireplace designs are a key tool to ensuring your fireplace is a positive element rather than an eyesore or underutilized component of your home.  Fireplace design ideas vary widely, but no matter what your tastes, there is a fireplace design for you.  When picking out your fireplace design ideas, there are many things to consider that will limit your choices.  You need to make decisions about both the heating functionality of your fireplace and the overall aesthetic of the fireplace in the room.

If you are interested in designing a fireplace yourself then make sure you do the proper research.  There are fire regulations and building codes that have to be considered when designing anything for the home, but especially for a fireplace.  The hazards of an inferior fireplace design can be great.  IT might be a better idea to look for fireplace designs that were completed by a professional.  You can purchase designs from fireplace manufacturers or you can find designs for free if you dig around on the internet long enough.  My advice would be to hire a professional to help you in the design process or show you a fireplace design catalog.

Electric Fireplaces

First, you need to decide what kind of fireplace you will have- a wood burning fireplace, a gas fireplace, or an electrical fireplace. This decision will direct you toward the right kind of fireplace designs. For example, electric fireplaces usually come out of the box, you do not need to choose materials of construction or dimension because the fireplace will come already constructed. The electric fireplace inserts for sale are typically on the smaller side so that makes them an excellent choice for an apartment or townhouse. In addition, electric fireplaces do not need ventilation so you can use them if you have neighbors above you. Some people might be concerned that a ventless fireplace will not give off sufficient heat, but most ventless fireplace reviews say the heat is good enough for a small room or a studio apartment. If you are planning to utilize a corner for your fireplace, then electric fireplace designs are a good choice because many of them come fabricated this way. Corner fireplace designs are a great space saver.

Wood Burning Fireplaces

If you are planning to have a wood burning fireplace then materials of construction are of particular importance.  Brick fireplace designs are probably the most common choice for many reasons.  First, brick does not show smoke stains and second, it does not burn easily.  If a fire were to get out of hand, the brick could keep it from spreading too quickly and allow the home owner to stop it.  In addition, brick will go with almost any décor so it is a good neutral choice.  Another common material for fireplace design is stone.  There are many varieties of stone fireplace such as limestone, marble, slate, or ceramic tile.  Light colored marble and tiles are not a good choice if you plan to use your fireplace often because the soot and smoke will make ugly marks on the fireplace façade.  However, if your fireplace design is purely for aesthetic appeal, then stone fireplace designs are great to work with since the material lends itself so well to carving and comes in a wide variety of colors and textures.  Moreover, the design of the fireplace does not have to be limited to the outer facade and mantel.  Tile and marble can be used to create scenic vistas on the backside of the firebox.

If you choose a wood burning fireplace, your fireplace design will have to include venting.  There are multiple options in today’s marketplace but they all fall into one of two categories, prefabricated metal duct work or masonry.  The prefabricated fireplace duct work is much less expensive and can be smaller than a traditional chimney.  However, the metal duct work is not as attractive from the outside of the house as a brick or stone chimney would be.  In addition, masonry lasts much longer than the prefabricated fireplace designs.

Aesthetic Fireplace Design Details

There are several small details to consider when designing your own fireplace or picking out a professionally designed fireplace. Details like rounded corners versus straight ones can make a big difference in how well a fireplace design fits into your decorating scheme or the architecture of the room. Contemporary fireplace designs often use straight lines and simple patterns while traditional fireplace designs might use curved edges and ornate carvings. Another small aesthetic point is what kind of fireplace tools to set next to the fireplace. Buying discount fireplace accessories at Lowes or Home Depot might spoil the whole look so make sure you purchase fireplace accessories that match the fireplace design and the room décor.

One of the most important aesthetic decisions will be the fireplace placement. Do you want your fireplace to be centered on a particular wall or in a corner? The corner placement saves a lot of space, but limits your fireplace mantel designs. Most of the fireplace mantels for sale are meant for fireplaces that are centered on a wall rather than in a corner. The size of your firebox and fireplace mantel and surround will be determined by the size of the room. You do not want a large fireplace in a small room because both its presence and the heat could be overwhelming. It is also important to consider size when you think about fireplace safety. You do not want small children or pets to get too close to your fire, so you will want to put something in front of the open firebox. You will not be able to use the small antique fireplace screens you had in mind if the hearth is too large. You might end up spending a lot of money on custom fireplace doors.

Another thing to consider is how functional you want your fireplace to be. Someone people use fireplace designs with TV stands built in or bookshelves, or cabinets. Often the wall space around a fireplace is wasted because no one wants to put furniture too close to the open flame. If you extend your fireplace surround design to include shelves or cabinets, you can utilize the space much better. Of course, the more elaborate your fireplace design, the more expensive the project will be. Price is often the determining factor in which fireplace template we use.

Outdoor Fireplace Designs

Up until now, I have been discussing fireplace designs for inside your home. Of course, people use and build fireplaces outdoors as well. The outdoors offers an opportunity to be much more creative and inventive in fireplace design. You are not limited by the walls of a room and ventilation is not an issue. You do need to be careful about your placement because you do not want to be too close to any flammable hazards like tree branches or electrical wires, but your options are much more diverse outdoors. The first outdoor fireplace design decision you will have to make is whether you want a large hearth or a wood burning stove that you can place in the center of a seating area. Many of the smaller outdoor fireplaces kits are the type that you set up in the center of a circles and that give off heat in all directions. This design for an outdoor fireplace is ideal for small gatherings to roast marshmallows or sit around a talk. Larger hearth designs are better if you want the fireplace to provide heat and light to a large area during large gatherings.

The next outdoor fireplace decision you will need to make is what materials of construction you will use. In terms of materials, outdoor fireplace designs often utilize stone because it does not rust or rot away like metal or wood does. Stone also a natural material so it blends in well in the natural surroundings of your backyard. A brick outdoor fireplace is also common for the same reason.  For more information on outdoor fireplace design, watch the video below.


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