Amongst features like kitchen islands, walk-in wardrobes and cast iron rolltop baths, a statement fireplace is yet another wishlist entry for most homeowners. But with a multitude of fireplace designs on offer, how do you choose which to opt for?
These eight fireplace ideas should help to narrow down the options, providing you with the ultimate ember-centric shortlist.
1. Double-framed fireplaces
A surefire way to create a feature fireplace is to use more than one material or more than one colour to frame the flames. The aim here is less about drawing attention to the hearth and mantel – a single material will do that in its own right – but to picture-frame the fire itself.
You might choose simple, smooth, white-painted plaster for the main structure and then a tiled border on the inside section or an expanse of onyx black granite. Or, do as Helen Green Design has done by teaming decorative white stone with a secondary trim of grooved mouldings in a contrasting neutral stone.
Image Credit: Helen Green Design
2. Contemporary statement fireplaces
One of the most apparent fireplace differentiators is traditional versus contemporary aesthetics. But don’t be tricked into thinking that there can’t be some cross-pollination. For example, a modern fireplace can sit gladly in a period townhouse property if aspects of its design nod to the past.
Laura Hammett’s bold creation is evidence of that. Being a classic open fire fuelled by logs and kindling, there’s enough of the spirit of the past present to help its contemporary nature blend with the room’s elegant panelling and solid wood shutters.
The number one criteria of a contemporary fireplace? An angular, clean-lined void – often rectangular – and a flat surround with not a mantel in sight. But if you still want to demarcate it from the rest of the room, consider a textured panel that mimics a stone you’d expect to see on the hearth, or a feature wallpaper.
Image Credit: Laura Hammett
3. Oversized surrounded fireplaces
Who says a fireplace can’t go larger than the ‘standard’ dimensions? Most guidance will suggest that for rooms with a chimney breast, the width of the fireplace shouldn’t be any wider otherwise it will look out of proportion with the room’s architecture and produce awkward overhangs. Otherwise, most generally follow a similar pattern of leaving some wall space either side of the surround.
By taking the surround all the way to the edges of the chimney breast however, you’ll make a far greater fireplace statement. David Collins Studio presents this to perfection with his dramatically oversized marble design. It’s in balance with the rest of the room because it follows the chimney breast lines and leaves the artwork hanging above to take care of the expected wall space either side.
Image Credit: David Collins Studio
4. Period-inspired fireplaces
Amongst the most beautiful fireplaces a home can have is one that takes its cue from fireplaces of old. This is especially compelling when it's an original fireplace or a restoration version that matches the age of the property.
Popular period-inspired pieces include Louis Revival fireplaces with their graceful curves and swags; the Georgian fireplace (mid- and late-Georgian rather than the early ornate variety) which was lightly decorated, though still with some relief carving and inlaid marble; and the cast iron Victorian era fireplace.
One of the most celebrated however is the Regency fireplace. Far more pared-back (in line with the austere architecture of the period), these would generally feature Greek-like columns for the jambs and a fireplace header with fluting, panelling and a Greek or Roman-inspired motifs at either end, much like the one in the LuxDeco scheme pictured.
The Regency fireplace is what paved the way for the classic integrated fireplace design that continued to be emulated throughout modern history.
Image Credit: LuxDeco.com
5. Mirror mantel fireplaces
The fire isn’t always about the flames, the fuel and the structure that surrounds it. Part of the fireplace ‘experience’ is what you choose to display on the mantel or over it.
Many contemporary designs will be devoid of a mantel, so unless a truly minimalist aesthetic is the goal, it’s a wise idea to position something above the fireplace as an anchoring feature.
Art is one option but a mirror will insist your fireplace is all the more beguiling as demonstrated by Elicyon. A mirror will reflect whatever light from the embers that it detects, but hang a striking pendant at the right height, and it will also reflect that back. This means all your light sources work in unison, and your impressive chandelier is appreciated two-fold.
Image Credit: Elicyon
6. Wood-burning stove fireplaces
When is a fire not a fire? When it’s a wood-burner.
Made especially popular in the last decade, the wood burning stove offers an alternative to the roaring open fire. Said to be a far more effective heat source, and a far tidier one, it’s been adopted far beyond the quintessential country cottage and into chic townhouses and loft apartments.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve the full fireplace treatment though. Dress it with a fluted wraparound surround like Sophie Peckett Design has and explore your options with the hearth tiles, keeping it muted like Sophie or making more of a splash with colour and pattern.
Image Credit: Sophie Peckett Design
7. Multiple fireplaces
Fireplaces are reported to add value to a property, so why stop with having just one?
Their eminent warmth and grandeur significantly alter a room’s atmosphere, for the better, even when they’re not log-loaded and burning brightly.
Image Credit: Taylor Howes
8. Blackened stone fireplaces
Black is a fireplace colour that’s not completely unexpected. Thanks to soot, coal and charred timber, not to mention the archetypal black cast iron insert featured in almost every Victorian fireplace, black is indeed very closely linked to any and every fireplace.
Be that as it may, choosing black as a fireplace surround is a step away from tradition, and breaking the mould will never go unnoticed.
Deborah Oppenheimer presents how a sultry black marble fireplace has the potential to make a fireplace ten times more transfixing. Black granite is another suggestion, or black-painted plaster as a less grandiose option. Take the effect higher by painting the entire fireplace wall in the same black tone and the flames will radiate stronger still.
Image Credit: Deborah Oppenheimer