Bring Warmth, Beauty to Your Home With These Fireplace Design Tips

When it comes to fireplaces, there are many options out there. How do you decide which one is best for your home? In this article, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of different types, along with some mantel decorating tips for those of you who already have a fireplace.

Wood-burning fireplaces

For many people, nothing beats the nostalgia, warmth, crackling sounds, and aroma of a natural wood fire. However, they are an inefficient heating source compared to newer alternatives.

This dramatic fireplace is one of the architectural highlights of this home designed by Bernbaum Magadini Architects.

Gas fireplaces

Gas fireplaces do not require a chimney and can be controlled with a button. They are also more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional wood-burning fireplaces.

Gas logs are made of ceramic and placed above the gas burner to imitate the look of a real wood fireplace. Personally, I don’t mind gas logs. They’ve gotten more realistic and are convenient and easy to clean.

Fireplace style and design

A fireplace should be proportional to the rest of the room and in the same architectural style as the house. In my opinion, traditional fireplaces should have a good size opening, preferably 40 by 40 inches. I also like to do an interesting background, like a herringbone pattern, in the interior brick of a traditional fireplace. I prefer the firebox to go to the floor, providing a more classical look.

Decorating your mantel

Since the fireplace is usually the focal point for a room, make sure it’s something you want to look at. I recommend hanging a large piece of art or a mirror in the center that serves as an anchor for the decorative accessories in front.

Note that if the mantel is crammed with too many accessories and picture frames, nothing stands out. For traditional fireplaces, I usually use three to five items, such as a tea caddy in the center and candlesticks or vases on either side.

Although fireplaces may not get used often here in Dallas, now is the time of year when people are grateful to have them. If you’d love to include a fireplace in your dream home but find all the different options dizzying, consider connecting with an interior designer. An interior designer present options for you and add the finishing touches to your mantel after the house is built.

Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers, a registered interior designer (RID) and member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), leads Chambers Interiors and Associates. Her colleague Caitlin Crowley helped edit this column. Find more design advice at chambersinteriors.com/blog

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