Having a fireplace in the living room creates such joy and warmth for your family, right? It’s effective at keeping toes toasty and it can hold a fiery blaze for several hours. However, lately, you feel like it’s beginning to look a little blasé. Womp womp.
The good news is, there are always ways to revamp your fireplace and ensure it adequately reflects your lifestyle.
So, what are your options when it comes to spiffing up your fireplace? Here’s a look.
Operational or Not?
If you currently have a functioning fireplace, it’s important to be cognizant of any combustibles nearby.
You must maintain a safe distance between the heat of the dancing flames and any decorations, updates, or changes that are made to the fireplace. For safety’s sake, any wood trim, knick-knacks, fabrics, etc. that could be flammable, should be kept away from the fire for optimal protection.
If you live in a home with an old, non-working fireplace, accessorizing it will fall more into the ‘decorating’ category. You will not need to be concerned about objects getting too hot and igniting, since there are no dangerous flames around.
If you use your fireplace for heating purposes, or just an occasional recreational fire, odds are you already have a few accessories that help simplify the process and make your life easier. Tool sets with pokers, brooms, shovels and tongs, gloves, ash buckets, fire safety screens, fatwood fire starters, and grates are all ideal accessories for maximizing how you use and interact with your fireplace.
Updating an operational wood-burning fireplace with an EPA-certified insert has blossomed in popularity over the years. An insert not only furnishes your fireplace a new aesthetic, but it also increases efficiency ten-fold over old, open burning fireplaces.
The takeaway? If you’re planning on giving your wood fireplace a little facelift, you should seriously consider an insert as a solution. There are wood, gas, electric, and pellet inserts available.
Another area that you can update is the mantle and hearth. The mantle, often made of wood, is mounted a safe distance above the opening of the fireplace. There are numerous styles to choose from, including a variety of wood species. From the rustic barn beam or log look to more traditional and contemporary mantles, our experts are on hand to help bring your design vision to life. And, we can help with the necessary clearance requirements for mounting a new mantle on your existing fireplace. You can also select a cast concrete mantel that provide very close clearances to the top of your fireplace – and these look just like wood!
The hearth includes the space in front of the fireplace responsible for protecting the floor from unwanted embers or sparks escaping. As a best practice, get in the habit of checking your local building codes and/or manufacturer’s requirements before making any final selections. In general, however, most require a minimum of 16” or 18” in front and 8” to either side of the fireplace door opening.
We’ve said it before and it bears repeating…when it comes to clearance requirements for wood-burning equipment: more is better! If the minimum requirement is 18”, go with 24” for maximum safety. Another benefit from a two-foot-deep hearth: no more burns and chars on the flooring in front of the fireplace doors! Plus, a larger hearth makes clean-up a bit more convenient.
If your fireplace is non-operational, and you do not want to repair and/or replace it, the mantle and hearth ‘makeover’ described above are certainly attractive options to consider.
Many homeowners opt to mount a mirror above the mantle with a sconce on either side to highlight photos and mementos peppered across the ledge of their mantle. Accent lights from an adjacent wall, or fish-eye spotlights installed in the ceiling, can also be used to spotlight specific items on your mantle.
Additional Considerations When Accessorizing Your Fireplace
When it comes to enhancing the style of your non-working fireplace, there’s also the option of painting it. All you’d have to do is give it a thorough scrub down before painting the inside for a fresh, clean look.
Decorative screens are always an option when it comes to adding a nice touch to your hearth. In a non-operational fireplace, stack up cut wood on a grate (white birch looks great!) for a touch of realism, or decorate the fireplace with candles, baskets, or other items of interest.
Another option for upgrading the look of a brick fireplace is to reface it with a cultured stone. All this requires is for you to cover up the old, outdated, and dirty brick with a cultured stone product. There are dozens of options available with cultured stone and lots of color combinations. Or, if a more contemporary look is more your style, there are many tile, marble, stainless steel, and metal options available as well. This type of project is not only popular but worth the investment.
Our team has lots of experience making dream renovations happen. We’re here to help you from the beginning, as you start to look at your options, and throughout the process.