There is nothing that warms the body and soul more than snuggling up in front a fireplace on a cold winter’s day.
Whether your personal taste runs to shabby chic or you’re more the country style interior design type, a fireplace always works.
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A real fire just feels warmer somehow, and watching the flames dance speaks to something deep within us. Or maybe that is just me and my primal nature.
The truth is, to provide spot heating in your home today’s modern fireplace designs are unbeatable. They’re economical to use, stunning to behold, and when proper care is taken as safe as almost any other form of heat.
That in my book is a combination that is hard to beat, and one well worth taking the time to look into.
So, let’s have a look at a little of what is available today.
Fireplace styles to stay warm and cosy this winter
If you have a smaller home to heat and enjoy the high contrast look of black iron and polished brass then the Mazona Multi Fuel Wood Burning Stove is a great little number to consider. With its very traditional four-legged design and massive exposed door hinge it will take you back to memories of grandma’s but with burn efficiency ratings of 80% with wood and 76.8% with anthracite it is a thoroughly modern design that will even give your wallet a warm and fuzzy. £179.99. Remember you will need a chimney or a wall flue to run one of these babies.
I have to admit that the Valeria Flueless Wall-hung Gas Fire is one of my personal favourites. To my mind, it almost borders on being art. A simple white face with black edge trim it resembles a picture frame displaying the art that is fire. Best of all since it burns natural gas and is flue less it can be used in almost any room of any home without having to worry about routing the exhaust or losing heat through the chimney. £407.
From minimalist to massive, architectural art is considered by many to be one of our highest art forms and considering the fact that fire has been with us longer than shag carpet, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that many architects have devoted a great deal of time to raising the lowly fire pit that our ancestors cherished to its rightful place, once again, as the centre of attention.
Looking at these beautiful fires, it would be very hard to argue that they haven’t had a great deal of success. From £5700 to £8200.
This amazing three-sided gas fireplace is a real luxury item and brings the hearth back to the centre of the home but in an unforgettable contemporary style. The three-sided fireplace can actually be enjoyed from three sides of a room. The modern dancing flames create a wonderful ambiance and with its sleek lines, a three-sided Urban fire is an ideal way to break up space and create a seamless division whilst simultaneously creating a wonderful contemporary feature. The Urban is a three sided fireplace, open gas fire but there are also options for completely glass enclosed gas fires if heat output is a priority. From £6000.
New non-fire fires are a rather special category that is deserving of special attention. The best of the breed have been developed by a company called Dimplex and you really have to see them, to believe what they have created.
What Dimplex has developed is an electric non-flame fire that truly looks real. They offer all the convenience of a traditional electric appliance with the beauty of a real fire. Their flagship is called the Opti-myst system which uses water vapour and lighting effects to create realistic smoke and flames without any of the mess or dangers associated with real open flame fires. Best of all, since the fire effect is independent of the heating unit, you can enjoy a crackling fire even when the mercury climbs into the red.
Choices, choices and more choices
As you can see from these few examples there is no end to the various styles and varieties of stoves, fireplaces, fire suits and inserts that are now on the market. They run the gambit from the ultra modern to the very traditional and finding one to suit your particular home and situation really shouldn’t be that hard. What may be more difficult is deciding what type of fire you want to enjoy and will best fit your lifestyle.
Coal and Wood fires
There is a lot to be said for the sound of a crackling wood or coal fire, but as with all things, there are tradeoffs that must be kept in mind if you opt for a wood burning fire. Since they must have a flue, they may be less efficient than other types of heat. Depending on your local, wood and coal can be expensive to a buy and you will periodically have to clean the ashes and soot from your fireplace or stove.
On the plus side, wood is a completely renewable resource, the stoves that most of us are familiar with are very safe to operate and nothing says cozy like that tiny bit of wood smoke scent they give the air.
Bioethanol fires have a special look all their own and since they don’t require a chimney of any type they are 100% efficient. They don’t produce any soot or ash and many of them are portable and can be moved from room to room as needed.
However, Bio-fuels are highly flammable and you must have a safe place to store them. This is of special concern if there are children in your home.
Natural gas fires
It can be hard to argue with the long history that natural gas has with keeping us safe and warm, and many of the latest designs go a long way towards raising these erstwhile heaters above the plain Jane appearances they once had.
If you don’t mind the idea of still being dependent on your gas supplier, they are still top performers.
Electric heaters are not going anywhere, their sheer convenience will make sure they stay with us for a very long time and many companies are trying to give us the illusion of a fire without any of the hassles that come with real fires. Sadly, though, at least in my opinion, they still come up way short in the beauty department.
The simple truth is that there is nothing that creates that cozy feeling that says home like a real fire. With the literally thousands of designs that are on the market today, there is sure to be one that matches your needs in terms of price, style and heating needs. If you are looking to update your home or just want to add a little splash of excitement to a room this winter, then have a look at installing one of the many real fire options available. You’ll be glad you did. After all, no one every curled up with a good book in front of a radiator trying to unwind after a hard day.
Image courtesy Feature image (c) paulmaguire/123RF.com.