There is nothing better during these cold days than snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket in front of the fire. And there is no better way to relax than watching the fire crackle.
In today's post we will tell you all about fireplaces, from the ideal cladding they should have, to the best way to decorate them. Take advantage of these cold days by planning the renovation of that old fireplace or by finding that perfect nook in your living room to put one. Because the fireplace is the object of desire for every home lover and it gives much more satisfaction than the work it needs to keep it clean.
The word chimney comes from the French word cheminée and its origins date back to the twelfth century. This same word comes from the Latin, caminus which means "stove", "oven" or "home". In English, we generally use the word fireplace as chimney refers to the opening on the roof through which the smoke escapes. Call it as you wish, the fireplace has been present in our lives since the Middle Ages and remains a very popular way to heat and decorate a house.
But, let's go in steps. Next, we will help you answer the four most frequently asked questions as far as fireplaces are concerned.
1. CLADDING FOR YOUR FIREPLACE: WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
As you can imagine, there are many different types of cladding for your fireplace: from the humblest made with brick or iron, to more high-end materials such as marble or bronze. Our recommendation is that you choose a resistant material that ages well over time and withstands sudden temperature changes. We love granite and stone cladding for a fireplace.
Granite fireplaces are modern and resistant. Natural stone fireplaces have a special charm, fit very well with any decorative style and are a more contemporary version of the marble fireplace. Natural white or black stone is a perfect look for your living room. Dekton by Cosentino cladding is ideal for granite or natural stone fireplaces. It has the advantage of easy installation (in slabs), versatility of formats and designs, and resistance to both heat and thaw.
2. POSSIBLE ENERGY SYSTEMS IN YOUR FIREPLACE: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
Fireplaces can be heated in different ways: wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, bioethanol fireplaces and electric fireplaces.
The wood burning fireplace is one for a lifetime. It is the one that warms the most, but it requires a chimney, space to store the firewood and you need to be careful not to set fire the house on fire! It is the one we like the most, but you have to weigh up the pros and cons, including the cleaning...
The gas fireplace works with the same gas as in the kitchen. Therefore, you need to have gas installed in the house - many new houses no longer have it - and it takes a specialised technician to install it. The cost of gas is higher than that of firewood and visually they are not of the same quality. The flames are always the same; but the crackling fire is not.
The bioethanol fireplace has the advantage of not needing a chimney, so installation is very simple. In addition, the flames are real, so we don't lose that fireplace moment. Finally, it is ecological - bioethanol comes from the fermentation of carbohydrates - and is very efficient. All these advantages make bioethanol fireplaces popular and we can often see them in mountain resorts and luxury hotels.
Lastly are electric fireplaces. These are fake fireplaces that neither give heat nor are actual fireplaces. They are used for purely decorative purposes and have the same effect as putting on a video of a fire on the TV or a computer screen… Let’s be honest, we don’t like them. So, we will just forget about those.
Any of these combustion systems for fireplaces can be clad differently. The resistant alternatives, such as the granite or natural stone cladding discussed earlier, are especially suitable for wood and gas fireplaces.
3. DIFFERENT STYLES FOR YOUR FIREPLACE: CLASSIC, RUSTIC OR MODERN
Once you are clear about your preferred cladding for your fireplace and the energy system that you are going to use, you can think about the style you want. Logically, the style of your fireplace has to be in line with that of the room where it is located.
To simplify things, we can talk about three decorative styles for your fireplace: classic, rustic or modern. If you are one of those lucky people who live in a house a hundred or more years old and enjoy a wonderful period fireplace, don’t touch it! If you want to emulate the classic style, there are specialised stores that can offer you imitation marble fireplaces in styles such as neoclassical or Louis XVI. Bear in mind though, just like everything that mimics the past, it can often be a bad copy. Our recommendation is that, unless you have a "real" classic fireplace, stay away from imitations.
Go for a rustic fireplace if you live in the countryside or if your second home is in a rural setting. For a rustic fireplace, a natural stone cladding will be perfect. Don’t forget the niches to store firewood. Clad them in the same material to give a sense of continuity and achieve an organised space.
Finally, the modern style fireplace adapts well to any space, and is perfect for city homes. It is characterised by straight and balanced lines and allows you to enhance the character of your living room, especially if you add a “luxury” fireplace cladding. You can find lots of good ideas on the Cosentino Pinterest page dedicated to fireplaces.
4. DECORATION AROUND THE FIREPLACE: HOW TO INTEGRATE IT INTO THE ROOM
Now that you have your brand-new fireplace, what’s next? It is likely that you will need to move furniture around or maybe you have doubts about how to get the most out of it. At this point, there are two approaches: turn your fireplace into the focal point of the room or don’t draw so much attention to it. The decision you make will depend on how much you love it - we can imagine a great deal, having just put it in - and on the place that it will occupy in the room.
Our recommendation is that your fireplace should be the queen of the living room and that you reorganise the decor to accommodate it. If possible, we suggest you place two symmetrical sofas facing each other, one on each side of the fireplace, and two armchairs with armrests facing the fire. This will create a welcoming space to gather around the fireplace.
Getting down to the details of what to put on the fireplace, we suggest both decorative and functional elements. Decorative elements could be a beautiful picture, a photograph or a mirror on the wall above the fireplace. If you don't put anything on the wall, place a pair of bronze candlesticks, an antique clock or a collection of candles in glass holders of different sizes on the mantelpiece.
Regarding the more functional elements - which you will definitely need if your fireplace is wood-burning - we recommend: an andiron and fireguard, set of fire tongs, a shovel and poker, and a basket for firewood. You can choose them in brass for a more classic finish or iron if your style is rustic or modern.
Ready for your fireplace moment?