Fireplaces Are Versatile & Dynamic So Embrace Them With Passion

The fireplace is one of the most exciting and interesting elements that you can work within any room. The fireplace offers a way to add drama, statement, and impact to space in a way that no other element can. The good news is that with so many different styles of fireplaces and so many ways that you can work with them, you have a rich and vibrant well to draw from no matter what style you are going for or what space you are working in.

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting ways that a fireplace can be used to create a particular look and feel to space. From inside to outside, the fireplace is a staple that should not be ignored when trying to create the perfect ambiance to any environment.


Fireplace as an Accent Item


Here we see an excellent example of how fireplaces can be a main component of the room without necessarily being the center of attention. Here the artwork leaning against the wall on the “pseudo hearth” is the main attention grabber of the space and is the fireplace is set off to the side of the conversation area. The fireplace is also set off to the corner of the dining space and to the back of the kitchen space. In all three areas the fireplace is still a highly important part of the space, and is a focal point, but in each case it is playing a rare supporting role (the massive wall art and light fixture in the dining area, and the chef’s island (unseen) in the kitchen space are given more prominence). The black of the fireplace and the narrow height of the firebox say “hey look at me, but not for too long, there are more interesting things to engage with here”. The black is picked up in all of the furnishings, and the gray patterned rug, which combines both of the spaces predominate colors takes us across the floor and right back to the fireplace again to start the interesting journey all over again.


Classic Style that is Always In Fashion

Perhaps the most classic of all traditional styles is the white brick fireplace. Popular in the Northeast and New England from the 1900’s to the late 1940’s the style migrates in the 30’s to the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest where it found an equal popularity. The white brick fireplace can be very versatile in your space no matter what decorating style you are going for. Here the large mirror mimics in a way the large opening of the firebox and stops the eye moves up the wall. The chimney panel has been finished with siding slats that play off the horizontal lines of the bricks, and a mantel has been chosen that gets into the same act, clearly providing a break from the wood and the bricks and yet, thanks to the carved mantel supports, and the chosen accessories on top of the mantel brings them both together in unity. When working with a brick fireplace, it’s important that you decide if you want the white to be a dramatic statement in a contrasting space, or a calming partner is a matching or complementary space. Both work easily well but provide for much different effect.


Indoors or Out The Fireplace Can Be a Welcoming Gathering Point

A stone fireplace can be used in almost any space with great result, and that means outdoor spaces as well. Here we see a pavilion for family gatherings under construction. The stone fireplace will act as a welcoming point on rainy days such as this, one the pavilion is finished. The stone of the fireplace is a perfect way to pay homage to the natural surroundings of the outdoors. The natural stone pavers of the patio outside of the pavilion pick up the feel of nature as well, and the selection of the stone similar to that in the area for the fireplace and chimney itself creates a sense that this fireplace and the structure around it have been here for a very long time. This is sure to be a very well loved and often used space once the project is completed, and it shows how you can incorporate a fireplace that will provide warmth, comfort, and gathering into any building project easily with a little creativity.


A Classic Look That Works Perfectly With Todays Modern Style

The glass tile fireplace was popular in the Northeast, specifically in the area of Pennsylvania, and along the Atlantic seaboard during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The glass tile fireplace found a resurgence in the late 50s in other areas of the country and as such can be found in many homes. Similarly, you may find subway tile fireplaces, highly glazed ceramic tile “faux glass tile”, and even porcelain enamel metal tiles fireplaces that were intended to recreate the look and feel of this classic pseudo-industrial icon but yet provide more variety. Glass tile fireplaces can be found in many colors, although white, amber, teal, and cream, gray, and black were the most common with the predominate choice being either white as seen here or French cream. When working with a glass tile fireplace, either a vintage one or a newly built one, it’s important that you keep things simple. The appeal of these is the beauty of the glass tiles themselves. Keep the mantle understated, and in the same style as the rest of the room. Let the fireplace be a statement piece, rather than a springboard to build the rest of the room around (otherwise you will end up with a living room that looks like a hospital waiting room from 1938.). As seen here, a glass tile fireplace makes for the perfect backdrop for a large screen monitor.


Bigger Can Be Better

Here we see an incredible example of an epic stone fireplace. This space was huge and that left the occupants feeling disconnected from it and from each other. During a remodel it was decided to incorporate this behemoth of a fireplace into the space to accomplish multiple things, first the tone brings a natural element to space which balances the ultra-modern look of the rest of the room. The same wood slats that make up the floor to the wood box to bring unity to the design and provide an alternative to a traditional mantel. Light abounds thanks to the removal of the roof and replacing it totally with plate glass skylights. The light plays off the lighter colored stone ideally to give contrast to the dark floor and keep the room centered The large firebox is perfectly in proportion to the large stone fireplace. The extra large firebox is also perfect for accommodating the oversized wood stored in the wood box. The wood is deliberately kept cut big to provide another visual interest element to space and complement the massive stones of the fireplace. All in all, this is a great example of how a large element, especially a fireplace, can bring an oversized or otherwise awkward space under control.


Small In Scale But Big in Impact

A gray stone fireplace is an ideal way to bring an interesting element into a smaller space. The gray is just dark enough to catch the eye, but not bright enough to be overwhelming to the area. Here we see it complemented by the small white cabinets (not built in by the way), and the mantle that is made from the same wood that the floor is. This gas fireplace could be easily installed in any room that you want to give an anchor point to, the chimney box was done to give the feel of a wood burning fireplace without the mess and the high cost of installation. This could also work in a condo or apartment if you have a gas fireplace vent already in place. If not, then an electric fireplace might be a good alternative to achieve the same results. Notice that the TV is actually installed in a small inset that allows full motion of the tilt and swivels mount, in this case, a motorized one, while keeping all of the cords and connections are hidden out of view. A gray stone fireplace can be a perfect addition to a room that needs a little character added to it but doesn’t have enough space to go big and dramatic.


Attention Grabber, Attention Keeper

The fireplace can be a great way to add dramatic effect and interest to any space, but when you are working with a big open space, it can be a real anchor that sets the tone of the entire room. Here we see a fireplace that gives this space a much needed central focal point. The wood paneling of the walls, the staircase, and the high rectangular chimney all want to draw the eye upwards, but the long flat heath, the relatively short height of the firebox opening, and the wood box help keep the interest down at the interaction level. The use of concrete acts as a balance to a large amount of wood, and helps to act as a buffer to the white slate floor, giving the room a unified look despite the drastically varying materials. The use of the same concrete in the lower four steps of the staircase allows the space to feel delineated from the ascension to the second floor, while the lack of handrail on the room side and the black of the rail, call back to the black enameled metal of the firebox, invites us to go ahead and climb those stairs to see what other excitement this home has to offer.


The Mantel Can Be More Than Just Photo Gallery

Fireplace mantels are more than just the place we display holiday decorations and cherished family pictures, they are also the core of the fireplaces personality. The mantel can be a matching part of the fireplace, blending in with the same materials and look, or it can be a complementary component of the fireplace, as we see here. The reclaimed ranch timber used for the mantle is the perfect complement to the cream stucco of the fireplace and the red brick of the firebox, while also playing up to the rough-hewn timber of the exposed ceiling beam. The contrast between the dark of the mantle and the lighter ceiling beam also plays out in other elements of the room where wide tone variances are used to add interest. The modern look of the angular fireplace design which is complemented by the flower arrangement in the bucket and the traditional contemporary furnishing of the room. You could also go with a fireplace mantel that is in a contrasting material, such as a glass mantel on a wood or stone fireplace or a metal mantel on a tile or brick fireplace, and get very dramatic results that would make the fireplace, the focus of the room.


Functional, Beautiful & Stylish

Who says built-in bookcases around a fireplace have to be tall, vertical structures that flank either side. Here we see a fireplace that features some interesting concepts. The gas fireplace uses a venting system that is built into the bottom of the long horizontal bookcase unit (you can see the very bottom edge at one point in the video). The bookcase comprises three levels of shelving with the top shelf providing lots of space for all items between it and the ceiling. On either side of the gas fireplace itself we see large block display shelves, but what you don’t see is that the fronts slide open to reveal hidden shelves inside as well as a storage drawer inside of each cabinet. LED spotlights located behind the two large sculptures can be switched on via controls inside the cabinets to give added ambiance and drama when desired. There are also lights located above the display shelves and behind the books of the bookcase shelves as well. The clean look of this setup makes the fire the center point of attention, but it equally shares the stage with the art and literature that are surrounding it.


The Centerpiece of an Outdoor Entertaining Zone

Outdoor fireplaces are nothing new, they have been around since the beginning of history and have been a popular part of entertaining in the United States for decades. The current trend toward making outdoors fireplaces a major part of the homescape started in the 1970’s with chimeneas and this pergola with a large fireplace pays homage to that. The neo-TexMex style is complemented by the choice of mexi-colonial furniture. A modern touch is brought into play thanks to the stainless steel appliances including the mini-fridge, wine chiller, smoker box (located behind the chairs on the other side) and the multi-function gas fireplace itself. This unit features dual inputs for fuel, which can be switched with controls located on the other side of the chimney. Natural gas from the homes service line provides fire for entertaining and warmth, but when desired, the unit can be switched over to propane (fed by a tank located inside the false chimney, to cook and rotisserie over. The black granite hearth works well with the slate tile floor of the patio, and the pergola itself, with a motorized canopy that can be closed over it for sun protection and in case of a sudden rain shower, lets the air and light in. The black granite is utilized once more in the countertop for the buffet bar over the fridge. The antique wood panels over the fireplace conceding the LED monitor, as well as the media devices connected to it and thanks to a nifty combination of shutter hinges on the doors and a set of hidden piano hinges on the frames, swing out of the way totally when opened. Weatherproof speakers are mounted on the beams of the pergola and space is finished with an antique Mexican iron light fixture that has been converted to weather friendly LED.