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What style of fireplace is right for your home?

By Therese Bolin

As the temperature plummets, the thought of curling up in front of a fireplace becomes incredibly appealing, but what type of fireplace is right for your home? Interior Designer, Becc Burgmann guides us through the options.

Personally, I find there is nothing more beautiful than curling up in front of a wood fire on a winter’s evening, being mesmerised by the crackling flames and sweet smell of the burning wood, but I also know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Fireplaces are a really personal choice due to the advantages and disadvantages of each option and the homeowner’s lifestyle.

The location of the fireplace also plays a significant role in the type of fireplace chosen due to the accessibility of the ‘resource’ required to fuel it. So, here are some pros and cons of each

Wood Fire

Pros:

  • The romance, relaxation and nostalgic nature that a simple wood fire can create
  • The smell of the wood
  • Provides great heat and can heat large areas
  • The natural state of calm it can create

Cons:

  • High maintenance. When in regular use, the maintenance for wood fires is very high. Think chopping wood (or buying it), stacking it outside (ensuring it doesn’t get wet), bringing ample amounts inside every day, the mess it can make around your fireplace as well as the need to regularly clean it
  • You do need good quality burning wood or it can be a pain to get started and keep burning. Not all wood burns equally
  • Lighting and getting it roaring at the end of a busy day if no one is home can get slightly tedious, especially if you don’t have any fire lighters handy and you’ve come home to a cold house

Gas

Pros:

  • Low maintenance. They aren’t messy and don’t require regular cleaning
  • Can heat a space relatively quickly
  • They have a flame, not quite that of a wood fire, but can be natural-looking
  • Relatively low running costs

Cons:

  • Dependent on if you have access to natural gas
  • It can be more expensive than electric to buy and install
  • You must use a professional to install as there are legalities around the installation and placement of units

Electric

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive to buy and easier to install units yourself
  • They aren’t messy and don’t require cleaning

Cons:

  • They don’t heat large areas well or provide much heat at all
  • Practicality. They create some ambience but aren’t effective if the purpose is to heat a space
  • The flame isn’t real, and depending on the quality, it can look unrealistic

Fireplaces are a worthwhile addition to a home and can add value, warmth and a luxurious feeling, just ensure you do your research and choose the best style for you and your lifestyle.

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