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Modern fireplace ideas are a reminder that no matter what material possessions you have in the 21st century, warmth is one of those primal requirements that all of us instinctively crave.


But if you have a new-build property or apartment, the architecture of your home may not suit the classic fireplace ideas we think of, with chestnuts roasting or marshmallows roasting.


Contrary to the traditional furnaces we've become familiar to, these stylish stoves have evolved in design and functionality.

MODERN FIREPLACE IDEAS FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT

These new-age ideas have a lot of tricks up their sleeve. Some are eco-friendlier than older models, others camouflage themselves into contemporary interiors - and many, quite literally, look out-of-this-world with their avant-garde aesthetics.

1. CREATE AN APPETIZING DINING ROOM SPACE


Whether you're warming the cockles in winter with a big bowl of stew, or sipping on something sweet or strong, incorporating a fireplace or stove into your dining room ideas is a tasteful option.


Take inspiration from this dining room with a classic Victorian fireplace with marble surround and mantel. Add low-lit statement lighting and candles, creating a warm and intimate atmosphere. Incorporate velvet chairs for a soft tactile touch.

2. OFFER A WARM ENTRYWAY FIREPLACE


Whether you've come in from the cold, or are inviting guests round for the first time, nothing says 'welcome' like bit of warmth to hug and envelop you from the contrasting conditions on the other side of the front door.


Installing a modern fireplace into a hallway idea can instantly make a big impression. The simplicity of this cassette-style insert fireplace is striking, when paired with the plush patterned carpet and marble surround.


Make the most of the space with a large, black-framed mirror that perfectly ties in with the fire below. When guests come over to check their appearance, they'll inevitably benefit from the temperature of the fire below - whether they want to dry off from the rain, or warm frostbitten hands.

3. CHOOSE A 'PLUG AND PLAY' DESIGN FOR APARTMENTS


This modern fireplace idea looks so chic in this white living room - don't you agree? And popping it inside the wall was a breeze as one expert comments:


'For those who live in apartments, tiny houses, or high rise condos, electric fireplaces are a great option as they can be installed where other hearth products cannot,' says Lauren Piandes, marketing assistant at Massachusetts-based, Electric Modern.


'Installation is a breeze with plug-and-play capabilities, ultimately saving costs on installation and venting. Simply find out outlet and voila!'


Budget-friendly accessories such as a Berber-style rug and grey LVT flooring elevate an otherwise plain space adding instant coziness.



Types of Gas Fireplace Inserts

Gas fireplace inserts can be divided into several types according to how they are vented. They can also be separated by their gas use: either natural gas or propane.

The majority of gas fireplace inserts are designed for natural gas, but not every location has availability. The solution is a propane fireplace insert (also called a Liquid Petroleum Gas or LPG fireplace insert). Propane actually burns hotter than natural gas, but it’s more expensive and needs to come in bottles or a bulk tank. Natural gas is piped directly to your home, so it is a cheaper and more convenient option.

In fact, the majority of gas fireplace inserts that can use propane are called dual-fuel. They are primarily manufactured to use natural gas but are also compatible with propane or come with a conversion kit if needed at the time of installation.


Fireplace Inserts vs. Traditional Fireplaces

While traditional fireplaces have undeniable charm, there are many reasons to upgrade to a fireplace insert. Although they look attractive, open fires are remarkably inefficient and a huge amount of energy is wasted as the heat goes up the chimney instead of into the room. Soot and smoke can cause staining and ash has to be cleaned up regularly. Removing hot ash is a fire hazard.

Fireplace inserts provide an enclosed combustion chamber with a heat efficiency rating of between 70 percent and 99 percent. That compares with 5 percent to 10 percent for a traditional fire. This means more of the heat generated warms the room, and bills are reduced. A gas fireplace insert is also very easy to keep clean.


Vented vs. Vent-Free

While gas insert fireplaces are usually divided into vented or vent-free, there are actually two types of vented models: natural vent (also called B-vent) or direct vent. Natural vent fireplaces use an existing chimney and thus are a convenient replacement for traditional fireplaces. However, the majority of these are open, rather than closed inserts, and are less efficient. A direct vent is more common and can vent horizontally as well as vertically. As a result, they are ideal where there is no existing fireplace.

Vented systems must vent to the outside, which can be impractical. A vent-free insert, also known as a ventless gas fireplace insert, solves the problem. They are easier to install and more efficient (because no heat is lost through the vent). However, they do release potentially harmful carbon monoxide into the room. To ensure they are safe, a device called an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) is fitted. This shuts the fire down if levels become dangerous. Nevertheless, it’s important to check local building codes because some states restrict or ban their use.


Heat Efficiency and Coverage

Heat efficiency ratings of gas insert fireplaces depend on vent type. Vented models are usually between 70 percent and 85 percent efficient, while vent-free models can be up to 99 percent efficient. In terms of heating performance, the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating should be checked. This tells you the actual heat output of the fire.

Given that the usual recommendation is for 20 BTU per square foot of living space, it is a simple task to work out the coverage of a particular model. However, while this is a good general guide, some models quote lower or higher figures than the average.

An air circulation system is also a factor. Some inserts include a blower that helps push heat into the room, spreading warmth more rapidly. On other models, it may not be standard, but provision is made for one to be fitted.


Features

A variety of additional features make individual models more user-friendly.

  • Electronic ignition is standard, but the type varies. Some require a household supply, but both millivolt and piezoelectric are self-contained, push-button systems.

  • On some gas inserts, a thermostat can be set. The fireplace will then turn itself on and off to maintain a balanced room temperature.

  • Remote controls are available on some models. Functionality varies. Some can be used to set a thermostat, others offer variable flame control which can be set for both heat output and visual preference. Advanced models beginning to appear offer control via smartphone app or integration with home automation systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

  • Ambient lighting is another possible extra, designed to enhance the mood of the room.



House Beautiful

Fireplace mantels we’re practically made to host seasonal decor. But if you want to go completely over the top this year, there’s one part of your fireplace that’s begging to be adorned: the inside of it. HomeGoods style expert Jenny Reimold filled her fireplace with piles of presents, and the magical display is certainly worth recreating.


To prepare her gas fireplace for the look, Reimold shut off the gas line (safety first!). Anyone with a non-working fireplace already has a present-ready setup. If you have a wood-burning fireplace and want to try this out, make sure it’s cool and clean before decorating it.

For the presents, Reimold recommends using three wrapping paper patterns in the same color palette. As you place the presents, “vary the way you arrange them by turning them horizontally, vertically, and even at angles for more visual appeal,” the stylist tells House Beautiful. “Pro tip: Don’t put bows on the boxes on the bottom, because they’ll just end up squished!”


Lean into your theme even more by coordinating with your tree and mantel. “I’ll often incorporate some of the ornaments I used to decorate those on the presents as well by using twine or ribbon to secure them,” Reimold says. "This year, I also leaned into my merry metallic theme by incorporating real and faux fir from the garland and swags.”


She also considered safety (and practicality) with the ornaments: "Since I have kids, I love using shatterproof ornaments to avoid any mishaps," she reveals.


Whether you go for a more traditional, glam, or wintery aesthetic, a present-filled fireplace is sure to impress anyone who sees it—especially kids on Christmas morning!

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