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Fireplace Surround Guide: Eight Ideas and How to Tips

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As the temperatures outside plummet, snuggling up beside a loved one or with the cat near the warm glow of a fireplace comforts the body and spirit. Fireplaces often command attention in the room, and they provide an excellent focal point when done well. Over the winter months, a fireplace surround turns into an area of comfort. National Statistics report one-third of Americans prefer the warm heat and comfort of a wood burning fireplace to other heating methods.

Choosing a Fireplace Surround Guide: Top 8 Tips for a Comfortable Night Beside the Fire

Tip #1: Select the Right Style of Fireplace Surround and Suites

Before you choose a fireplace surround, pay special attention to the style and vibe you want to create in the room. For those planning to add a fireplace surround in a more traditional room styling, they should focus on a more classic design. When you add the surround or mantle, the room will make a big statement. You can choose between a stone mantel or a hearth combination. You have an endless number of possibilities.

Tip #2: Be Careful of a Wood Mantel Fireplace

a white wood mantel fireplace

If you decide to build a wood mantel fireplace, you may want to first check with your local fire department and the building code officials. This lets you learn about how close you can place combustible materials to the opening of the firebox. You want to explore all your options when deciding on a mantel.

On the other hand, if you choose to buy an electric fireplace, you will not have to worry about placing a wood mantel anywhere near it. Also, an electric fireplace is a lot safer for your home, especially if you have kids.

For a solid wood fireplace, you can follow the “Clearance to Combustibles” guidelines written by the National Fire Protection Agency. These guidelines follow the majority of localities and what most fireplace manufacturers recommend. Always check, however, to ensure you comply with the local laws based on your specific model.

Tip #3: A Wood Fireplace Surround

Truly classic looking mantels will employ wood in some way. A wood fireplace surround looks more rustic in style, which made it a top choice among many home improvement enthusiasts. For the best wood mantel, you will take pieces from fine heirloom furniture. This means beautifully stained or made of hardwood or hand-rubbed finish. The wood might look plain or have paneling and molding. With lower-grade hardwood and softwood, you can paint the wood for a more quaint appearance.

Tip #4: Rock and Stone – the Timeless Appeal

a fireplace with a stone and rock surround

Rock and stone fireplace surrounds emit a timeless vibe throughout the room, and they incorporate indestructible materials for the facings and mantels. If you choose natural stone, understand you will have to hire a stonemason to construct the fireplace on site. As an alternative, you could pick cultured stone where you still have the appearance of natural rock, but it weighs one-quarter the weight of natural stone.

For those home improvement enthusiasts who like neither the rustic nor the natural look, take a glance at a custom stone, marble, limestone, slate or granite. It looks elegant and adds a sophisticated vibe to the room. Keep in mind, however, that it will cost more than some of the other options. If you want a less expensive choice, the least costly alternative will be an imported and machine-carved marble mantel.

Meanwhile, the hand-carved mantel looks fancy and has become a choice of fine luxury. If you choose cast stone, it replicates what hand-cut limestone looks like. A cast limestone mantel consists of crushed limestone, and it costs less than other types of cast stone.

Tip #5: Pick Brick – Your Traditional Fireplace

someone's legs by the fireplace

While brick has long been the traditional approach to fireplaces, you can customize your fireplace for a variety of styles. A lot of the appearance depends on the brick color and the pattern chosen to lay. Bricks weigh more, which provide the additional advantage of structural support. The advantage of a brick fireplace is how you can improve an existing one easily with eight dollars and five hours of your time. A fireplace surround improvement with brick can be as simple as painting with a new color.

Tip #6: Use Mirrors for Your Fireplace

Mirrors near the fireplace draw attention to the space below, above and in front of the fireplace. When you add a family portrait above the mantel, it fills in the empty space and makes the room feel more like home. Mirrors have often been chosen because you can buy them in a variety of sizes based on need.

You can also make the mirror reflect and enhance the area around the fireplace. For example, you might have the mirror reflect a hanging chandelier to improve the room’s elegance.

Tip #7: Minimize the Space

Many times we attempt to accessorize our fireplaces, and this can be overkill. Home improvement enthusiasts who chose a modern design may not need to force the excessive decor. Sometimes the design can stand on its own. You could, for example, let your furniture add the decorative touch. Let’s take a chair with flowers added above the mantel. It gives the fireplace a more minimalist touch and creates the perfect romantic setting.

Tip #8: How to Make the Fireplace Surround Look Larger

While wall mounted fireplaces may not look as large as a floor standing fireplace, you can still make it look larger even in a small room. If you want to do this, pick out the shortest wall for your location. Once you have done this, mount the fireplace right in the middle of the wall to make it command more attention and look larger than the reality of it.

Bottom Line

For those who have never built a fireplace, having a few tips on hand ensures you build the fireplace you truly want. Because fireplaces often become the focal point of any room, you want to do what you can to make them glisten with beauty. Imagine a romantic night with music and wine near the fireplace with your spouse.

For a long time, fireplaces have added value to homes. In fact, according to a survey with over 100 real estate agents, fireplaces have remained a hot commodity that potential home buyers put value on when considering a home.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


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