15. December 2015
81 percent of owners love theirs. 46 percent of Americans use theirs regularly for pure enjoyment and during social gatherings. It’s prospective homebuyers’ most desired decorative feature, and they’re willing to pay an extra $1,400 for one.
What are we talking about? Fireplaces.
Fireplaces have long been a central design element of living rooms, bedrooms, and outdoor spaces. It’s undeniable that a fireplace elevates the sophistication and ambiance of a room, and homeowners are installing them for that appeal, not just for comfort and warmth. But bricks are yesterday’s form – fireplaces have been reinvented with better materials and designs you’d never think up, but will want as soon as you see them.
So put another log on the fire and get comfortable. Let’s talk about fireplace design.
The functional design element that is glass
From the kitchen to the living room, homeowners want modern design choices, and the fireplace is no different. Modern fireplaces fitted with glass are matching the sharp angles and flat faces found in 21st century design, and they’re integrated more seamlessly than ever before.
Glass-ceramic fronting is at the forefront of fireplace design for two reasons: Its smooth, linear look fits perfectly with other modern design elements, and it’s incredibly functional. Because it radiates heat uniformly throughout a room, a glass-ceramic fronting helps maintain a closed-system fireplace’s efficiency.
But there’s more to this design story. Manufacturers are stopping glare by applying non-reflective coatings that prevent the reflection of ambient light off the glass. Printed glass designs in a wide range of colors and forms – black, red, gold – are another way that the glass fronting creates a lasting impression in the design of a room.
Not your grandmother’s fireplace
The traditional brick fireplace you grew up with is a relic of the past. Today, large blocks of solid stone and metal designs are growing in popularity, providing a new element that complements the fire. Designers are lining the inside of fireplaces with black glass-ceramic panels that both reflect the dancing flames for an engaging view into the fire and are easy to clean, too.
The shape is changing, too. Fireplaces featuring curved or bent glass fronting represent a design choice that many homeowners have never even considered. These simple shapes – semicircles, sharp 90-degree angles, and waves of glass — offer different sightlines, and more interesting views, into the fire.
Bigger, it seems, is also what homeowners want. Fireplaces are growing in size, and because closed systems with glass panels are more efficient, these fireplaces don’t have to be the energy wasters you might remember from your childhood – there’s no need to feed log after log into a fire that barely gets warm (but always remember to use good burning practices). The fireplaces being constructed today are both aesthetically pleasing and efficient – it’s the perfect match of form and function.
What fireplace design elements are on the horizon? We may learn something from hotels, restaurants, and venue space, where huge fireplaces with long glass panels are true room centerpieces. We’re also seeing fireplaces built into a home’s outer wall that are accessible both from inside a living room and out on the patio – an incredible design choice that makes having a fireplace a year-round pleasure. And European designs, such as curved glass and printed patterns, are likely to continue their creep into the North American market.
Though the forms may be changing, the innovations in indoor fireplace design have reminded us of an age-old truth – they’re centerpieces of the home that can easily be customized.
In fireplace design, more is better
Just how much do we love fireplaces? One in four homeowners plan to buy a fireplace, stove, or insert in the next year, and 40 percent of homebuyers are willing to pay more for a house with a fireplace. Closed-system fireplaces are more efficient than the fireplaces of a century ago, and they’re costing homeowners less to install, especially since many fuel options are available.
Fireplaces are no longer drafty, dark heat hogs – they’re beautiful spaces that invite us in and demand our attention. So sit down and relax by the fire, and warm up to the future of fireplace design.