The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Fireplace

Andrea Davis |

Fireplaces are a valuable focal piece in a home. It not only adds warmth to the space but also creates a cozy, inviting atmosphere. Family members and friends create many happy and loving memories around the fireplace in any home.

A fireplace is often the center of attention in whatever room it is in; it is an investment that can improve the value of your home if you ever think of selling it. However, if it doesn’t fit in well and sits out of place, it is not going to bring you any joy and will be a reminder of the time and effort you wasted in your investment.

If you’re about to install a new fireplace, it makes sense to think long and hard about what exactly to order. Don’t panic; however, we have got you covered in this guide. In addition, if you want to learn more about trendy new fireplaces, you may do a quick search and see for yourself. You have so many options to choose from.

First Things First – Factors to Consider

Before you get into the nitty-gritty details of what material to choose, and what type of fuel you prefer, here are three essential factors that should help guide your expectations:


A fireplace’s durability depends on the materials used in its construction, the quality of its components, and how the homeowners take care of it. A traditional brick fireplace can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. 

Not all fireplaces are made equal. Some are made of materials like marble or stone and are exceptionally fire and water-resistant. Steel and high-quality cast iron will last many years and may even outlive you. You can expect these to last for decades but perhaps cost a bit more upfront. 

The Overall Theme of your Home

Unless your new fireplace will be going into a brand-new home, you probably already have a pre-determined theme to your interior décor. You should stick with this when deciding what type of material to use for your fireplace. 

For example, cast iron and marble fit in nicely with modern, stylish décor whereas wood and stone may fit in better with rustic design. Now that you know what factors to keep in mind, read on to learn what options you have.

It’s essential to choose one that would complement your current design aesthetic. If you’re unsure about this, it’s best to consult an expert, as this is a considerable investment that’s hard to replace. In addition, the size of the fireplace can affect the overall theme of the space. Measure the size and see if it will overwhelm your space. Similarly, where you’ll place it can maximize its functionality and overall impact in a room.

Antique Vs Reproduction? What are the Differences?

An antique fireplace is an authentic fireplace that has survived through decades and sometimes, centuries of use, has been refurbished and made safe for modern living. Depending on what design theme you are shooting for, antique fireplaces can be a great addition. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are reproduction fireplaces. These are generally modern fireplaces that mimic the stylistic qualities of antique fireplaces and have become a common option since, naturally, antique fireplaces are in short supply.

When deciding which to go with, the price will likely be the main differentiator, as antique fireplaces are considerably more expensive due to their relative scarcity. 

What Type of Fireplace to Choose?

Generally, there are four common types of fireplaces, and these are segmented based on the type of fuel that they burn. In choosing one, factors to consider may include environmental impact, running costs, smoke and odors, and other factors. Each type of fireplace is briefly considered below:


These are the most traditional types of fireplaces, as wood has been the traditional source of fuel for centuries—possibly since the very first fireplace was invented. Wood-burning fireplaces are loved for their rustic feel, but they are harder to maintain as soot can gather in the chimney, and of course, smoke emission will be a genuine environmental concern. Firewood is generally cheap, however, so that is a bonus.


A more modern invention, ethanol fireplaces, and bio ethanol fire pits are much more about aesthetics than they are about heat since ethanol does not produce a lot of it. Ethanol is safe and clean burning. Ethanol fireplaces do not need flues or chimneys for ventilation, so they can be installed in a wider variety of living spaces.


Gas (propane) is a popular choice because it does not produce inconvenient by-products such as smoke or soot. Gas is, however, the more expensive choice, and may require a complex installation process.


Electric fireplaces are becoming increasingly common, especially in urban areas. They’re easy to install, relatively affordable, and effective at providing heat. They offer a beautiful look while being much safer to use than other more traditional types of fuels.

Which Fireplace mantle is Best?

Now that you understand what the various types of fireplaces are, you also need to know what kind of mantle to choose. These range from various types of rock and stones to cast iron, and so much more. Here is how four of the most common fireplace materials measure up against the competition. 


Wood is perhaps the most traditional of sources and continues to be popularly used today, partly because it is the generally more affordable option. In terms of design, wood can be used in different ways but is most strongly associated with rustic design.


  • Affordable
  • Great with rustic themes


In many ways, marble is the opposite of wood. It is generally more costly, more durable, and compatible with modernistic design as opposed to the rustic design. If you’re thinking of creating a luxurious feel, then marble is certainly one of the materials to consider.


  • Looks great
  • Easy to clean
  • Extremely durable 
  • Fire resistant


Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is commonly used in creating fireplace surrounds. It is generally soft but relatively durable and highly resistant to fire and water. 


  • Beautiful
  • Durable

Cast Iron

Cast iron is molten iron alloy poured into a mold and allowed to cool off. This material is a popular choice for its elegant look and extreme durability. 


  • Beautiful
  • Durable

As you probably have come to realize, each type of material has its advantages, and all of them will look great depending on how you use them. If you’re going to get a new fireplace, consider all the possibilities discussed here, and hopefully, you will be able to find the perfect one.

Comments 2
  1. It’s good to know that a wood-burning fireplace is an affordable choice since wood is generally cheap, plus it’s an excellent choice for homes with rustic themes. My husband and I plan to have a vacation cabin home constructed soon. If we continue with our plan, I’ll contact a chimney service that can install a wood-burning fireplace. Thank you!

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