MORE often than not a fireplace becomes a room’s focal point. Even if your room has no working chimney, you can still install a fireplace.
Be guided by the period and style of your house when choosing the design. If you are lucky enough to have an original fireplace, think long and hard before changing it. An original fireplace can be a popular selling point and removing or replacing it could decrease your home’s value.
If the original fireplace has been removed, try to find out what design was typical to the period of your home. Ask neighbours, visit a reclamation yard or look online for period styles. Chesney’s (www.chesney.co.uk) has a useful lexicon of period fireplace styles and materials.
A new fireplace will make a statement in the room, so it is better to opt for a design classic than follow a period style you hate. Having said that, do select something in keeping with the proportions of the room. An ornate Lutyens design will never look at home in a country cottage.
Take note of colours and materials. Will these dictate current and future colour schemes? Do they offer design flexibility or will they ‘fix’ your décor into a narrow style? Generally speaking, the fireplace should make a statement without overwhelming the space. And choose classical designs for traditional furnishings but simple lines to complement contemporary settings.
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