Sometimes you need to make changes to your home to improve its layout or appeal. They might be sizable changes, like installing a fireplace, or they might be small changes, like choosing a new fireplace cover. Regardless, it is always essential to do plenty of research before tackling a home renovation.

No matter how diligently you plan, there will always be surprises that pop up throughout the process. For instance, a supply delivery might be late, workers might get sick, the weather may delay outside projects.

Some issues are less complicated to address than others. It is easy to switch around design elements like fireplace screens or paintings at the last minute if you change your mind. If you change your mind about the location of a fireplace or chimney brick color, those are more difficult to adjust after the fact.

Here are some tips for choosing a fireplace to fit your renovation.

Legend Fireplace Door

Legend Fireplace Door

Gas Versus Wood-Burning

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you want a gas fireplace or a wood-burning fireplace. They both have distinct advantages.

Gas fireplaces are more convenient to install in more locations because they don’t require a chimney to operate. All you need is a vent to an external wall or through the roof for the exhaust. These days, you can even opt for a ventless gas fireplace that doesn’t require venting of any kind.

Gas is a cleaner fuel source than wood, so it is better for the environment or people with allergies or asthma. But wood is not difficult to get and you don’t have to fuss with installing gas lines with a wood-burning fireplace.

One of the best things about gas fireplaces is that they can be turned on with the push of a button. A wood-burning fireplace takes time and effort to get started. Then again, the ambiance of a classic wood fire can’t be replicated.

There is neither a right nor a wrong choice here. Consider the pros and cons of both before deciding which fuel type is the best fit for your renovation.

Custom Shadow Fireplace Door

Custom Shadow Fireplace Door for Corner Fireplace

Fireplace Orientation

The next thing to consider is how you want your fireplace oriented. The most traditional style is having the fireplace built into the wall, but there are alternatives available.

The built-in style is the most common. It is also referred to as an open-hearth fireplace. Built-in and open-hearth styles are both variations of fireplace design that is incorporated into the wall of a room. The open-hearth is a large, open area typically made of brick or stone on which to burn wood. But you can easily add an insert to convert the fireplace to gas. The built-in fireplace is an insert that slides into a masonry opening in the wall. Inserts are simple to maintain and cleaner than an open-hearth style fireplace. They can be wood-burning or gas.

You could also choose to go with a two-sided fireplace. These are open on either side and make excellent room dividers because people can enjoy them from both sides. They are most commonly gas because they typically aren’t designed for use with a chimney.

Another option is a tabletop fireplace. These are best suited for outdoor spaces since they are not as wholly contained and pose more of a safety hazard inside than traditional fireplaces. They can be gas or wood, whichever you prefer.

Meyda Tiffany Iris Fireplace Screen

Meyda Tiffany Iris Fireplace Screen

Design Materials

Of course, you’ll need to factor design materials into your renovation considerations. There are numerous materials for building a fireplace and plenty of different visual looks to choose. The one thing they all have in common is that they are safe for holding high temperatures.

Brick and stone are traditional fireplace options. You can go with a symmetrical layout by using blocks in a uniform size and color. Stones of different shapes and colors will give you a more natural and casual look. If modern is more your style, there are metal and glass possibilities that provide a sleek, urban feel.

If you are choosing the built-in fireplace, then you’ll most likely be adding a mantel as well. These come with even more choices of materials since mantels are not directly in the fire. They do not need to meet the same high heat requirement. Wood is a classic choice. Marble or stone adds a touch of luxury. You can even find mantels made from seashells or plastic resin sculpted into funky shapes. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to mantel designs.

Finishing Touches

We can’t forget about the details that complete the look and tie the fireplace to the rest of the room. There are accessories specific to wood-burning fireplaces–andirons, cleaning tools, fireplace screens and wood storage containers.

You’ll also need to decide what to place above the mantel, such as a piece of artwork, family photographs, a wreath or a vintage bar sign. It doesn't matter what interior design look you are going for with your renovation. Follow these tips for things to consider and you’ll be able to find the right fireplace to suit your needs and taste.