Many people opt to heat their main living space with an open fire. While radiators may be functional and underfloor heating convenient, they can’t really be described as ‘welcoming’.

There is something so attractive about the idea of huddling around an open fire or stove that beats even the highest tech heating solutions hands down. As winter approaches, now might be a good time to open up an existing fireplace in your home or even think about installing one from scratch.

While many owners of period properties have already reinstated their fireplaces, there is a real trend among those in smarter postcodes to remove the chimney breasts from either end of a knocked-through reception space and put in one large fireplace in the middle, thereby creating a real wow factor.

That being said, shape or size is largely irrelevant when it comes to fireplaces - what is priceless is the atmosphere that a crackling open fire or stove creates. The fashion for minimalist ‘hole in the wall’ fires with artificial logs or pebbles has died a death; today, most homeowners are looking for authenticity, which means a fire that makes an architectural statement. The best way to judge whether your fireplace or stove has hit the right note is by asking yourself whether it is an attractive feature in a room even when it is not lit.
 
Current trends lean towards clean lines with strong accents. To achieve this, you will need to think outside the box. If you live in a Victorian terrace, there is no longer an unwritten rule that says your fire surround must match this historical period; instead, why not mix things up a little by putting in a Georgian or Regency piece that will really make a statement?

As far as in-vogue materials are concerned, many home stylists are advocating limestone or marble, both of which are a lot more affordable than they were even five years ago. Wood, particularly pine finishes, look dated compared with the super-sleek effect of ; in addition, wood does not wear as well.

Some us may have the urge to source an antique fireplace surround by trailing through reclamation yards. While it is true that you may find a bargain in this way, in most cases you won’t be privy to the full provenance and this may not be the best way to proceed in terms of safety. Buying new from a reputable dealer is the best option in most cases.