Designing a Traditional Fireplace

By Shannon C , last updated September 14, 2011

When you are interested in designing a traditional fireplace, the best place to begin is with a thorough understanding of all the elements you should consider in your new fireplace design. With a traditional fireplace, you can provide your family and friends with hours of warm, cozy enjoyment, whiling away the cold winter days laughing and talking or watching a good movie by the fireplace. A traditional fireplace design can complement the surrounding decor, add resale value to your home, and bring a room's design together around the central theme of the traditional fireplace hearth. Learn more from experts about what to consider when designing a traditional fireplace and use the ideas that work best for your needs.

The Purpose of the Traditional Fireplace

The traditional fireplace has both a stylistic and a functional purpose. For style purposes, you will want to design a traditional fireplace with stone, bricking, and accents that complement your existing decor. For function purposes, you will want to think through issues like how to keep nesting birds and bugs out of your chimney, how to cut down on waste and toxins by considering energy efficient or alternative fireplace designs. There are several parts to a traditional fireplace, including the hearth, the mantel, the chimney, the foundation, the grate, and the crown, as well as the different functional pieces such as the ash dump door, the spark arrestor, the damper, flue, and throat, and the cleanout door.

Designing a Traditional Fireplace

A traditional fireplace can be a lot of work when you factor in having to regularly clean and maintain after burning real or synthetic logs. Synthetic logs will cause less mess but may emit toxins your family does not want in your home. The important thing when designing a traditional fireplace is to focus on the effect you want for it to have on your overall room theme and decor. There are many routes to home even if you don't want the hassle of maintaining a real working fireplace. So if you decide that you want the look and feel of a traditional fireplace but do not want the hassle of cleaning up after a real-wood fireplace, you may opt for an electric simulated fireplace or a fireplace facade with burning candles instead of a real working fireplace.

When it comes to choosing materials for the modern traditional fireplace, there is no need to adhere strictly to the traditional stone and concrete masonry a traditional fireplace of years past would have required. You can use marble or other stone, slate and dark wood, glass tiles or ceramic or limestone tiling, painted bricking, or even carved wood with a traditional black wrought iron front grate and traditional fireplace implement stand beside it. Your fireplace can be front- or side-facing, large or small, and can skip the hearth if space or decor does not permit. You can even use paint and plaster to create the look of a traditional stone and brick fireplace without the expense and labor of installing a full-on traditional fireplace.

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