Theres nothing quite like a warm fire to make a room seem cosy and inviting, the perfect place to curl up on cold winter evenings.
But when the fire isnt lit, its still important for the fireplace to look good, and to be a central feature for the whole room.
Thats why getting the right fireplace surround is important but there are lots of factors to consider. Budget, maintenance and style are just three of the things you will need to take into account.
A wooden fireplace can look either rustic or sophisticated, depending on the design and the type of finish applied.
There are two types of wooden fireplace on the market: either solid timber or a wooden base which is either covered with a wood veneer or painted. The former tends to be at the higher end of the price range and will be a more unique product; each piece of timber will have its own grain, knots and other natural features so no two fireplaces will ever look the same. Wooden fireplaces which have a veneer will be more uniform which can be helpful if you are ordering a design and want to know exactly what it will look like.
Wooden surrounds come in a range of finishes including polished, stained, varnished and waxed. They may also be available untreated so they can be customised by the buyer.
Not all types of wooden fireplace are suitable for all types of fuel; wooden veneers are generally considered to be unsuitable with solid fuel fires.
Naturalstone fireplaces are one of the most popular choices because of the huge rangeof styles which can be achieved.
Thereare many different types of stone that can be used, and once again, there aredifferent finishes which can be applied to either achieve a high gloss polishedeffect, or a more natural look, better suited to cottages and other more ruralstyled properties.
Marbleis an extremely common choice and has been used in home decor in many ways forcenturies and is used to create a fireplace which is polished, glossy andelegant. Its fine to use with all types of fire and the upkeep is surprisinglyeasy. Make sure you deal with any spillages rapidly to prevent any staining ofthe stone.
Eachpiece of marble will be unique, with the veining and fossilisation which ischaracteristic of the stone itself.
Limestoneis another type of rock which is often used to create beautiful fireplaces. Incontrast to marble, its usually used to create a more matt type of finish butdoes have the same types of veining and fossilisation visible. Its a softerstone so more care needs to be taken to protect it and keep it in pristinecondition. Limestone is suitable for use with all types of fire.
Metalis one of the most long-standing types of material for a fireplace surround andcan be used in a range of types of decor, from traditional to contemporary.
Thereare many different types of metal that may be used, but cast iron is one of themost common. Polished cast iron fireplaces provide an incredibly classy look toany room, are easy to look after and are extremely durable too.
However,because of the nature of metal its important to remember that they shouldnever be exposed to water because of the risk of rust. They should always becleaned using a soft cloth and an appropriate polish, never water ordetergents.
Whatevertype of metal finish you opt for, you can be sure that your fireplace will be afocal and attractive feature in your room. All of the above types of materialare relatively easy to care for and maintain and will ensure that yourfireplace looks as good as new for many years to come.