If you rent an apartment or own a condo these days, there’s a good chance that space is tight. When home values are on the rise, it seems that apartments and condos have to shrink to become more affordable. That doesn’t mean that you should forego the comforts of home, like a fireplace. However, small spaces call for small fireplaces, and when it comes to apartments and condos, small electric fireplaces are the way to go. Often, electric fireplaces are the only option, as gas isn’t available in very many apartments and condos. One huge advantage of adding a small electric fireplace to a small space is that they will never overheat the room. Electric fireplaces may be operated with or without the heater, while enjoying flames all the time.

If you’d like to add a small electric fireplace to your apartment or condo, we have five pro tips to help you get the right one.

Amantii’s modern freestanding stove FS-26-922 is a great option for small spaces.

1. Match the scale of the fireplace to the size of the wall & the room

Small rooms usually have smaller wall space, and small walls call for small fireplaces. Don’t try to squeeze the biggest fireplace you can find onto a small wall. Even if the wall is large, the scale of the fireplace should match the scale of the room, or it risks being overpowering. (Conversely, don’t add a small electric fireplace to a large room, just because the wall you’ve chosen is small. A large room needs a large fireplace, and if wall space doesn’t allow it, then it’s better to go without.)

We’ve seen a lot of fireplaces in clients’ homes, so we have some thoughts on what defines ‘small’ fireplaces. With linear fireplaces, 50-inches wide is the starting point for a regular room size, and we suggest that you go wider with wider TVs and wider walls. This means that anything under 50-inches is small. In linear fireplaces, you will find 42-inch and 36-inch widths are the smallest. With traditional inserts, the starting point for a regular room size is 30-inches wide. Anything less than 30-inches would be considered small. You will find small inserts from 23 to 28 inches wide. Keep in mind that a traditional insert is usually housed in a cabinet or surround of some sort, which will add to the overall size of the finished fireplace.

2. Beware of teeny tiny fireplace cabinets

If you find an electric fireplace that has been so scaled down that it looks like it belongs in a child’s playhouse, give it a pass. We have seen tiny cabinets with ridiculously small fireplaces that don’t work in any grown-up space. It’s better to go without the cabinet and look at an electric stove or a small wall-mounted fireplace. While the extremely small scale make seem right for your room, it is out of proportion to the other furnishings and people, which makes it look out of place. Often, we choose a fireplace in a cabinet because it looks like a ‘real’ fireplace. However, when it’s the wrong scale, and you try to make it the focal point, if just won’t work. A properly sized fireplace can hold its own on the wall and looks like the center of attention.

3. Consider On-the-wall fireplaces vs. On-the-floor models

Small electric fireplaces come in both wall-mounted versions and free-standing models. A free-standing fireplace could look like a woodstove, or it might have an entire mantel cabinet. The advantage of a free-standing electric fireplace is that you can place it in front of an existing outlet, and the plug will be hidden. The disadvantage of a fireplace cabinet is that smaller ones often sacrifice realism, and larger ones may not fit in the space.

When hanging a wall-mounted electric fireplace, you need to have an electrical outlet nearby, and you will see the power cord. In some situations, you may be able to run an electrical cable through the walls, directly to the wall-mounted fireplace, and hardwire the fireplace. This way, no power cord will be visible. However, it’s not an option in most high-rise buildings, where the walls are concrete. The advantage of mounting the fireplace on the wall is that it leaves the floor space clear. This can visually make the room feel larger.

Some great examples of free-standing electric fireplaces that are not cabinets are the Amantii Lynwood stove and the Amantii Cube. The Cube may also be wall-mounted, as can the Napoleon Allure Vertical series. If you are able to size up to a 36-inch wall-mount, you may want to consider the Dimplex PLF3614-XS, which is just 3.5-inches deep and may be hung up as well as set into the wall.

4. Fireplace size doesn’t affect heat output

Virtually all electric fireplaces come with heaters. The flames may be operated with or without the heater turned on. Unlike other types of fireplaces that burn gas or wood, the size of an electric fireplace does not determine the heat output. The heat is not coming from the ‘flames’; it’s coming from a separate heating element, which is consistent from size to size within a particular series of fireplaces. This is good news, because it means that no matter how tiny your apartment or condo, you can find an electric fireplace with heat.

With a 120-volt connection, most electric fireplaces will produce 5000 BTUs of heat, enough to warm up an area of 400 square feet. There are electric fireplaces that can connect to 240 volts, in addition to 120 volts, and these units will have a higher heating capacity than electric fireplaces connected to 120 volts. While some of these dual-voltage, higher-heat units are larger in size, it’s not the size itself that determines the heat output.

Calculate the cost of your electric fireplace.

5. Small electric fireplaces don’t affect electrical requirements

All electric fireplaces connect to 120 volts. As noted above, some also connect to 240 volts. Generally speaking, a small space will not require the additional heating that would be available from a 240-volt connection. Because electric fireplaces have heaters, they should be wired as if you will be using the heater. This requires a dedicated circuit, so that the fireplace is the only appliance connected to the circuit breaker. Having a dedicated circuit breaker ensures that the heater will not trip the breaker when it’s at its maximum output. If you choose to plug your electric fireplace into an existing outlet that is on a shared circuit with other outlets, then you may find that certain heat settings will overload the circuit and the breaker will turn off.

Watch our video on electrical requirements

Stylish Fireplaces knows that adding a fireplace to your home can be challenging. With an electric fireplace and their NFI Certified Hearth Design Specialists, it’s easy to create a space you’ll love to share with family and friends. Check out all the options and connect with their experts for help to find the perfect electric fireplace for you. You’ll live stylishly ever after. 

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