Whether you are installing a built-in fireplace and cabinetry in your room, or adding a furniture mantle with electric fireplace, there are many considerations. So where to begin?
- Size of the overall space: Many homeowners determine the size of the fireplace by the size of the wall on which they wish to install the fireplace. However, if the wall is small, but the room is large, you may end up with a fireplace that’s too small for the space. Consider the overall proportions of the space when selecting the firebox and cabinet.
- Ceiling height: This is a subset of the overall space, but it’s worth discussing separately. Furniture mantles come in heights ranging from 42” to 54”; built-in mantles are often in the higher end of this range. If you have an 8’ ceiling height, then a 42” to 43” mantle is low enough to allow you to place a piece of art or a mirror above the fireplace. If you have high ceilings, you will need to consider a taller mantle, in the 48” to 54” range, so that the fireplace will not look too short in the space.
- Placement of the TV: If you plan to hang a flat-screen TV above your fireplace, the height of the mantle is critical to comfortable TV viewing. Most people find that they are most comfortable watching TV from a seated position, if the bottom of the TV is no more than 42” to 43” off the floor. This means that your fireplace mantle needs to be this low, unless you are in a very large space, and can get farther away from the TV than 8’ to 10’. The farther away you are from the TV, the higher you can mount it, and still enjoy comfortable viewing.
- Style of your furnishings: A fireplace should complement the rest of the room, or make a bold contrasting statement. If you have elegant, ornate décor, then your mantle could reflect that. Or, you could add an ultra-contemporary wall-mounted fireplace to the room in order to make a unique statement. Likewise, a contemporary space calls out for a contemporary fireplace, but if your architecture is more ornate than your furnishings, why not add an ornate mantle to the room? In other words, anything goes, if you’re comfortable with it.
- Focal point: If the fireplace is to become a focal point for the room, be sure it can stand up to all the attention. Too small, too cheap, or too boring are not the impressions you want to make. Find a way to make the fireplace interesting, through the surrounding materials, the flame effect, or the size.
If this is all a little overwhelming, why not get professional design help to select the perfect fireplace for your room? After all, it’s an investment that you will enjoy for years to come.