When it comes to electric fireplaces, there are two distinct styles: traditional and modern. A traditional electric fireplace is generally more square in shape, and features logs, possibly with a grate. Sizes tend to be smaller than with modern fireplaces. A modern electric fireplace is generally long and linear in shape, and features loose media such as crystals, driftwood, and stones. There are also electric fireplaces that slightly overlap these categories. Traditional inserts may offer crystals or loose media, rather than logs on a grate. Modern fireplaces may offer full-size logs or a taller viewing area. With so many options, we are often asked ‘What is the best electric fireplace for me?’ Below, we have a few tips for narrowing it down.

What is the best electric fireplace if I’m putting a TV above the fireplace?

Many living and family rooms are set up in such a way that the TV must be above the fireplace, in order for both to be enjoyed simultaneously. Our advice is always to balance the size of the TV with the size of the fireplace below, for optimal balance in the design. TVs are quite tall for their width, compared to many electric fireplaces. There’s an important distinction to remember when comparing the width of the TV with the width of an electric fireplace: TVs are measured on the diagonal, whereas fireplace width is measured straight across. So, a 55-inch TV is actually 46 – 48 inches from left to right, while a 55-inch fireplace is actually very close to 55-inches from left to right.

Traditional electric fireplaces generally range in width from 26-inches to 42-inches. Like TVs, traditional fireplaces usually get taller as they get wider. Modern linear electric fireplaces generally range in width from 34-inches to 100-inches, and do not get taller as they get wider. Obviously, there is a lot more flexibility in width with a modern electric fireplace. Still confused? Here is a size guide for matching the most popular TV sizes to the most common electric fireplace sizes:

  • 50-inch TV (Actual width 42 – 43 inches) = 42-inch to 50-inch fireplace (minimum width)
  • 55-inch TV (actual width 46 – 48 inches) = 50-inch to 55-inch fireplace (minimum width)
  • 65-inch TV (actual width 56 – 58 inches) = 60-inch to 65-inch fireplace (minimum width)
  • 75-inch TV (actual width 66 – 68 inches) = 70-inch to 74-inch fireplace (minimum width)

Note that you can always choose to go even wider with the electric fireplace, to better balance the greater height of the TV above. However, to go smaller than we suggest is to have a top-heavy appearance when you look at the wall. A balanced design looks like a square or a triangle standing on its base. An unbalanced design looks like a triangle standing on its tip, ready to fall over!

Based on our size table above, some larger traditional electric fireplaces may work well to balance smaller TV sizes. However, once your TV size goes above 50 inches, it becomes difficult to balance the TV size with a traditional fireplace, and a modern linear electric fireplace will work better. If you are really attached to an electric fireplace that is smaller than your TV, you can always add other design elements to help visually enlarge the fireplace area, such as a mantel ledge or a striking tile surround.

Dimplex RBF30
A custom wall unit with Dimplex Revillusion RBF30 in a condo with traditional style

What is the best electric fireplace for me if my room is traditional in style?

It may seem obvious that a traditional room calls for a traditional electric fireplace. However, because there is overlap among traditional and modern fireplaces, you can sometimes bend the rules of style. A very traditional room can benefit from the contrast of a more modern electric fireplace, and a very modern room could benefit from the warmth of a traditional electric fireplace. You can also play with the media options inside many electric fireplaces, allowing you to put crystals or stones in a traditional fireplace, or adding logs to a linear fireplace. In fact, many of us live with a more transitional style, where we blend traditional and modern elements.


Dimplex XLF74 modern linear electric fireplace in a transitional condo

What is the best electric fireplace for me if my room is modern in style?

As we’ve already noted, rules are made to be bent or broken when it comes to interior design. If your taste leans to modern design, there are lots of modern linear electric fireplaces available. However, there’s an argument to be made that a traditional fireplace will never go out of style; after all, it’s based on a wood-burning fire, which is thousands of years old. Sometimes, it’s the wallcoverings or millwork design around the fireplace that determines whether the fireplace design is traditional or modern, regardless of the style of the electric fireplace. So, if you are drawn to a more traditional electric fireplace, you can make it fit into a modern interior with careful attention to the other design elements.


Dimplex RBF30
Dimplex RBF30 with birch logs, which do not light up from within, in a transitional space.

What is the best electric fireplace for me if I prefer logs that light up like a wood-burning fire?

At this time, inner-glow logs are unique to modern electric fireplaces. There simply isn’t enough space in most slim linear electric fires to allow for logs that have LED lights inside. If you really love the look of logs that appear to be glowing from the fire, you will likely have to opt for a traditional electric fireplace. Please note that just because there are logs in a grate, those logs don’t necessarily light up; you need to confirm this in the list of features or the installation manual.

What is the best electric fireplace for me if I want to minimize the depth that protrudes into my room?

Generally speaking, traditional electric fireplaces are deeper than modern linear electric fireplaces. Traditional electric inserts range in depth from 7 to 16 inches, unless they fall into a very small group of extra-slim inserts that fit into 4 inches of depth. Modern linear electric fireplaces range in depth from 6 to 12 inches, unless they fall into a growing group of extra-slim fireplaces that fit into 4 inches of depth. So, while it is possible to find a traditional electric fireplace that is only 4-inches deep, the options are extremely limited. There are many more modern linear electric fireplaces that are 4 to 6 inches deep.

Ultimately, when deciding whether to install a traditional or modern electric fireplace, one of the above considerations will take priority, and that will guide you to the right fireplace for you.

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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