The ultimate modern fireplace would probably feature in most people’s idea of a perfect evening relaxing at home. And this is definitely the right time of year to decide on yours. We recommend you get your heating supply sorted right now, ready for the new season, so you’ll be able to look forward to all those cosy nights in, together with those you love, a glass of something wonderful, and the perfect movie. Or maybe board games, coffee, and a group of buddies. Or just your dog and a book. With the right fireplace and other props, you’ll feel like you’re in an expensive hotel every night, whatever your home situation. So keep those aspirational images in mind, and we’ll do our best to help you decide what counts as the ultimate fireplace you need for your living space.

Ok. Start with the practicalities. Where does it need to go? Do you have a chimney in that place? How about a gas supply? If not, what about an electric socket? Or is there are hearth already in place? If all you want is to start using the existing chimney and hearth to burn solid fuel, make sure you get it swept and checked by a recommended local chimney sweep first. They’ll not only clear out the flue for you, but they’ll also make sure the brickwork is in good condition. Best to have this done annually, to be on the safe side.

If you want a new gas fire, you’re going to have to budget not only for the appliance itself but for installation costs too. There are legal regulations around the fitting of gas fires, so that’s something substantial to bear in mind when you’re weighing up your options. However, the range of designs is particularly strong with gas fires, and once it’s in place, you’ll benefit from cheaper everyday running costs, especially if this is your home’s major source of heat. An annual service is probably all you’ll need.

Electric fires are great for additional heat, or where you need a degree of flexibility. You might want to get an inexpensive one as a backup if there’s a room in your home that doubles as a visitor’s bedroom on occasions, or that you use as an office or craft room. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes, without costing the earth. Plug it in, switch it on, no engineer required.

Do you need some creative ideas on the subject of fireplace surrounds? Contemporary fireplaces can go the whole spectrum from minimalist, through to a fireplace surround that’s littered with family ornaments, photos, lighting, flowers, candles and all the rest. If you’re that kind of person you enjoys having their treasures on display, you'll probably want a decent sized mantlepiece.

So there you have it. All the basics you need to know about choosing the ultimate fireplace for your home. Now’s the time to make your choice, so that your brand new fireplace is there for you as soon as the heating needs to come on. It’ll enhance your social life, increase your wellbeing, and make the dark winter nights something you can really look forward to.