When you think of an indoor fireplace, the chances are you have a particular picture in mind. Is it the open hearth of an old fashioned wood or coal-burning grate? How about a modern real flame in a contemporary flat screen setting? Here we will look at a range of indoor fireplaces so that you can get some more ideas about the kinds of design and operation you might like to add to your own home. 

But, ok. Let’s start with solid fuel. There’s nothing much to beat a stone fireplace with a few logs burning gently during the long winter season. The ambience is powerful and even the mention of it feels like a proverbial homecoming, doesn't it. There are downsides as well as upsides though. If you don’t already have that kind of fireplace in your home, it can cost a fair bit to have one installed. And once you have it, you need to stay on top of the maintenance all the time you're using it. There’s wood to order or chop and store. You’ll need to transport it whenever you want to lay a new fire. The grate will need sweeping, and those unexpected specks and sparks that can damage the furniture and mark your precious rugs.

A stove for burning solid fuel is safer than an open fire, and you won’t have so much maintenance. But there is still the cost of restocking and the importance of storing the wood in a dry place. Not everyone has that kind of room at home or time in their diary.

That’s why many people choose instead to go for a gas fire. These can look and feel like the real thing but without the hassle. You won’t have to do much more than get it maintained regularly by a professionally registered heating engineer. Gas is cost-efficient, and depending on the model you go for, the fuel efficiency can be extremely high. On the other hand, the installation, the maintenance, and the initial investment of the fireplace itself is a consideration you'll have to bear in mind.

A trendy alternative these days is the ethanol-burning fireplace. Easy to install, great for the environment, and adjustable. However, these indoor fireplaces are not as warm as other styles of fireplace, and you probably won’t be able to heat your whole home with this. You’ll also need to refill this kind of fireplace regularly.

Electric fireplaces are a great alternative where you need flexibility, portability and ease of use. They can look really convincing, and are an effective source of heat for the home. But electricity is relatively expensive, and if you need to use it a lot, gas might well be the better option. Just depends. 

If you’re just looking for ambience and gentle heat, you could try a tabletop fireplace. It’s not too expensive to buy, and it’s really easy to transfer from the garden to the conservatory or even into the lounge. But be really aware of the safety concerns. You’ll want to keep a careful eye on this type of fireplace.

Don’t wait until you’re desperately in need of a new fireplace, and then rush to the first thing that springs to mind. Start thinking about it now, so you can make the well-reasoned choice that suits your own living space.