There’s nothing that beats coming home to a beautiful natural flame in your fireplace. Whether it's gas fires, solid fuel fireplaces or electric fires it's a hub for homecoming and everyday life.

Especially in these colder months, the whole family will love the ambience and warmth of this focal point in the room, and your visitors will feel relaxed and at ease with the heating on. Turn off the television and pour the wine, or leave your gas fire burning gently in the background while you’re watching the latest blockbuster, and you'll find your new fireplace really is a perfect way to enhance a home.

The question is, whether to go for a vintage look or a more contemporary modern feel - what’s your preference?

How about rejuvenating the fireplace in your lounge with a new firebox. It’s an impressive contemporary look that will make your room seem like you’ve had a whole remodelling done. A firebox will ensure that you save the heat for where it's really needed, without all that valuable hot air disappearing up the chimney and escaping outside. If you like the modern look of an enclosed rectangle of flame in your wall, the fireplace insert could be a great choice.

The thing about a real flame is that you can’t really beat it. But if you’re not looking forward to clearing up the ashes or transporting the fuel to the living room, why not consider a gas fire. It has all the convenient features of a traditional fireplace without the inconvenience of lighting it or the knack of getting the flame to catch. You’ll have heat straight away with none of the waiting around.

If you’re concerned about needing additional warmth, you could have a heat exchanger fitted to boost the warmth in your home. A heat exchanger increases the temperature, which is great news if your fireplace is a main source of heat.

All those ideas count as modern. So what if your house is more classic in style and you’re looking to go for a vintage option?

Of course we all love the experience of sitting around a real life fire, with all those sounds and smells and sights. It reminds us of bonfires and childhood, and it’s so cheap to burn offcuts and logs at a price that probably undercuts the money it would cost to burn gas. The whole experience of lighting a real log fire is like putting the kettle on in the old days when the sound and the wait was all part of the pleasure. So if your family has that kind of time to spare and if you’re up for doing the work to keep a vintage fireplace clean, clear, refuelled and at its best, then perhaps your choice is made.

But if on the other hand you think that it sounds a bit too much like hard work, and you’d like the advantages of a real flame but without the inconvenience and the waiting, then a gas fire could be exactly what you’re looking for. After all, many people don’t know how to tell the difference on first glance, and when they’ve been won over by the warmth and natural ambience in your room, they’ll want one too.