How to Choose a Fireplace for a Contemporary Home

Many homeowners prize the fireplace because of the warmth it conveys as well as the cozy ambiance it creates. Perhaps you're worried that an old-school installation such as a fireplace won't match your contemporary house. In fact, you can easily find fireplace styles that fit the contemporary aesthetic.

As designers describe it, the contemporary style incorporates both manufactured materials such as glass and natural materials such as wood. Texture and light are characteristics of the aesthetic. Use those elements to help you choose a fireplace.

Electric or Gas Fire Box

Old-world fireplaces offered homeowners only one fuel option — wood. However, fireplace technology has come a long way from those times. Now, you have fireplaces that run on either gas or electricity. Both of them offer a more contemporary aesthetic because the flames come out symmetrical.

If you have a natural gas line anyway, consider a gas fireplace because you'll still get heating. Electric fireplaces don't offer quite as much heat, but they're a good option if you don't have a gas line.

Stone Facade

Stone is an old-school material, but it's appropriate for the contemporary fireplace anyway. As noted, the contemporary style favors texture, and natural stone gives you that in its surface.

For your contemporary stone fireplace, stay away from the rustic stacked stone or river rock facades. Look instead at the more finished stone, such as ones that are cut and applied with mortar. Consider light stones with little variegation. A light monochromatic palette offers a contemporary vibe.

Wooden Mantel

Designers use wood frequently in contemporary design. So, if you want a mantel for your fireplace, consider a wood version. The key is to choose wood that stays within the design guidelines.

The style favors clean lines. So, again, don't look at rustic models. Stay away, too, from mantels that feature a lot of trim. Look instead at the mantels that offer a minimalist profile. For the color, you can stay in the light color scheme or choose a darker wood for contrast.

Glass Accents

Because contemporary design does lean on modern elements, you do want some manufactured material incorporated into your fireplace. You might see some metal around the firebox, but consider adding some glass to the design.

The most obvious way of adding glass is with a glass front for the firebox. However, if you want more of the modern aesthetic, consider incorporating glass into the fire itself. With gas or electric fires, you can replace the faux wood insert with glass rocks. The effect of glowing glass is attractively contemporary.

Adhere to design characteristics to choose a fireplace that complements your contemporary home.