Fireplace accessories

Fireplace screens, doors, grates, tool sets, covers — the list of fireplace accessories is as long as the list of different kinds of fireplaces themselves. They also provide new options for fireplace decorating ideas. Electric fireplaces require the fewest tools, while wood-burning fireplaces need to have the most, but even electric and gas fireplaces benefit from accessories. Before you buy a glass door or a poker to add to the fireplace tools, check out our list of fireplace accessories and carefully consider your needs your needs.

Fireplace glass door

A fireplace glass door is both practical and attractive. (Photo by Katelin Kinney)

Fireplace screens and doors

Fireplace screens provide an important safety feature. You should take precautions with any open flame, but fireplace doors, screens and covers are particularly needed with wood-burning fireplaces because wood can pop and fizzle unexpectedly, projecting red-hot sparks and embers several feet out into living areas.

Fireplace Screens: Fireplace screens are the most affordable option, and many people prefer screens because they do not block the heat. Screens will deflect most flying sparks, especially the larger embers that could start fires or burn a hole in your rug, but they are not a perfect barrier.

Screens range in price from $50 to $200, depending on the style and design.

Fireplace glass doors: Glass doors are the most effective safety barrier because when fully closed, they virtually eliminate the risk of flying sparks. The view of the fire is unobstructed, but doors do block some of the heat. They also reduce the loss of room heat through the chimney.

Glass doors can be purchased in a pre-fabricated design or they can be customized for your fireplace. Retail prices generally range from $200 to $350, while customized versions tend to be $300 to $500. When buying a fireplace door from a store, be sure to measure your fireplace opening first because dimensions can vary.

Iron fireplace tools

Fireplace tools serve both a decorative and practical purpose. (Photo by Brandon Smith)

Fireplace tools

Homeowners need the right fireplace tools, whether tending a live fire or adjusting an electric one.

For wood-burning fireplaces, the fireplace tools are called fire irons, and although they’re not necessary for gas fireplaces, many homeowners purchase a set of fire irons simply to achieve the classic look. A set typically includes:

• A poker to stir up the coals and push around logs

• Tongs to pick up and move hot logs

• A shovel to scoop up ashes while cleaning the fireplace

• A brush to sweep up ashes, and tough enough not to melt from heat

These are traditionally made of brass, but the cheaper sets are usually brass-plated steel. Dark iron tool sets have become popular lately, as the flat black finish fits better with modern décor. Depending on the style and quality, a set can range from $80 to more than $500, with most averaging about $150.

Match the fireplace tools to the ash bucket, and irons or grate that hold the wood inside the fireplace. You might also need a wood holder to keep your fuel stocked up and bellows to feed the fire. These pieces are usually sold separately.

Also, some homeowners place a decorative sheet of cast iron, called a “fireback,” near the back wall of the fireplace. This keeps the fireplace wall from discoloration and reflects heat into the home.

Fireplace screen

A fireplace screen protects against ashes without sacrificing heat. (Photo by Summer Galyan)

Fireplace decorating trends

A fireplace should be the dominant feature in a room, if not the focal point. Even if the fireplace is out of commission, many homeowners want to keep it because of the classic feel it adds to a room.

While many decorating options exist, one of the most popular looks is a painted white mantel. Often, a hearth of either mortared-together stone or sheets of natural rock will compliment the mantel. This adds a certain amount of texture to the sleek, flat paint.

Another way to add character is through bold-colored vases, picture frames and tchotchkes that mean something to you on the fireplace mantel shelf. But keep it clean, not cluttered. The fireplace should work in concert with the other décor to tell your story. Photos of your family or items that reflect your interests make easy go-to decorating options.

With natural gas fireplaces, homeowners often choose glass fire beads or crushed glass crystals, rather than fake logs, for a more contemporary look.

Wood fireplace mantel

Fireplace mantels provide unique decorating ideas. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List members Rob and Gina K. of Alexandria, Ind.)

Decorating fake fireplaces

Whether it's non-functional because of a sealed-up chimney or someone installed a faux fireplace for decorative purposes, you can improve your home's aesthetics with these fireplace decorating ideas:

Place a painting against the back wall of the faux fireplace.

Fill the fireplace with candles of varying sizes.

Set a bust or statue you would normally set on the mantel shelf inside the fireplace.

Install bookshelves and wall off the rest.

The most important thing when coming up with fireplace ideas is that the fireplace matches your style. If your home is more arts and crafts, don’t force the fireplace to look ultra-modern. Instead, try to blend the elements you like — contemporary stone, tile, marble slabs or black metal hardware — with the stained wood trim and other elements that fit your style.

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