Homeowners have begun straying from the traditional fireplace aesthetic. Instead, they've started preferring modern fireplaces. But what exactly makes a fireplace modern?
There's been an increase in the popularity of less traditional fireplaces and that leaves many wondering about modern fireplaces. The word "modern" in reference to a fireplace can be interpreted as many different things. There are several different categories that this can be broken down into. Predominately, the type of fireplaces and the accessories. But there are many options to look at when you're looking for modern fireplace ideas. We'll cover that and some fireplace design ideas in this article.
The word "modern" in reference to a fireplace can be interpreted as many different things.
The move to a more contemporary style follows the rising popularity of new design elements and advances in efficiency. Newer fireplaces are coming out with better technology and a variety of accessories to draw in the eye of visitors. With the latest technology available, there are also more options of where to put fireplaces. They are no longer just limited to your living room!
What Makes a Fireplace Modern?
Modern fireplaces vary from the traditional aesthetics by challenging what is expected. Some do this with clean lines, bold color choices, and minimalist ideals and make them into visually striking focal points in the home. Others build custom enclosures of unique shapes to house their hearth. A popular example of this would be an L-shaped structure, as shown in the picture below. But really, imagination and construction are the limits.
Modern fireplaces vary from the traditional aesthetics by challenging what is expected.
As previously mentioned, the type of fireplace can define it as modern. The first example of this is the linear fireplace. By design, these models feature a relatively short but long opening. These usually end up considered modern due to their predominant use of alternative media instead of ceramic or refractory logs. This media includes glass, fire art, and ceramic stones. Since they can be installed flush with a wall with a minimal border between the fireplace and the surrounding noncombustible material, these satisfy more design needs. They also lend themselves to higher installations instead of the typical low or near-floor level. An example of this would be the Napoleon Allure 50 Inch Electric Fireplace with Heater. Raised installations allow the fireplace to become part of the décor without being the anchor or focal point of the room, as is traditional with less modern hearths. Now you can design your fireplace around the room instead of the other way around!
Another type of fireplace that lends itself to contemporary design is the "clean face" fireplace. While this can include the previously discussed linear fireplaces, this specifically references models that have a more traditional rectangular opening and are typically installed closer to the floor. Models such as the Superior Merit Series 35" Top Vent Contemporary Fireplace with Fire Glass take a more modern approach by eliminating any kind of ventilation louvers, using a glass media style burner, and offering several different types of glass media.
Wall hanging fireplaces are also modern designs. Though some might consider them linears, these are distinct in they are not built into a wall. They instead rely on mounting brackets to attach to the wall's surface. This does mean that they project into the room, though rarely more than seven inches. Surrounds that wrap around hide all the components from view, giving you the clean lines that many find appealing. They also make attractive accent models for smaller spaces or areas that don't require much heat. A good example of this is the Napoleon Plasmafire Wall-Mounted Vent-Free Gas Fireplace.
Modern Fireplace Inserts are another option for the modern aesthetic. A fireplace insert is, by definition, a hearth appliance designed to "insert" into an existing masonry fireplace or approved prefabricated fireplace. For years, they followed the same styling formula of traditional fireplaces, but recent designs offer a more contemporary take. The required surrounds conceal the gap between the insert and the fireplace edges while offering smooth surfaces with various finishes that compliment modern decor.
Below, you will find additional pictures of various modern fireplace ideas to inspire you and demonstrate the visual appeal. With the wide variety of application for this aesthetic, imagination may be one of few limitations.
With the wide variety of application for this aesthetic, imagination may be one of few limitations.
Tap or click the orange arrows of the gallery to scroll through the images.
Modern accessories can make or break the appearance of your fireplace. There are many different options for these. Some are purely visual while others are more on the technical side. However, all will add a stylish draw to your fireplace.
One way to bring the design of a modern fireplace to life is with the use of fireplace doors. Several different manufacturers offer models that feature a minimal, smooth surround with glass panels that are tinted to the desired color. There are also typically different accents available, including bronze, pewter, or stainless. Sizing can even be customized to your application. Or, if you have a traditionally styled fireplace but want to bring it closer to a modern room layout, the addition of doors and refreshing the surrounding masonry can offer a less expensive solution.
Another option for accessorizing your modern fireplace is through the use of surround finishes and liners. Many modern fireplaces come with multiple options for surround finishes, typically including some sort of pewter or stainless. The surrounds are generally minimal in size, allowing more focus on the flames and fireplace itself. Unconventional liners also envelop the fireplace and increase the modern appeal. Many manufacturers offer corrugated steel, ceramic with different fluting or pattern, or porcelain panels. Black porcelain is a favored pick since it provides a reflective finish that amplifies the presence of the flame. Other colors, such as white or blue, have begun their own rise in popularity as well.
Enhanced control options and different burner designs also feature in modern fireplaces. Modern fireplaces require additional engineering to ensure they work properly with the smaller glass media. They also usually use control systems that allow for expandable control options. Some of those can include thermostatic control, backlighting, flame height control, and sometimes even Bluetooth compatibility. The burners can also vary. Linear fireplaces usually feature what is known as a ribbon burner, a long narrow tube with many small holes for the gas flue, allowing glass or other media to surround the burner without covering it directly. Other models use a pan burner. This type allows the media to cover the pan completely while allowing gas to work its way up. Or, if you're looking for something different, there are also fire bowls or fire cradles. Those are more common in clean-faced or portrait models. They usually feature a tall flame that comes through ceramic stones or pebbles.
With modern fireplaces, there are many options to make it work with the decor of your home. These options can work together or independently to make your fireplace as contemporary as you.
Where Does Modern Work
One appeal of the modern fireplace is the increased freedom of placement. As seen in the slideshow, there are a variety of options. Some of these options do depend on what fuel type you use, as well as safety requirements for your area. With the use of a see-through unit, you can enjoy the contemporary appearance from different rooms and angles. There are even units that work well as columned room dividers! Using a contemporary fireplace this way adds another layer of visual appeal to your home.
One appeal of the modern fireplace is the increased freedom of placement.
Modern fireplaces are versatile in their ability to fit in inside, outside, or both. See-through units, as previously stated, are a great way to have a modern appearance that you can see from different sides and angles. This applies to outside as well. Some fireplace units are rated to be used for both indoor and outdoor and these are ideal to get a modern aesthetic for your outdoor area as well. Many enjoy the counterpoint of a rustic background setting for their modern fireplace. Outdoor fireplaces are also typically manufactured from stainless steel to withstand weather conditions, but some are rated for indoors as well, the stainless chassis bringing an interesting design element to the room.
Different Fuel Types
You might think that fuel type will determine if you can have a modern fireplace. While some of the accessories above are typically for natural gas or propane implementations, there are other options for you. Besides natural gas and propane, there are also modern fireplaces fueled by electricity or burning wood! You have a wide variety of fuel types available.
Besides natural gas and propane, there are also modern fireplaces fueled by electricity or burning wood!
An example of an efficient and stylish wood burning modern fireplace insert is the Osburn High-Efficiency EPA Certified Matrix Wood Insert. Or, if you're looking for a contemporary electric fireplace, there are such models as the Dimplex Deluxe 23" Electric Fireplace Insert. Don't let the fuel limit the possibilities of what you can have in your home. No matter what fuel you desire for your modern fireplace.
Modern Fireplace: More Than Meets The Eye
As you can see, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to a complete and desirable modern fireplace. But, with some of the information and ideas from this article, you'll be able to have that dream fireplace in no time. Modernizing has never been so easy.