Style and fashion in hearth equipment and accessories
Fireplaces are just as much a subject of the whims of fashion as other appliances and home fixtures. As such, it is fitting to mention past as well as present trends in fireplaces and related accessories. This will provide you with some ideas to inform your fireplace searching, as well as some starting points for accessorizing and decorating to blend well with your fireplace.
In ages past, fireplaces were no more than a household fixture, meant to serve a specific purpose – heating and cooking – but as long as they fit that purpose, little else could be expected of them. Not so in the modern world – most homes these days have furnaces or other whole-home heating systems that take care of the requirement for warmth and electric, or gas ranges and microwave ovens that take care of cooking. So in a modern home, a fireplace must be a work of art, a focal point for social gatherings, an embellishment, and lastly, a functional heater.
Because of the different priorities for a fireplace's success in modern times, the vast majority of major trends in fireplace design today have to do with aesthetics rather than engineering and manufacturing practices. These include texturing of the construction material to give the fireplace or insert a less "polished" or "industrial" look – or conversely, providing exactly that look to give an appearance of modernity and sophistication.
Luxury fireplace models are moving towards construction with either precious metal accents or with outer surfaces comprised entirely of these metals – including gold, silver, bronze, and even platinum in some cases. Often, the surrounds available with these fireplaces include stylized scenes of ancient times or outdoor scenes embossed in the metal. At the high end, these fireplaces become less stylish and more conspicuous, simply in their splendor. Although still attractive, gold-laden fireplaces are so far beyond the reach of most people that they simply appear excessive.
A popular trend for fireplaces in many homes is to go for the grandiose with a large fireplace, an imposing mantel, and large iron or steel decorative inserts or fireplace andirons styled with gothic animals or other creatures. This approach fits well with large and spacious homes but looks simply ridiculous in small, urban designs with compartmentalized floor plans.
More than anything else, choosing a fireplace that suits your home and the room in which you plan to locate it will make sure that you are at the height of fireplace style, no matter what the whims of fashion decide to do in coming years.