Warm, comfortable and atmosphere-enhancing
When most people think of fireplaces, indoor fireplaces are the only things that come to mind. For this reason, it may not seem that a discussion of them is even necessary. But given the wide variety of other choices of outdoor fireplaces, patio heaters, chimineas, cooking tripods for firepits, and other outdoor choices, there is certainly a distinction to be made between outdoor and indoor fireplace choices.
When discussing indoor fireplaces, it further makes sense to point out the wide selection of options available, including masonry heaters and traditional masonry fireplaces, natural gas and propane fireplaces, and freestanding "fireplace substitute" wood stoves. These "fireplace substitutes", complete with large transparent glass viewing area, are an increasingly attractive alternative to the more labor-intensive fireplace installation within a wall. For many homeowners, a freestanding fireplace or "fireplace substitute" made of stone, cast-iron, or plate steel offers the same ambience as a traditional fireplace while making minimal demands as far as construction, requiring only a chimney, heat-resistant floor material, and adequate clearances to any nearby combustible materials.
Indoor fireplaces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, offering whole-home comfort or little more than an accent. There are fireplaces which are certified for installation in a bedroom or bathroom, and even smaller units meant for installation in a mobile home. Some are made with such mundane materials as limestone or even clay bricks, while the most opulent fireplaces are made of bronze, silver, even gold or platinum!
While luxury fireplaces constructed of precious metals may be well beyond the budget of most homeowners, there are many highly tasteful options which are considerably easier on the wallet, some of which even offer gold, silver, copper, or bronze highlights, making lighter use of the highly valuable materials while still providing their gleam and attractiveness.
When choosing an indoor fireplace, many factors play into the decision process, including the practical concerns of budget and other available heating options, but you'll also want to consider the value of a relaxing evening next to your own open hearth, flames crackling as you spend time with your family. As well, heating your main living space with a fireplace can reduce your bills by letting you turn down your furnace while still staying comfortable.
Whatever you decide on, good luck in your search for an indoor fireplace!