Planning the perfect fireplace addition

By Angie Kendel

As the weather turns cooler, renovations focus on interior spaces. One of the most popular additions is a fireplace!

There is nothing more appealing than a cozy fireplace on a cold Manitoba winter day. A fireplace adds ambiance as well as being a functional heat source. Over the last decade, we have seen a huge increase in not only the various types of fireplaces available but also the locations within the home we’ve installed them. It is important to plan out your space to ensure you have the best design to beautify your space. Here are a few tips to consider when planning your fireplace addition.

The location of your fireplace can make a space more functional or make it less functional. A fireplace is typically a focal point of a space. This means furniture is usually placed around the fireplace. If you place a fireplace in an odd location in a space it makes the furniture placement and traffic flow of a space very challenging. The space will always seem “off” without proper planning. Try to keep your fireplace and TV close together as both become focal points in any space. It makes more functional sense to have your furniture facing the focal points in a room.

Where would you typically place your TV? This is a focal point of the room and is also the best spot for a fireplace. Keep the fireplace lower to the ground if you are planning to place a TV over the fireplace. There is a recommended clearance for the TV over the fireplace based on the fireplace model. (See the product specifications.) You do not want to install the fireplace at eye level when sitting only to find the TV has to be mounted so high over it that your neck is sore from looking too high up watching TV.

In a smaller space, it creates more intimacy if the fireplace is lower and the TV is closer to eye level. It is also much easier on the neck which can become strained from looking too high up at a TV! So often we see people placing a fireplace in the middle of the largest wall in the space without taking into consideration where your furniture would go.

Make sure you plan out the furniture placement as part of your design. Draw it out on graph paper and leave a walkway of a minimum of 3 feet through the space. Will this create empty pockets of space in the room? Will it look odd? Will it be too crowded with heavy furniture blocking the walkway? Is there room for furniture to face the fireplace, typically seen in open concept designs, or does it make the space awkward and crowded? If you are having difficulty planning the best space, contact a professional who can help you design the most functional space with the highest impact. After all, when spending money on a renovation, you want to ensure it improves your space and lasts for many years!

Some of my favorite locations for fireplaces are kitchens/dining areas. A double-sided fireplace can be used in 2 adjoining rooms providing a double impact. We often see this in a great room and dining room or kitchen and dining room. It becomes a center of the entertainment space for parties and family get togethers! My absolute favorite is probably a double-sided fireplace between a master bathroom and the master bedroom. Enjoying the fire while soaking in the tub and then enjoying it while snuggling in bed. That says absolute bliss to me on a cold winter day!

What type of fireplace is right for you? Many older homes have older wood-burning fireplaces. Many have not been used in years. There are electric and gas inserts that can often be added to convert your old wood-burning fireplace into a new updated fireplace that you love! In some cases, it is as simple as a trim kit around the insert and running the gas line and no more mess or fuss! Click a button and instant fire!

Many people want to add a wall mount unit which is very easy to do for any DIY’er. However, if you want a flush mount built-in electric version, check out the wall depth required for that model. Most standard interior walls are not deep enough for a flush mount electric fireplace, so you may need to make some modifications to the wall. If you really love the smell of wood-burning but do not want to have the heat escaping up the chimney, try a wood-burning insert with an electric fan. Suddenly your old eye sore of a wood-burning fireplace becomes a beautiful feature of the room and can actually lower your gas bill by heating your home! We have a wood-burning insert at our year-round cottage with a fan and it is more than adequate to keep the cottage warm and cozy in the coldest days of winter!

Whether you are planning on refurbishing an old fireplace or adding a new fireplace feature. Consider not only the best type for your use but also the best location in your home. Plan out the furniture and how the whole space will flow to ensure you have years of enjoyment in your new space! We are holding an open house on Thursday October 25 from 6:30–9:00 pm at our showroom at 1924 Main Street. Please feel free to stop by and check out some of the fireplace options available and in our showroom! Hope to see you there!