Fireplace Styles

Fireplace styles can be vastly different, depending upon the home, the desired look, and the budget of the homeowner. Whether the fireplaces are built into the home or are prefabricated inserts, you can find fireplace styles that fit the desired look and feel of your home.

Masonry Fireplaces
The masonry fireplace is one of the most common fireplace styles in older houses. This is a very traditional style of fireplace which burns wood, but it is fairly inefficient in heating a room. Masonry fireplaces can be made of brick, stone, or concrete — fireproof materials. Masonry fireplaces are able to stay warm for hours after the fire goes out, since the material absorbs heat. Masonry fireplaces need some sort of channel, such as a chimney, which releases smoke and hot gases.

Rumford Fireplaces
Rumford fireplaces differ from other fireplace styles in that they are built to put out more heat and light than traditional fireplaces. Benjamin Thompson, also known as Count Rumford, redesigned the traditional fireplace by decreasing the depth of the fireplace, splaying the sides, and increasing the height of the firebox. The chimney on Rumford fireplaces are narrower than traditional fireplaces, which improves the fireplace's efficiency.

Early American Fireplaces
Early American fireplaces were very large, serving as the primary source of heat as well as the cooking method for the home. Early American fireplaces which come from the English tradition have brick chimneys and wooden lintels with pegs which hold pots and other cooking tools over the fireplace. The early American fireplaces coming from the Dutch tradition are more of a medieval design with an open hearth and an exterior brick wall. Some have side walls lined with tiles or iron to reflect the heat into the room.

Arts and Crafts Fireplaces
Around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, fireplace styles changed considerably, as they were no longer used for the main source of heat and fuel. The arts and crafts style of fireplace used ceramic tiles in natural colors. Some arts and crafts fireplaces also have the entire hearth and mantle tiled.

architect and interior designer Modern Fireplaces
The modern style of fireplaces have many different subcategories, including the Neo-Tudor, Spanish Revival, and Colonial Revival categories. Frank Lloyd Wright also designed many fireplaces in the modern style, considering the fireplace as the ceremonial center and core of the house. Modern fireplaces can look very different from each other — using straight lines, bare metal, or even freestanding fireplaces to create a modern look.

Written by Bronwyn Harris