Fireplaces can make a huge difference to a home. Modern fireplaces can bring your room into the twenty-first century whilst still recalling the past.
The fireplace surround is a key aspect of making the fireplace both stand out and fit in with the rest of the room – and traditional brick, while still popular, tends to have a less contemporary feel than some modern materials. Regardless of the style you use, the fireplace surround needs to be noncombustible – and building codes often forbid wood surrounds, even though they can be designed safely.
One of the most popular materials is called ledgestone – it’s tiny strips of stone. This is softer than brick and comes in a variety of colors. It works well with floor to ceiling fireplace designs that have no mantle and make the firebox seem to float. A similar style works well, for a more rustic feel, with rough stone or fieldstone surrounds, or even marble. (Faux fieldstone is available if actual fieldstone is outside your budget).
If you are going for an industrial look, then steel or raw concrete surrounds also work well floor to ceiling and give a minimalist appearance. However, steel walls can dominate the room and appear out of place if they do not match the look of your furniture and other decorative elements. Steel can also work well for a firebox with mantle or a column fireplace. Concrete has the advantage of retaining the heat from the fireplace, which can be useful in very cold winters.
Although brick is highly traditional, it can be used in more contemporary ways, such as columns, or using non-red brick (especially gray). Brick fireplace surrounds are versatile and can include all kinds of design elements, as can stone. Tile fireplace surrounds can be even more versatile, as you can get pretty much any color, size or texture you want.
Whatever you use to surround your fireplace, bear in mind existing furniture, the style of your home and the location of the fireplace and chimney. In existing homes, it is often not possible to move the fireplace. Many modern fireplaces do not have a mantle, but one can certainly be designed in if you need the space for nicknacks. (Bear in mind that anything you hang or put over a fireplace may be at risk of being stained by smoke – and while it is very popular, most flat screen TV installers do not recommend putting a TV over the fireplace).
Regardless of your choice, a modern fireplace can provide an elegant centerpiece for a room.