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10 Ways to Add Spark with a Fireplace

Add warmth to your home with a well-designed fireplace.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Entertainment Center

      The space above the fireplace is becoming popular for flat-panel TVs. Before mounting a TV above your mantel, however, make sure the wall temperature doesn't exceed 90 degrees when the fire is lit. The space behind the mounting area should be hollow to accommodate necessary wiring.

    • Attention Grabber

      The mantel and surrounding wall are integral to your fireplace design. Make a statement with a stone surround or exposed-brick chimney. Consider the style of your home when choosing materials. Cut stone or brick complements a formal space, while river rock or stacked stone is good for a more relaxed room.

    • Instant Romance

      Create a cozy retreat with a bathroom fireplace. If you're adding a fireplace, a vent-free electric unit is the easiest option.

    • Through the Flames

      Turn a fireplace in the kitchen into a second oven. Include a grate to hold a pan over the flames or a crane to hang a kettle. For cooking convenience, install the fireplace at waist height and include a ledge for hot dishes.

    • Double Up

      Bedrooms are a popular place to add a second fireplace. If your bedroom is on the upper level, you can add a fireplace directly above an existing one. Connect it to the same chimney to cut installation costs.

    • Natural Habitat

      Extend your outdoor-living season with a fireplace. If you live in a cooler climate, add a fireplace to an enclosed porch or covered patio. Check your local codes for ventilation requirements if you have a wood-burning fireplace.

    • Efficient Burn

      Wood-burning fireplaces aren't very energy efficient. Get the most out of your existing fireplace by installing an insert. You can keep the original structure and vent through the chimney. Inserts can burn wood, gas, or wood pellets, and they have an insulated glass door that prevents hot air from escaping up the chimney.

    • Underground Heat

      Let a crackling fire warm a chilly basement. A prefabricated gas fireplace is the most efficient option and doesn't need a chimney. A direct-vent unit can easily be installed on an exterior wall with a short section of pipe to release exhaust fumes and get fresh air. Hire a professional to connect it to a gas line and an electrical circuit.

    • See the Light

      Make sure your fireplace is well lit even when a fire isn't burning. A recessed downlight on the ceiling should be 18 inches from the wall, and sconces should be no more than 6 inches from the outer edge of the mantel and at least 12 inches above the mantel.

    • 10 of 11

      Double Duty

      Get two fireplaces in one by designing a unit that's open on two sides. This is a great option for a family room with one side open to the kitchen. A master suite with one side open to the bedroom and the other to the bath is another dual option.

    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Before and After: Fireplaces

      Before and After: Fireplaces

      If your fireplace is in need of a facelift, find inspiration to get started from these remarkable makeovers, complete with new mantels, fabulous surrounds, and cozy hearths.
      Begin Slideshow »

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