Use our essential guide to buying fires and fireplaces
* The fire surround size is important – too big and it will overpower the room, too small and it will look insignificant. The size of the existing opening, chimney breast and flue will influence the size of fire and surround that will be suitable for the room – if possible, it may be worth considering structural alterations to get exactly what you want.
* If the chimney is sound and the flue in good working order, then you’ll have the option to choose a fire that burns solid fuel or logs, or perhaps even a stove.
* For a fuss-free real flame, a gas fire is your best bet, as an open-basket gas-burning fire with ceramic “coals” is virtually indistinguishable from a real coal-burning fire.
* If there’s no flue, or even no fireplace opening, there are still some electric and gel models that can create an interesting focal point in the room. There is a choice of flue-less gas fires available, too, where the waste gases are taken out of the room via a pipe that is ducted through an outside wall.