Wood burner ideas – and tips for choosing one for your fireplace

These wood burner ideas will have you longing for a cosy seat by a fireplace. And if you need advice on choosing a wood burning stove, we have you covered.
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  • Looking for wood burner ideas for your living room or snug? We’ve got lots of looks that will look fantastic even if you don’t have a fireplace.

    Designed for clean burning of wood or special wood pellets, wood burning stoves not only warm up a space but they are also a great focal point in a room. Plus, as fireplace ideas go, choosing a wood burner is certainly the most efficient way of heating up a room, compared with an open fire.

    Experts at Rightmove explain more, ‘Wood burning stoves have gained popularity for their increased efficiency over open grate fires; an open fire sends most of its heat up the chimney, rather than into the living room, whereas a cast iron lounge wood burner uses special interior baffles to convert most of its heat to warming up the casing, radiating more heat out into the room.’

    ‘Most people place their wood burner in the fireplace to take advantage of the chimney flue. A contemporary wood burner makes a great centrepiece and with the doors open replicates the feel of an open fire but if you have a large inglenook fireplace you’ll need to install a suitably large wood burner so that it doesn’t get lost.’

    Whether you like a traditional look or a contemporary design, we look at 11 wood burner ideas that’ll help you decide on the look you want to go for.

    Wood burner ideas

    1. Grey contemporary wood burner in a simple fireplace

    A fireplace in a contemporary space and modern fireplace with a long coffee table with afternoon tea

    Image credit: Claire Lloyd-Davies

    Team a grey living room scheme with a soft grey wood burner and add tonal accessories to create a warm and inviting space.

    2. Large traditional brick fireplace in a cosy cottage

    a cottage with wood beams and wood burner

    Image credit: Jonathan Gooch

    If you are lucky enough to own a beautiful country cottage with a wide traditional exposed brick hearth, why not go big and opt for large wood burner to keep the space warm and snug.

    3. An inbuilt wood burner

    an inbuilt wood burner with a concrete surround in a large open plan living room with blue sofa and wood beams - Brent Darby

    Image credit: Brent Darby

    For a contemporary spin on the usual Victorian hearth, why not build a floor to ceiling feature wall and house your wood burner within it.

    4. A wood burner in a midcentury modern room

    black wood burner in a modcentury modern scandi room - Anna Stathaki

    Image credit: Anna Stathaki

    Create a scandi inspired scene with a wood burner encased in a feature wall in a concrete effect. Style with Mid century modern furniture and a big comfy sofa.

    5. Match your wood burner to the furniture

    a cream wood burner with flue on wall in a large country style living room - Colin Poole

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Looking for great white living room ideas? Create a rustic, country chic look by mixing creams, pale woods and white walls to coordinate with a cream wood burner with exposed flue.

    6. Freestanding wood burner as part of the view

    a freestanding wood burner in a large open plan living space with a view - Douglas Gibb

    Image credit: Douglas Gibb

    Not sure which should be the focal point of the room – a wood burner or a coastal view? Why not combine the two? It’s the perfect set up for an evening meal or just simply to sit down and watch the sun set.

    7. Tone in a wood burner with the rest of the decor

    A dark blue living room with a tonal grey wood burner in a Victorian hearth fireplace - James Merrell

    Image credit: James Merrell

    Have a blue living room? Blend the wood burner seamlessly into your scheme by opting for a matte finish, like in this all-blue Victorian open plan living area.

    Choosing a wood burner

    One of the first considerations is the type of fuel you want to burn. Wood-burners use just wood, while a multi-fuel stove can burn wood, smokeless fuel and coal. The difference lies in the grate.

    Wood will burn on a bed of ash but coals need air entering from beneath, so a multi-fuel stove has a grate that adjusts to suit the fuel. Some stoves burn eco-friendly wood pellets. Also consider boiler stoves that can heat water too.

    Which size of wood burner and where to put it?

    All wood-burning stoves require a chimney to produce emissions from the room. They usually sit within or in front of a fireplace opening, but free-standing stoves are gaining popularity, especially for open-plan areas, although they still need a flue.

    To burn solid fuel you need a fireproof hearth, usually made of concrete, to comply with building regulations, but you can cover this with stone, slate, terracotta tiles or glass.

    Clean burn technology

    Clean burn technology improves stove efficiency and ensures that the glass stays clean. Pre-heated air introduced into the firebox burns off gases that would otherwise escape up the chimney, reducing particulate emissions.

    Airwash uses air vents at the top of the stove window to blow air over the inside of the window, reducing tarring.

    Costs and installation

    Stove prices vary considerably, starting at around £500, but installation adds to the cost significantly. The fitting must either be carried out by a heating engineer registered as a Competent Person by HETAS, or approved by the local council’s building control office.

    A chimney with a good draw is essential and getting this right can cost as much, if not more, than the stove.

    This can be achieved with a flexible steel liner backfilled with insulation (ideal if the chimney bends) or with a more substantial liner, such as a pumice block, which will last a lifetime

    Traditional styles

    How to choose a traditional style

    While traditional-style stoves have kept up-to-date with the latest technical advances, design developments are also afoot.  The whole stove tends to be simpler in design with less finicky detail, with flat-top versions being the most popular.

    Which colour to choose for your wood burner

    While black is a timeless and versatile finish that fits in with just about every decorating scheme, there
    is more than one version to choose from. The traditional black “anthracite” finish characteristic of Morsø and Aarrow Ecoburn stoves is popular with customers of Stoves Online.

    Painted finishes are available too, but many customers opt for enamel, which offers a hard-wearing finish with a richness and depth of shade.

    For those who prefer to bring colour to their fireplace, enamelled finishes are available in deep greens, reds and blues; also look out for the striking metallic brown finish from Stovax and bronze from Charnwood.

    Modern wood burner designs

    How to choose a modern stove

    Contemporary stoves will have a bold impact on a scheme. Unlike traditional stoves that sit in the fireplace, modern versions often stand in the middle of a room.

    Cylindrical steel versions are popular, but there are also pedestal and swivel designs and built-in wall-mounted “insert” stoves. Some new designs sit on a glass base rather than on a traditional hearth.

    The trend is for sleek designs with large curved windows, discreet handles and controls, and black or grey paint finishes.

    Norwegian company Jøtul is justifiably proud of its Scan 58 series, designed by specialist Hareide Designmill and winner of a coveted Red Dot design award.

    Wood burner fuel types


    Kiln-dried logs at 20 to 25 per cent humidity are ready to use and cost around £75 for a cubic metre (expect to use four to five cubic metres a year).

    Hardwoods such as oak and birch have twice the calorific (heat) value of softwoods, so need less storage space.

    Wood pellets

    Some stoves burn wood pellets, which are made from timber by-products. These are automatically fed into the stove by a hopper, which can hold two to three days’-worth of fuel.

    Wood pellets are more expensive than logs, but they are a dense heat source with a higher calorific value.

    Other stove fuel types

    Coal and smokeless fuel

    The advantages of stoves that burn smokeless fuel or coal is that the fire lasts longer, so they are more suitable for overnight use. They are practical if you are running a boiler stove, as you don’t need to re-fuel as often, but are not as environmentally-friendly as wood.

    Oil, gas and electricity

    If a wood burner doesn’t suit, you can buy stoves that burn oil, mains gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). These provide flame and heat instantly, but are not as efficient or eco-friendly because wood and fuel prices can be an issue

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