Wood burner ideas – find the perfect one for your fireplace

These stylish ways to factor a log burner into your scheme will have you longing for a cosy seat by a fireplace

White living room with black fireplace and wood burner and a workspace in the curved alcove
(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Looking for wood burner ideas for your living room or snug? We've got lots of looks that have fantastic style 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 modern wood burning stove 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 a raft of wood burner ideas that'll help you decide on the look you want to go for.

Wood burner ideas

1. Go for clean lines and contemporary style

green living room with grey wood burner and grey sofa

(Image credit: Future / Carole Wortley)

There's a tendency to think that a wood burner belongs in a rustic living room. But that's not the case; log burner ideas can look beautiful in a modern space too. 

If you want your living room to feel contemporary and cosy, choose a wood burner with clean straight lines and a lack of adornment or fussy decoration on the front. This style of modern fireplace idea will blend in with the contemporary decor in your room, rather than look out of place, like a traditional model might.

2. Offset with exposed brick and bold tiles

Arada Holborn stove in exposed brick fireplace with tiled hearth

(Image credit: Arada)

Placing a wood burner within a fireplace with an exposed brick chimney breast is a surefire way to create a warm and welcoming focal point in a living room. 

To give the fireplace a modern urban edge and keep things current, rather than classic, consider fireplace tile ideas such as mixing metro and geometric fireplace tiles for the hearth and back panel. 

'When the weather is cold and miserable outside, people love to get cosy in the comfort of their own home,' says Vicky Naylor, general manager at ACR Stoves. 'A wood burning stove is the perfect way to provide this homely ambience, with its combination of comforting heat and the visual impact of roaring flames.'

3. Mirror the style of your mantel

Elegant grey living room with woodburning stove

(Image credit: Future / David Giles)

In a living room with beautiful period features, such as an original fireplace and mantlepiece, look for a wood burner idea that echoes the shape and style of the mantle. This will ensure that the decorative details complement each other. 

Also, select a wood burner in a shade that will gently blend with your decor, like the silvery grey stove above. Instead of black, which could stand out for the wrong reasons in a light hued living room. 

4. Mix rustic and refined styles

Living room with Arada wood burning stove

(Image credit: Arada)

If you can't decide whether to go for a rustic or a refined backdrop for your wood burner, you'll be pleased to hear it doesn't have to be one or the other. It's possible to mix the two styles to great effect.

Situated on a rustic terracotta tiled fireplace hearth idea, with a section of the original brickwork exposed, this log burner adds earthy warmth to this living room, with its elegant panelled chimney breast and smart fire surround. 

'A woodburning stove will allow you to heat the room you are in, whereas a central heating system means you have to heat the whole house,' says Vicky at ACR Stoves. 'This makes a stove an excellent choice for the spring and autumn months when you don’t want the heating on, but just want to be warm in the room you are in.'

5. Choose a bold colour

Teal living room with yellow Arada stove

(Image credit: Arada Stoves)

Make a style statement with a bold colour, such as yellow, for your wood burner. This would look gorgeous against a dark palette in the rest of the room and create a cosy atmosphere. If you're choosing a bold hue, be sure it's a colour you can live with all year round. 

'Whilst a traditional black colourway is elegant and timeless, yellow or other bold colours offer a striking alternative that is sure to get friends and family talking,' says Jon Butterworth, director at Arada Stoves .

6. Frame a small woodburner

white wood burning stove in tiled fireplace with wooden mantle

(Image credit: Future / David Giles)

Although small in stature, wood burners can make a bold feature in a room, especially when placed in a large hearth and framed by an eye-catching antique timber mantlepiece.

To prevent a small wood burner from looking 'lost' in a big fireplace, use tiles as part of the design. These pale chevron tiles have been secured with a grout that's a similar tone to the timber mantlepiece, and subtly unite the space. 

7. Forget the fire surround altogether

modern living room with wood burning stove

(Image credit: Future / James French)

No period details in your home? Or just prefer a cleaner look? Forget the fire surround or mantlepiece altogether. It's not necessary to have one, and could even make a small living room look cluttered.  

So, if you're on the lookout for a small living room fireplace idea, as long as there's enough space for the flue, slot your wood burner into a suitable, fireplace opening, and enjoy it unadorned.

8. Make a feature of the flue

Whychwood woodburning stove from ACR Stoves in grey living room

(Image credit: ACR Stoves)

Many people place wood burners in an existing fireplace, as the chimney provides an ideal space to hide the flue. However, those without a chimney, have a great opportunity to make a feature of a visible flue, bringing industrial style to the room. 

Check with the manufacturer, as to what size of flue is appropriate for your wood burner model, as well as where it is safe to locate it. It's also important you factor in  how to clean a wood-burning stove, and make that a regular job.

9. Make your wood burner a centrepiece

Living room with blue panelled feature wall behind a wood burner with a chrome flue, and a grey sofa

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Of course, situating a wood burner in a fireplace or against a large wall, is a good spot for it. However, there are now many freestanding models, which means you can place them in the middle of a room and make them a centrepiece too (as long as there is space for the flue). 

'The increase in open plan and broken plan living spaces means that many homeowners are looking for a stove which can be placed in the middle of the room and enjoyed from all angles,' says Vicky at ACR Stoves. 

'To really wow your guests, consider the trend of stoves with multiple viewing panels. It seems customers want to see as much of the fire as possible, so the larger the glass viewing area the better.'

10. Team traditional and modern

White living room with black fireplace and wood burner and a workspace in the curved alcove

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Add interest to a modern living room with a traditional style wood burner with decorative detailing. Framing this type of black wood burner with a simple black fire surround gives it gravitas and allow sit to stand out against white walls. You can also create a display feature with a clever mantelpiece idea.

Ensure you repeat the black and white palette elsewhere in the room for balance.

11. Make it midcentury modern

Modern white living room with concrete floors and feature wall, grey sofa and wood burner

(Image credit: Future PLC/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.

12. Make it part of the view

living room with white wall fire place at glass window and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/ 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.

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

living room with blue wall blue sofa fire pit at wall and plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/ James Merrell)

Lusting after a blue living room? Blend a wood burner seamlessly into your scheme by opting for a matte finish, like in this all-blue Victorian open plan living area. The blue of the fireplace is tonally so similar to the finish of the log burner, that everything blends together perfectly.

How do you choose the right wood burner?

One of the first considerations when looking at log burners 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.

How much does a wood burner cost?

Stove prices vary considerably, starting at around £500, but installation adds to the cost significantly, so take into account how much does it cost to install a wood burning stove. 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

What colour should a wood burner be?

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.

Jenny McFarlane
Senior Digital Editor

Jenny is Senior Digital Editor and joined the team in 2021, working across Ideal Home, Real Homes, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc and Gardeningetc. Since getting on the property ladder, her passion for interior design and gardening has taken on a new lease of life. She loves collecting and salvaging unique items (much to her other half's despair) but sniffing out stylish home bargains is her one true love. When she has a spare minute, she loves crafting, having studied textiles at university – although she hardly gets the chance with her daughters keeping her permanently on her toes.

With contributions from