Get cosy – update your fireplace

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  • Keep the home fires burning by making sure your property is toasty this winter. Here's a pick of our favourite looks and how to make them work for you

    Nothing beats the aesthetic appeal of a crackling log fire or glowing wood burning stove on a chilly night. And the most recent innovations mean that you can make all manner of style statements, from dual aspect gas fires, to wall-mounted wood burners or tradtional open fires, each with a simple, appealing aesthetic.

    An open-fire like this one never goes out of fashion and works beautifully in a period setting. A large statement fireplace works best for a fire like this and makes a natural focal point. Do invest in a fireguard for safety and also bear in mind that open fires tend to be less energy-efficient. If you are considering opening up a fireplace or installing a new heating appliance your first step should be to measure the room. As a general rule, for every 14 cubic metres of space, you will need approximately 1kW of heat output to achieve a room temperature of 21 degrees.

    A woodburing stove is both energy efficient and aestehtically pleasing. A pound of fuel produces at least three times more heat when burned in a stove than on an open fire, creating efficient heating for larger rooms, which can also rise up stair wells and travel through floors, relieving the strain on central heating. You’ll need an adequate flue, or chimney space, to allow smoke to be safely expelled if you are burning solid fuel conventionally, and it must be at least 150mm in diameter and properly lined. All reputable retailers should carry out a site survey and a flue inspection prior to installation. Stoves come in all shapes and sizes and can burn wood, coal or pellets. The latest ranges incorporate a CleanBurn system, burning off gases before they escape through the chimney, so that homeowners can boost their eco-credentials without compromising on style. This is useful if your property is in a designated Smoke Control Area. Contact your local council to check the current rules. Recent advances mean that it’s also possible to install a wood-burning appliance even if you don’t have a flue.

    If you prefer a more contemporary approach, opt for wall-mounted fires, in portrait or landscape shapes. Some of them can be built in, creating useful room dividers ideal for open-plan living and many are available in wood, multi-fuel, gas and electric fires. Their simple frames and clean lines create a modern, streamlined feel. The latest electric stoves are fuss-free, offering the look of a wood burner without any mess. Clean, inexpensive to run and easy to install, these stoves can be used where conventional heat sources such as gas or solid fuel are unavailable, and a range of colours from putties to dark tones contemporise the look. Glass-fronted dual aspect gas fires evoke loft living in an open-plan space, while Scandinavian-inspired freestanding stoves add drama.

    Finally, don’t forget the addition of a good radiator in the bathroom. Whether you opt for a traditional look like this, or a streamlined option, a heated towel rail offers warmth in the bathroom and keeps towels warm and fluffy. Perfect for a finishing touch.

    For more heating ideas, visit House to Home.

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