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Use our essential guide to buying fires and fireplaces
Tradtional and contemporary fires
* A traditional or classically inspired fireplace is virtually guaranteed to look good in any type of home. Architectural salvage and reclamation yards may offer the best chance of finding something appropriate. Traditional designs in light-coloured stones such as limestone and marble are popular at the moment.
* Contemporary fires and fireplaces offer flexibility of scale and proportion. Whether the fire is gas, gel or electric, contemporary surrounds use sleek and minimalist modern materials, such as glass or polished steel.
* Hole-in-the-wall designs do away with a hearth completely, and are often minus a surround, too. These fires are usually gas, and can consist of a burner providing a regimented row of flames, a firebowl, or a pile of driftwood or pebbles. Hole-in-the-wall designs are suited to smaller rooms where floor space is limited.