There is nothing more cosy and ambient than a real open-fire in a room. However, bathroom fireplaces have become the unlikely trend taking off this season.
When it comes to looking for fireplace ideas, living rooms are generally the first spaces we look to. But, there's no reason why they can't transform other rooms too. Research has found that this year we want to create the same warm and inviting focal point in bathrooms.
Bathroom fireplaces are hot
According to a seed-list generated by online bathroom company, showerstoyou.co.uk, the most popular 2022 bathroom trend (to date) searched for on Pinterest is a bathroom fireplace, with an impressive 992 boards and 191,178 pins.
Victoria Plum interior designer, Ruth Foster, said: 'Fireplaces are one of the top-ranking features that homebuyers search for when hunting for a new property, so a fireplace can be an especially attractive asset in the bathroom.'
Why the sudden interest in bathroom fireplaces?
Unless you've had a room shuffle, the chances are there won't be an original chimney breast and hearth in the bathroom. Homeowners are looking to create larger bathroom spaces that increase our sense of well-being and allow us to indulge in self-care rituals.
So, if you are planning a bathroom, moving it to a disused bedroom that already features a fireplace makes a practical and popular renovation project.
The Bridgerton effect
Or, perhaps bathroom fireplace envy is a response to binge watching popular period dramas on online streaming services?
Since the latest episodes of Bridgerton aired on Netflix, fans have been inspired by beautiful regency rooms bursting with period features.
Polly Shearer, interiors expert at Tap Warehouse adds 'Last year when the first series of Bridgerton was released, so many people tried to recreate Bridgerton inspired interiors in their own homes. Google Trends reported a 4,800% increase in searches for ‘regency interior’ two days after the show aired on Netflix.'
Are bathroom fireplaces practical?
Renovation influencer and DIY expert Greg Penn (@manwithahammer) is no stranger to a fireplace face-lift, or bubble bath for that matter, in his ex-Naval Georgian Townhouse. So, Ideal Home asked him why he thinks bathroom fireplaces are having a revival?
'I'm a massive fan of fireplaces in bathrooms. I’m sure lots would have ripped them out as they can sometimes make getting the right layout tricky in a modern bathroom (given the rooms wouldn’t have been bathrooms originally in this era).
But, I love to save original features where possible and having a fireplace in a bathroom makes for a beautiful focal point amongst the modern sanitary ware and gives real character to a room.'
However, when it comes to practicalities aesthetics may override function. Greg continues, 'I must confess that, whilst in theory, both mine could be used. I wouldn’t ever actually light them in a bathroom. An open fire (rather than wood burner) can be draughty, dusty, messy and inefficient.
I believe the romantic idea of a working open fire in a bathroom would quickly be quelled by the reality. Heat, cost and energy inefficiency combined with cleaning bug bears means pressing a button to turn the central heating on is a far more effective way to actually warm the room.'
Vicky Naylor at General Manager, ACR Stoves agrees that while a fireplace in the bathroom creates wow factor, it is not practical. 'The bathroom is, by nature, a very humid room which would cause havoc with stove paint going rusty. Also, by the time the stove has been lit and even halfway to getting to temperature, the chances are that the bathroom will have been vacated and then the stove is heating an empty room.'
Don't even think about installing a woodburning stove as it building regulations forbid it for safety reasons. The government-backed website HETAS told Vicky that: 'You are not able to install a stove into a bathroom as currently, there isn’t a CO alarm (carbon monoxide) which can function correctly in the humid conditions a bathroom creates and as installing a CO alarm in close proximity to a stove is part of the building regulations.'
Greg concludes 'That doesn’t mean I don’t still love my fireplaces as decorative pieces. It would be really easy to add a reclaimed fireplace to a room should you want the look without the flames. They’re a great place to display art above too, and help the room feel less like a bathroom.
If you really want the flicker of real flames – a few candles should do the job very nicely!'
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Rachel Homer has been in the interiors publishing industry for over 15 years. Starting as a Style Assistant on Inspirations Magazine, she has since worked for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines and websites. After starting a family, she moved from being a content editor at Idealhome.co.uk to be a digital freelancer and hasn’t looked back.
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