How to choose a stone fireplace
Tuesday, 31st May 2016, Paul Dore
If you’re thinking of installing a fireplace from scratch or simply want to update an outdated, tired-looking one, then you’re probably going to need a hand choosing the right stone. Luckily, we’re here to help!
What do you want from your fireplace?
First of all, you need to decide what type of fireplace you want in your living room. If you live in a small cottage in the country, you’re probably going to be after something more traditional and rustic, but if you’re a city dweller, you may prefer a fireplace that fits in with your modern home.
Next, consider where the fireplace is going to go and how your furniture will fit around it. If it’s going to be the focal point i.e. the object all your sofas and seats are pointed towards, then you will probably want something that looks impressive and beautiful. Prefer to spend most of your time watching the TV? Then you may want a fireplace that’s not so imposing and blends in with your existing furniture and décor.
You probably know the answer to this already, but you also need to think about whether your fireplace will be a working one or not. Some people, particularly in modern homes, enjoy the look of a fireplace but don’t want to (or can’t) go through the effort of installing or maintaining a chimney. A well-decorated hearth can still look fantastic in any home, so it’s something to consider.
Lastly, you must decide how much time you can dedicate to maintaining and cleaning your stone fireplace. Some stones require sealing once every few years and you’ll need to clean the hearth once a week if you’re lighting your fireplace every day. Moreover, certain stones are harder to clean than others, so bear this in mind before committing.
Which stone should I choose?
There are many types of natural stone to choose from and each has its own charms and benefits. Remember that your fireplace will likely consist of a stone surround and a hearth, so you may choose to combine two different materials instead of sticking to one.
This soft stone is easy to carve, meaning you can have a truly ornate stone surround. Despite its workability, limestone is incredibly durable, so you don’t have to worry about chips or scratches. It does, however, need to be sealed.
If you want a living room that’s elegant and formal, limestone is a wonderful choice.
Another elegant surround material is marble, but it’s nowhere near as hardwearing. Marble can stain and break, which isn’t ideal if you have children! Furthermore, repairs can be pricey, so you might be better off with limestone.
Typically used for the hearth rather than the surround, slate is a stylish, long-lasting material. You may also be surprised to learn that it comes in a variety of colours, not just grey and black. Slate complements limestone beautifully, so if you’re thinking of having a limestone surround, consider a slate hearth.
Another stone that looks great when paired with limestone is granite. It’s both durable and easy to clean, so requires the minimum amount of effort from you! The choice of colours and shades is huge, too. You really can’t go wrong with granite.
Finding a colour that’s right for your room
You’ve decided on a stone, or two, but now you need to think about colour. Whichever natural stone you pick, you’ll be faced with a range of patterns and colours to choose from, so what’s best for your room?
Black is a popular colour for modern homes, though it might be too dramatic for a stone surround. However, you don’t have to opt for solid black, especially if you’ve chosen to have a granite hearth or surround. Some slabs have beautiful, colourful flecks in them, such as Blues in the Night. This stone is sure to catch the eye of all your guests and add a real wow factor to your living space.
Another modern option is white stone, which is fantastic for reflecting light and making a room feel brighter – perfect if you only have a small living room. For a really sleek look, you may want to combine black and white stones.
If your home has a rustic feel to it, a more natural colour such as brown or red will look great and add a bit of romance. Alternatively, grey stone can help blend your fireplace into the rest of the room, which is ideal if you don’t want it to be the focus. Grey also complements all other colours well, so if you’re trying to fit your new fireplace around your current décor, it’s an excellent choice.