There are 5 key design elements that make up the formula to creating a fireplace.
The first element is the kind of fire itself.
The consideration of wood or gas is best in the final stage - the lighting from the fire. By having an actual wood fire you won't ever lack the sound of the wood fire crackling and glow of real embers. The choice is really a gas insert. There are many new and various designs for gas flames as well types of inserts themselves.
The 2nd element for consideration may be the facing around the structure.
This is where there are the most trends, even regionally. Traditionally, brick has been the first choice among homeowners. With the advent of manufactured stone, the cost and availability makes it a well known choice. A coat of stucco happens to be popular in the southwest regions. We even see a modern trend of poured concrete or even fabricated metals in very contemporary structures.
The third element is selection of mantle.
This is where the enjoyment really starts. Just how much mixing and matching are you comfortable with? Something to bear in mind is balance and proportion. Mixing materials and even styles is smart and sexy, just be sure your mantle doesn't outweigh your fireplace or even the opposite.
The fourth element is the hearth.
Functionality can be a consideration when selecting materials for the hearth of the fireplace. An advantage is that it will capture heat from the fire and release radiant heat for some time after the fire is out. Does it also provide for extra seating if it is long and wide enough? Additionally, will clean-up matter if you're burning real wood and have wood residue and ash?
The fifth element is add-ons.
These may incorporate a wood box, shelving for books, a distinct segment for art or components like TV's and audio/video equipment. Wherever these add-ons may be incorporated in your design, recall the heat that the fireplace can establish.
As with any other area of home design styles, fireplaces both outdoors and indoors can follow trends. Masonry supply yards and stores that sell fireplace gas inserts are wonderful places to start searching for ideas in addition to attending any home shows in your area. New or remodeled, fireplaces could possibly be the gathering host to the house!