Electric fires used to have a reputation of being costly to run and of producing relatively little heat for the money. They were also burdened with utilitarian looks which made them fit for purpose, but definitely not something you would consider remotely attractive or stylish. This is why the majority of ‘older’ houses have gas installed for fireplaces.
All this has now changed dramatically. The world has moved on and electric fires and electric fireplace suites have evolved into stylish design pieces. They are also much more economical to run and actually produce a surprising amount of heat.
The brilliant thing about modern electric fires is that you can now recreate all the ambience of an open fireplace, the memorizing dancing flames etc, for a fraction of the cost or any of the maintenance. Advances in lighting technology also allow you illuminate the surround, so as in the fireplace above, you can combine the practicalities of a warm fire with modern design features and I love these pebbles in a dish with complimentary LED side lighting.
Before we look at the different model options in detail, it’s worth just considering the following to help you choose an electric fireplace that will compliment your room and provide you with all the practical elements you are looking for.
Which style of Electric Fire Do You Want?
There are many types of electric fires on the market from free-standing fireplace suites akin to a conventional gas fire and traditional surround to the bang on trend wall mounted and inset electric fires. You can also source electric fires that copy the look and feel of a log burning stove.
Where will the fire be located in the room?
The usual place is the focal point of the room, usually in the centre wall. This is where everyone`s eyes are usually drawn and where it will gain most impact. However, as all you need to get your electric fire up and running is a conveniently located socket, ideally as hidden away as possible, you can site your fire almost anywhere in the room you wish. For example, if you have an open plan hallway/living room, placing a fire at the junction between the two, as with this sleek portrait sized model below, will benefit both areas.
How big is the room and what purpose will your electric the fire serve?
The main question to address here is will your fire be primarily a decorative feature, with the added bonus of occasional back up heating, or, will it be the primary source of heat in your room? Electric fires are available in several settings, and most have switchable heat settings between 1kw, 2kw and the majority have flame only modes where no heat will be produced and only the flames will show. On the most flamboyant models, you also have the option to create your own light show with colour changing ‘flames’ backgrounds and surrounds.
Most electric fires will come with fitting instructions and all the fixtures and fittings required, but do make sure you check this before purchase. Fitting is a relatively simple process and can be done by anyone with a basic level of skill in DIY. If you are not comfortable to do this then an electrician will be able to install it for you.
A quick note on power leads and sockets. Electric fires look so much better and much more realistic if you are able to hide the power lead and socket. One option is to create a false pasteboard wall just proud of your existing wall with all electrics being contained behind that. This also gives you the opportunity to hide other cables including TV and Hi-fi. Again, ask an electrician for the best options.
Wall Mounted Electric Fires
Modern wall mounted electric fires are a fantastic space saving option with many, including this mirror framed model below offering the very latest in electric fire technology, including a colour changing fuel bed and colour changing back lights which enables you to set your fire to suit your mood.
Many wall mounted models enable you to physically customize the appearance of your fire. For example, this model below comes with a removable White Stone fuel bed effect, so that you can select a minimalist contemporary effect without the fuel bed or you can opt for a more natural look with the White Stones. In common with the vast majority of fires featured, a remote control comes as standard and if it’s simply a flame effect you’re after, that’s fine as you can simply select the flame only option.
Frameless Inset Fires
If you’re looking to achieve a strikingly contemporary and minimalist look, they consider an electric fire that can be installed so that it’s completely flush with the wall, as in these two examples below. Ideal for small to medium-sized rooms, these sleek compact and unobtrusive models still pack quite a punch heat wise, with a maximum 2kw output.
The technology behind this is simple and clever at the same time, they are able to be so thin as the flame display that you see is actually an LED image, think of it as being roughly similar to a TV picture.
Again, they are remote-controlled, with an LED flame only option and variable brightness levels. These two great looking electric fires really do prove that you can create a stunning centrepiece to even the smallest of rooms.
Electric Stove Fires
I’d love to know what you think of these two great electric stove effect fires. I haven’t seen one in the flesh, but the photos look great and they look quite realistic. I also like that fact that they are a more modern twist on a stove effect fire.
I could certainly see myself installing one of these if I was ever lucky enough to have a large open plan space, ideally, a kitchen diner. This one comes in either a black or stainless finish, with the choice of logs or coal on the fire bed and with a flue pipe as an optional extra.
Creating the same stove type effect, this fireplace below comes with a fitted with the same LED image technology explained above with a concealed heater.
It can also be customised with a choice of fuel effects; White Pebbles/Glass Beads or Large Cinderwood set. If you are looking for a dramatic focal point, this is one to seriously consider.
With only a week now until the clocks go back here in the UK, it’s time to put the fire on and relax indoors for a while and what nicer way to do it, than with a glass of something warming in front of one of these fab fires.
I’ll be covering many more heating options over the next few months, so pop back to the blog soon to check them out.
Feature Image Source: Flameritefires