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Fireplace Surrounds

How to Add a Functional Modern Fireplace as a Focal Point for an Empty Wall

A fireplace adds a warm and cozy focal point to any room in which it is placed. Since the earliest days of human existence, mankind has been drawn to gather around a fire or hearth. Having a fireplace in the home acts like a magnet during social gatherings. Everyone likes to gather around the fireplace. However, not all homes come equipped with this feature.

If you don't have a fireplace in your home, no need to despair. Even high-rise condos can add a new fireplace wall fairly easily. Modern fireplaces no longer require masonry chimneys in order to be functional. New gas fireplace boxes are available as direct vent or ventless, meaning no chimney. Electric fireplaces have also seen vast improvements in recent years and offer a more realistic looking flame than they did in the old days. Electric fireplaces do not require any venting or special wiring, only a standard electrical outlet to power them up. They are very clean and make an excellent alternative for any home where building a traditional chimney for a wood burning fireplace is not an option.

Modern fireplace surround and floating entertainment center with lightingBefore installation of modern fireplace surround and entertainment center with lighting
Combining the functions of home entertainment center and fireplace takes advantage of this hearth's natural draw for social gathering. This high-rise condo lacked a fireplace and chimney. Gas was not an option for the wall the homeowner wished to use for the fireplace either. An electric fireplace box was installed inside modern floating cabinetry to evoke the feeling of a built-in fireplace. The floating light bar above with the backlit television and asymmetric mantel further the upscale, modern look of the piece.

The subliminal emotions of friendliness and safety evoked by a warm hearth lie deep within the human psyche — they cannot be matched by any other type of home amenity.

Electric Fireplace Surround Tips:

The fireplace brings relaxation and comfort into the home, it is ideal for the living room, family room, bedroom or anywhere supplemental heat and a friendly ambiance is desired. Use these tips to make the most of your new electric fireplace.

  1. Cabinetry: The key to making an electric fireplace look like a high-end built-in fireplace is the use of cabinetry to surround the unit. Handled well, the cabinetry will make it look like it has always been there, not like a metal box stuck onto the wall. Electric ventless fireplaces can use wood product cabinets to surround the fireplace without fear of the fire leaving the box and burning the cabinet. Wood and laminate cabinets will be the easiest to customize and install around your new fireplace
  2. Contemporary: Electric fireplaces have a modern feeling to them and look best when surrounded by contemporary cabinetry and accessories, including floating cabinets.
  3. Add Accent Lighting: Even though the fireplace will add an ambient light source to the room with its beautiful warm glow, go a step further. Draw even more attention to your new fireplace with the use of focused LED lighting to spotlight the entire fireplace wall even when it is not in use. The use of light bridges and backlights in a warm temperature installed behind the TV mount will turn the entire installation into a work of art.
  4. Full Entertainment Center with Electronics: The fireplace will become a natural gathering place and focal point of the room. Take advantage of this by including a place for your home entertainment center electronics in the fireplace surround cabinetry.
  5. Automation: Modern ventless fireplaces can be turned on and off by remote control. This type of convenience is already part of your media center components. The fireplace remote control extends further functionality to the full home entertainment center experience. You can control the look and size of the flame, the amount of heat emitted by the unit (you even have the option for no heat, which is perfect for summertime use), and a fan for blowing the heat. These types of fireplaces also often include a timer, so that you can set your flame to turn on and off automatically.
    electric fireplace remote controlmodern fireplacemodern fireplace back side
    The basic components of a modern electric fireplace: the remote control and the front and back of the unit.
  6. Position: Locate your new fireplace entertainment center so that it dominates a major wall in the home. If this means an exterior wall, so much the better, as the fireplace can function as a supplemental source of heat.

Installation

An electric fireplace is easy to install. if you can hang a picture, you can install an electric fireplace box. The unit is available in various sizes and ships pre-assembled within a big metal black box with a glass front for viewing the flame. The box must be anchored to your wall studs but can be installed just about anywhere using simple screws. Some units allow for the option of hard-wiring, but most power up with a standard 3-prong plug that uses an ordinary 110v outlet.

The key to making the installation look professional is the use of custom cabinetry to wrap the unit and give it a built-in look. Whether you do-it-yourself of or call the professionals for help, a box built to surround the fireplace unit with another cabinet below for storage plus mantle above will go a long way to provide your home with a polished, upscale look. The box should act as a frame for the fireplace unit. The thicker the frame, the more substantial the fireplace will appear. Because it is electric and there is no actual fire, you do not need to use tile or brick to face the box. Any type of wood or laminate will work. You just need to pick a style to match your décor.

Owning a fireplace can truly enrich your living experience and tap into primal feelings of warmth and pleasure. It will always make always make your house or condo feel more like a home and serve as the focus of the room. When you wrap the fireplace with custom cabinetry, you create a built-in look and acts as a show-stopper focal point that you can be proud of as well. With such simple and easy installation, why not bring the benefits of owning a fireplace into your home?

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EXAMPLES OF FIREPLACE SURROUNDS:

Modern fireplace and fireplace surround with hidden TV cabinet
This fireplace surround includes a shallow cabinet with doors to hide the television, decorative glass shelves to display the owner's collection of art glass, plus cabinets that serve as a dry bar when entertaining.
See Project >



traditional fireplace surround and bookshelves
This traditional fireplace surround for a family room offers space for the owner's collection of books with cabinets below for media equipment and toys.
See Project >



Traditional fireplace surround with bookshelves and lower cabinets for storage
Traditional fireplace surround with bookshelves and lower cabinets for storage.
See Project >



Modern fireplace with bookshelves and cabinets on either side
Modern fireplace with wall units consisting of bookshelves and cabinets on either side.
See Project >