3 Types Of Fireplaces That Work Great For Small Family Rooms

Posted on: 18 December 2015

Would you love a fireplace in your family room but don't feel as though you can afford the space for one? If so, don't give up hope just yet. Fireplace options have come a long way from their big, bold designs of long ago, and nowadays there's a style to suit just about every need. If you've got limited space in your family room but you want a fireplace, here are three ways to make it happen.

1. Fill A Nook With A Corner Fireplace

You may not have a whole wall to dedicate to a traditional flat-front fireplace, but chances are you have a little extra room hiding in a corner that will work just fine for a corner fireplace. The backs of corner fireplace surrounds are angled at 90 degrees, so they wedge flush into any regular corner of your home and leave more wall space open for your furniture layout. You can purchase electric corner fireplaces or corner fireplaces that burn wood or gas.

To maximize space in your family room once your fireplace is installed, use a corner mount to mount your television above your fireplace; yes, this is okay as long as you hang it high enough to maintain its operational temperature range. The fireplace and television will act as your room's focal point. You can bring the look together by pulling your furniture slightly away from the walls and angling it to face your corner fireplace. 

2. Go Double-Duty With A Raised-Hearth Fireplace

If you're not a fan of corner fireplaces, that's okay; here's another option. Go with a traditional flat-front wall fireplace, but elevate it with a raised hearth. By bringing your fireplace up off the floor a bit, you allow room for storage below. You can use this storage space for extra wood and/or to show off your knickknacks, or throw a few cushions on it and use it as toasty additional seating in a pinch.

For optimal comfort when using your raised hearth as seating, the sitting surface should rest 16-18 inches above the floor and be 55-18 inches deep. 

You can implement a raised hearth with a wood or gas-burning fireplace, or with an electric unit. Keep in mind, though, that limestone and slate can't handle the high-heat of wood-burning stoves, so if you opt for a wood-burning fireplace, stick with granite, marble, or soapstone when choosing your hearth material.

3. Swap A Window Out For A See-Through Fireplace

Chances are you don't have furniture sitting in front of your windows and blocking your view, so the wall space where your windows are is already available, and it's a prime location for a see-through fireplace.

You can have a see-through fireplace installed on the exterior wall of your home and reap the benefits both inside and out. Because both the front and back of the firebox is made from heat-resistant glass, see-through fireplaces take the place of windows when they're not in use. All major fireplace manufacturers offer their own models, but most of them are typically 16 inches deep, so they protrude only slightly into the living space. 

These units operate on propane or natural gas, but because they both release exhaust and draw fresh air from their exterior faces, they don't require any special venting. As long as your window size matches the size of the fireplace you get, installation is as simple as popping out your window, placing the see-through fireplace in the freed-up space, sealing the area around the fireplace, and then plugging the unit in.

Won't the glass on a see-through fireplace get sooty and obscure your view? Not unless your unit isn't functioning properly. Soot is caused by incomplete combustion, which is usually caused by insufficient oxygen amounts. Give your burners and your gas orifice an occasional scrub with a soft-bristle brush to keep them debris-free and you shouldn't have any problems with soot buildup. 

If you think you don't have room for a fireplace in your small family room, think again. Corner fireplaces, raised-hearth fireplaces, and see-through fireplaces all make excellent options for homeowners who have limited space but want to enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a glowing fire.

For more information, contact a company like Alpine Fireplaces.