Finding fireplace screens that match the decor of your home can be challenging if you have eclectic tastes. In the past, a screen for your home’s fireplace really served a much more practical function. Without it, your house could be at risk for burning down. This is especially true if your fireplace burns real logs. Now, if you have a real wood burning fireplace this might sound funny to you. However, there are many homes and zones in the country where newly constructed homes have all gas fireplaces without chimneys. These fireplaces simply vent the heat into the room to provide some warmth from that mostly decorative fire. The ‘logs’ are usually made of a fire resistant material or can be lava rocks or even glass.
Some more hip hotels have made part of their decor to incorporate lava rock and glass rock firepits or ‘fire channels’ – long narrow stretches of this rock or glass with the gas emitted down the length – in and around pool areas or outside lounging locations. These outdoor fireplace designs are a big hit and make for a very nice effect.
Common Fireplace Screens
As you have seen from the pictures on this site already that there are a variety of styles for fireplace screens. There are really more local tastes when it comes to these things. Some areas of the country tend to favor a certain style over another, likely based upon fireplace styles themselves. So, it isn’t really a matter of what is the most common as it is what is the most common type for that style of fireplace.
In homes where there is a large fireplace opening (greater than 36 inches wide) a simple screen is usually used. This is mostly due to the fact that these large fireplaces make a dramatic statement all their own and having an overly ornate screen might be too much for the space. This is not some hard and fast rule, but it does seem to be common. A very similar ‘rule’ can be used for your fireplace mantel shelves as well. You don’t need to follow some specific formula, just use your best judgment for what your space allows.
So, a screen that has a simple shape to it – like rectangular or arched to follow the curve of the firebox opening itself – with some minor adornment might be used. These can be mounted around your fireplace with a door that opens for access to the fire or may simply be a movable screen placed in front of the opening. A fixed unit will require very accurate measurements to ensure that the fit is right and will not leave you with gaps that can become potential fire hazards.
Other styles that have much detail to them are popular as well. These are more common with smaller scale fireplaces, but could be found in one with a larger dimension. The detail work could range from simple repeating scroll work to including animals and figurines in the details. These types can be made using a variety of metal working techniques. They can be cut out details from a solid piece, they can be made using scrolling jigs and tools or they can be cast. Forging of specific pieces is also an option, though more common with the custom design that a blacksmith would employ – you can read more about this style below.
Another option is a fireplace screen that has doors. This type is usually outfitted with two bi-fold type doors with a hanging screen that slides open and closed to allow access to the fire. Due to the nature of this type, it is a fixed wall model. The doors are typically metal-framed glass doors. The metal is often brass but could easily be found in a steel or even bronze finish. It all depends upon the decor of your space.
You can always opt for a custom designed and even hand forged fireplace screen to make yours one-of-a-kind. Anyone who is truly blacksmithing to design and build your screen will be a true crafstman. Expect to pay much more for this type of hand hammered detail. These can run into the thousands for a screen with any degree of adornment or detail work.
Decorative Fireplace Screens
This type of screen seemed to need its own special category. While they still serve to keep hot coals from popping into your space, their purpose is more home decor in nature. You can get a very big statement from an elegant screen for your fireplace.
Some styles need to be made strictly by hand in order to get all the detail that you desire from that decorative screen. At times, casting may be employed if there are several or many repeating patterns that can be made more quickly by using a form.
In the past, fireplace covers were used on potbelly-type wood burning fireplaces. These were made of thick iron and would radiate the heat for hours after the fire burned. The heat would allow a room to stay comfortable for quite some time in a safe manner as there was no holes for the embers to pop through.
More modern takes on the fireplace are having the log area itself being replaced by candles and other decorative arrangements. This makes for a much simpler clean-up and certainly eliminates the need for fireplace tools. Well, it eliminates the need for them functionally, but the look of a nice handmade set of tools never really goes out of style in a room. With one of these more modern fireplaces, sometimes there is nothing in the space for the logs itself but the screen may have a candle decorative element to it.
In other words, the screen may have little candle holders or saucer-like dishes in which you can place little tea lights or some other type of small candle. This way, the screen actually is providing the fire and the look. This is definitely not your standard fireplace or screen for that matter, but the styles are ever changing. And, in homes with those ‘chimney-less’ fireplaces, this type of screen just may be the way to go.