The fireplace has long filled the primal need for warmth and comfort during chilly winters. Its traditional wood-burning task is declining, however, as the need for energy efficiency and environmental concerns are on the rise.
One environmentally friendly option is a flue-less, open fireplace. The unit can be installed almost anywhere and is fueled by clean-burning and renewable denatured ethanol. Visit www.ecosmartfire.com to see whether this is the right choice for you. A gas fireplace is another option or warmth without wood. Choices range from contained fireplace units mounted on a wall to freestanding gas stoves or gas logs. There are vented and vent-free gas log choices, so you will want to do some research to decide which is best for your home. One helpful site is www.fireplace.com.
If you have a fireplace that is not in use, some great decorating opportunities await you. For a welcoming presentation, fill large wicker baskets with Indian corn and gourds of various sizes along with stems of wheat, acorns, pinecones, and miniature pumpkins. Place this basket in the clean fireplace or on the hearth in front. Placing a tall, wrought iron candelabra on the hearth is another way to outfit your fireplace in style.
Whichever option you choose, remember that the fireplace is traditionally a symbol of welcoming warmth, and you can use it to your advantage.