5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Fireplace

There’s nothing quite like the warm essence of a glowing fire. Fireplaces have evolved over time from domestic, utilitarian usage to the more visual focal point for entertainment. As the main attraction to any indoor living space, fireplaces create a delightful, cozy ambiance that instantly lights up the room. From decorative mantels to ignition systems, let's look at how small accessories can make a huge impact to your interior design.  

Mantels and Surrounds

Outdoor GreatRoom Gallery Linear Supercast Wood Mantel Gallery Linear Built-In Electric Fireplace GBL-44Gallery Linear Supercast Wood Mantel and Gallery Linear Built-In Electric Fireplace by Outdoor GreatRoom Co.

Furnishing your fireplace with a mantel or surround can take it from ordinary to an ornate, architectural grandeur. But what exactly is the difference between a mantel and a surround? How do I pick out the right one to match my current arrangement? 

For starters, a fireplace mantel is a shelving unit that hangs above the fireplace. They can be a simple beam, or a more elaborate framework complete with columns extending to the base of the fireplace. Adorning the top of the mantel with your favorite knick-knacks, family photos, or accent pieces gives the room a more personalized touch. On the other hand, a fireplace surround frames the fireplace and gives it a seamless design. Whether sleek lines or lavishly embroidered details are more your taste, both units provide the fireplace with a more finished and polished look. So regardless if you have a wood burning, gas, electric, or bioethanol fueled fireplace, a decorative mantel or surround gives it a posh appeal. 

Fire Glass

Starfire Glass Half Inch Starfire Glass and Quarter Inch Pacific Blue Reflective Fire Glass1/2" Non-Reflective Starfire Glass and 1/4" Pacific Blue Reflective Fire Glass by Starfire Glass

Another trick to enhancing the appearance of your fireplace without a total overhaul is with some fire glass. These small but convenient accessories effectively hide the fireplace burner and are packed with style. Fire glass comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes to add a fun and customizable DIY aspect without breaking the bank. Non-reflective options are great for adding color and are even offered in reflective and pre-mixed blends for adding that lustrous elegance and flair your indoor space needs. Regardless which style you prefer, the practicality and decorative function of fire glass make a fantastic display even when your fireplace is not in use. But when temperatures drop and the chilly weather rises, there's no denying the mesmerizing sparkle fire glass emanates underneath the glow of a radiant fire. 

Gas Logs 

Real Fyre Vented Gas LogsVented Gas Logs by Real Fyre

Keep the traditional look of a wood burning fireplace alive with gas logs which are a great alternative to their conventional counterparts. Enjoying the appeal of a wood burning fireplace without the fuss of ash flying around makes leisure time much more relaxing. From deep brown earth tones and ash-gray hues, to the grooved detailed channels and bulbous burls natural to the wood, there are a variety of selections available that are certain to add texture to your fireplace. The functional design of gas logs ensures that when it comes time to unwind, you don't have to worry about replenishing the wood nor cleaning up a mess after the fire dies down. 

Fire Shapes and Fireplace Media 

Real Fyre AcornsProducts by Real Fyre from left to right: Acorn AccessoriesFireplace Ember Glow, and Wood Chip Ring

To maintain a campfire-like aesthetic, there are other fireplace media that can boost your entertainment space. Twigs can add volume and height to your fireplace whereas pine cones offer a truly unique, rustic charm. No matter how you choose to customize your fireplace, these unique fire shapes make bringing the outdoors easy in the comfort of your own home. The realistic appearance of these fire shapes add girth to gas logs and give the flames a fuller, more natural look. 

Bryte coals and glowing embers are the perfect fireplace fillers that can truly enhance the look of your gas log set. Like fire glass, these fireplace media lay out as a bed underneath your fireplace log burner and are used to mask unsightly controls and knobs. The great thing about glowing embers and bryte coals are that they glow red. Reminiscent of hot embers, these small accessories add depth to your log set by mimicking the impression of real burning wood and giving it an authentic feel. 

Ignition System

Real Fyre Direct Vent Insert iSeries Intermittent Electronic Ignition SystemElectronic Ignition System by Real Fyre

Upgrading your fireplace's ignition system can make all the difference when it comes to relaxing beside the dancing flames. Enjoy the night at your leisure with a safety pilot or electronic pilot system. A Safety Pilot Kit is a fantastic addition for any fireplace. This option includes a standing pilot, which means a flame is continuously burning whenever a fuel source is present. Should the flames blow out, the safety shutoff feature automatically stops the gas flow from your burner and prevents it from leaking into your home.  

Alternatively, an Electronic Pilot Kit is a non-standing pilot that contains a flame-sensing fuel activation feature that is automatically lit only at the time your fireplace is in use. Since the pilot flame is only activated when you're using it, not having to worry about the flames being on during the off-season makes it extremely convenient and one less thing to worry about. Depending on the upgrade, wall switches and remote controls are often included and make lounging much more satisfying. 

As they say, "home is where in the hearth is". We can agree that enhancing your fireplace can be as ornate as adding a mantel or as simple as upgrading your ignition system. Adding texture and creating authenticity is easy with gas logs, a dash of bryte coals, and maybe some glowing embers. But if you’re craving something more modern with lots of vibrancy and luster, perhaps fire glass might be a better choice for you. No matter how you decide to personalize your entertainment space, there are a variety of options to suit every need. For more information on ways to upgrade your fireplace, live chat us on our site, email us at info@starfiredirect.com, or call us at (866) 578-8538.

Main Image: Surround for 29" Electric Fireplace Insert and 29" Electric Fireplace Insert by Outdoor GreatRoom Co.


Stephany Phimmasouk

An avid rock climber, Stephany is one of the Ecommerce team members responsible for the addition and maintenance of product listings on the website.