The little black dress has always been a wardrobe basic, but jewelry adds the sparkle. At home, a few well-placed accessories can dress up a basic fireplace too. According to a 2004 consumer survey conducted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), homeowners with a gas or wood-burning fireplace consider it a major design feature, with many describing it as an architectural element.
But now it s time to play dress up! A variety of hearth accessories are available, in styles to fit the taste of virtually every fireplace owner. Whether buying a matching set of accessories, or pulling the look together piece by piece, be sure to consider all the options.
If the fireplace doesn t have a mantel, consider adding one. A mantel can provide a finished look, and can make a small fireplace look bigger. Whether choosing a mantelshelf, or a full surround mantel, be sure the design complements the room, and neither overwhelms nor underwhelms the size of the firebox. An eye-catching fireplace screen -- available at home centers and specialty hearth retailers -- costs a little, installs in seconds, and creates an instant focal point. Whether your style is contemporary, Victorian, country, art deco or just eclectic, there are screens that will blend seamlessly with your home.
Firesets are a necessity for wood burning fireplaces and are a great decoy for gas fireplaces. They include a brush, ash shovel, and poker mounted in a decorative stand. For wood-burning fireplaces, a log holder is a must. Styles and finishes run the gamut. Choose an open, grate-like wrought iron holder, or perhaps a chrome-plated, basket-type holder, or fender. Select a style or material to complement the other hearth pieces. For a perfect finishing touch set out a brass match holder, an old-fashioned bellows, or beautifully styled andirons.
In the summer, clean out the firebox, remove the logs, and insert a decorative candleholder or a piece of interesting artwork. Of course, no hearth is complete without a shiny brass cricket for good luck. Basics are good -- but accessorizing is better!