Turn your fireplace into a showpiece

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

Fireplaces give a room a focal point and add loads of character. Here's how to choose the right fireplace for your home.

There are a few things that make a home stand out. A beautiful kitchen, appealing bathroom designing and a garden brimming with flowers are but a few. An impressive fireplace also falls under this banner.

Says Debra Retief, marketing manager at Tile Africa: “Whatever the weather, a fireplace is a natural focal point in any room. People naturally gravitate to rooms with fireplaces and use them to stay warm in winter. Given their role in the home, it’s really important to get this feature right and give it the opportunity to not only play a functional role but the role of a show piece too.”

Keep it traditional
Although there are myriad modern fireplaces available on the market, there’s nothing quite like a traditional wood burning fireplace says Retief.

“Many aspire to pulling up an armchair on a cold winter’s night and indulging their senses in a crackling wood fire. The sight of flickering flames and sound of crackling logs is hard to resist and people like to make the most of this experience by showcasing it accordingly.”

Branch out from brick
Generally speaking, traditional fireplaces are either clad with brick, hemmed in with wood or feature painted plaster. Retief suggests branching out from these traditional materials and trying something completely different, such as tile. Available in almost endless colours and styles, tile can bring a distinctive look to an otherwise dull fireplace.

“Just be sure to check with a tile consultant or masonry professional to determine what materials and application are best suited for your specific fireplace,” notes Retief.

A twist on tile
If straightforward tiles don’t appeal to you, perhaps pebble-style tiles such as those carried by Tile Africa will. These tiles can be used to clad fireplaces and are available in a range of colours.

Notes Retief: “Depending on your preferences and the look you are trying to create in the room, you can choose either a stacked pebble or flat pebble style tile. For instance, if you’re looking to create a more natural look, the stacked pebble tile will work well. If a more sophisticated, clean space is what you’re after, a flat, neutral coloured pebble tile offset with grey grout will probably appeal more to you.”

Retief adds that the pebble style tiles usually add a warm element to a room and don’t require any special maintenance.

Try marble on for size:
If you really want to make a statement and your budget allows, go big and clad your fireplace with marble says Retief.

“Marble tiles are ideal for those who want to create a really grand impression. Generally speaking, marble tiles work well in rooms where they can be extended in a large-scale pattern all the way to the ceiling. What’s more is that marble tiles come in a variety of colours which means they can be easily incorporated into most settings.”

The rustic look
No matter the advances within the fireplace space, rustic style fireplaces will always have their place says Retief.

“Sandstone tiles are particularly well suited to rustic settings. The texture and golden hues associated with sandstone immediately impart a rustic quality which is hard to beat and can be easily paired with wooden furniture and simple, natural tones.”

Round it off
Once you have clad your fireplace in the material of your choice, be sure to finish it off with the right touches says Retief.

“A few accessories, the right paint colour on surrounding walls and appropriate furniture can help create a cohesive look and bring out the best in your fireplace.”

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