There’s nothing cosier than basking in the warm glow of a fireplace, especially when winter nights draw in. Book in one hand, hot chocolate in the other – we can practically hear the crackle.
Whether you have a fully-functional Victorian fireplace, a modern electric fireplace, or an empty fireplace that needs styling, we think that the right tools, accessories and décor can totally transform how it looks and operates.
If you have a working, wood-burning fireplace and a stockpile of kindling, you need all the tools to get a fire lit quickly, easily and safely. You should also make the most of your fireplace surround and dress it to suit your interior aesthetic.
For modern fireplaces and empty fireplaces, it’s all about the décor and how you style the area above and surrounding it. 'The fireplace has always been the centrepiece of the living room, and with some care and attention, you can turn it into a show-stopping focal point,' says Sam Hood, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at .
When it comes to maintaining a fireplace or keeping a fire going all evening long, there are key accessories to have on hand. Pokers, kindling baskets and fire screens are all essential to lighting a fire at the drop of the hat (don't forget a well-stocked supply of logs, too). Having everything ready to use means there is minimal fuss or delay when you want to get toasty.
It's also important to remember that in most homes, the fireplace is a strong visual focal point, especially when a fire is lit. As such, it's vital to choose accessories that not only work as practical fireplace tools, but look good too.
'The most important fireplace accessories to have are ones that complement the style of your fireplace,' says Owen Pacey, founder of Renaissance London. 'Ensure they're drawing the eye towards the mantelpiece and any corbels or details on the jambs. The best place to start is with fenders. Opt for antique or vintage styles with loads of character. Worn fabric upholstery, metallic studding details and quality metalwork are signs of a good pair. If your fireplace is particularly ornate, go wild with a filigree style, or stick to an Art Deco or more angular, restrained look with a simpler mantelpiece.
Art and ornaments are also important fireplace accessories. 'A large painting or photograph hung at the same width as the mantelpiece will create a balanced, considered look,' says Owen. 'Statement, contemporary art looks very cool with antique or reproduction fireplaces.'
Andrea Waters, Head of Brands at Portmeirion notes that you can style your fireplace even when it's not being actively used: 'A vase of flowers makes a beautiful addition to every fireplace. Display a bright bouquet of colourful botanicals in the centre of your mantelpiece to create a fun, welcoming and happy feeling in your room – ideal for the summer months when your fire isn't in use.'
If you invest in high-quality fireplace accessories and tools, they should have an incredibly long lifespan. Strong materials like iron mean that fireplace tool sets are ultra-durable and shouldn’t easily tarnish or break. This means you only need to replace your fireplace accessories as and when you feel like it. If you live in a period property and have a traditional fireplace, having classic accessories should mean that they don't really need to be replaced at all.
When it comes to fireplace décor and fireplace tool sets that are more decorative than practical, updating them is entirely based on how you want the room to look, which will vary over time (both seasonally and when completely overhauling your interior.)
'Good quality fenders and beautiful artwork should last a lifetime, but as your tastes change, so should the objects you have in your home. Fireplaces are surprisingly versatile when it comes to style or aesthetic, so rethinking your accessories can give your fireplace a whole new look,' Owen comments.
Garlands can be used to dress up a fireplace, as can lanterns. At Christmas, stockings can be hung from the mantelpiece for a traditional feel. These easy and quick changes can completely alter the look of your fireplace surround, ideal if you like to switch things up.
'Candles are a perfect way to add elegance and sophistication to your display,' says Sam, 'they can be used to add some height to the decorations, as well as a warm glow when the fire itself isn’t lit.
'You have some more flexibility when decorating the hearth, the bottom of the fireplace. Whilst symmetry also looks good here, you can create a mini display with a selection of three items such as candles, ornaments or other luxury home accessories. Groupings of three resonate really well and we find them particularly satisfying to view.'