cozy fireplace

A fireplace or fire pit is a coveted feature for any home, but most people aren’t aware of how many different kinds there are. Different models of fireplaces and firepits can range from simple to complex, price-conscious to expensive, and practical to aesthetic, but survey data reveals that no matter the type, most homebuyers will pay extra for a home with this feature. 

The most obvious difference between fireplaces and firepits is that one is indoors while the other is outdoors (of course, duh!). Outdoor fire pits are most practical for warmth in cooler seasons, and they are great for outdoor gatherings and for keeping bugs away with smoke. Indoor fireplaces are typically more aesthetic than outdoor ones and are great for cozy Christmas or Halloween gatherings. (1) (2)

Besides the obvious, though, there are different types of fireplaces and firepits that most people are not aware of. If you're considering adding this cozy touch to your home, use this guide to discover what may work best for you. Let's start with fireplaces:


-Wood Burning Fireplace: Wood burning fireplaces are the oldest and most common type of indoor fireplace. Types of wood burning fireplaces are traditional open hearth, enclosed fireplaces, fireplace inserts, and wood burning stoves. Traditional open hearth fireplaces are typically made of stone or brick and have all the authentic parts of an outdoor fire, complete with crackling noises. However, they are not great at heating large spaces and require chimney ventilation. Enclosed fireplaces are wood burning fireplaces with large glass panels overlaying it so that it is not as scalding hot when you are close to it, and more of the heat is able to circulate the room. Fireplace inserts are a way to make your traditional open hearth fireplace more heat-efficient by simply inserting it into your old fireplace. Wood burning stoves are little different than traditional fireplaces, and they allow you to burn wood to heat a dwelling without a whole structure of a fireplace and chimney. However, it still does require a pipe to vent smoke outside. 


-Gas Burning Fireplace: Gas burning fireplaces are usually cleaner and able to create more heat for a lower cost, but in turn, they sacrifice the authentic feel of wood burning fireplaces. Direct-vented built-in fireplaces are vented similar to wood burning fireplaces and can be built into an existing chimney structure, or they can vent through a pipe. Ventless built-in fireplaces can be installed anywhere and do not need a chimney or pipe. However, these fireplaces are usually less hot and less authentic, since the flame is blue instead of yellow like the direct-vented gas fireplaces. 


-Ethanol Burning Fireplace: Ethanol burning fireplaces are gaining popularity due to their relative cleanliness and lack of odor. Also, they are seen as environmentally and price friendly, although they do not produce as much heat as other fireplaces. Fireplace conversion fireplaces are a way to convert your existing fireplace into an ethanol burning one by simply using an ethanol burning insert. Wall mounted fireplaces are great for aesthetics, since it allows you to mount your fireplace on any wall and feel heat from it while it doubles as a piece of art. Tabletop fireplaces vary in sizing and are easily portable to different areas in the home, making it a great option for more indecisive decorators. 


Best Ventless Tabletop Fireplace

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-Electric: Electric fireplaces are easy to control and relatively cheap, while still doing the job of heating a room and looking similar to a wood burning fireplace. Mantel electric fireplaces are set up very similar to traditional fireplaces, but without the hassle of venting or cleaning up burnt wood. Electric fireplace TV stands are similar to mantel electric fireplaces, but come built into furniture, like an entertainment center or TV stand to conserve space. (3)

And then there's your fire pit:


-Wood Burning Fire Pit: Wood burning fire pits are the closest you can get to a campfire in the woods, and there are a few different types of these outdoor fire pits like stone or brick, wood burning grill, and outdoor fireplace. Stone and brick fire pits are built into the ground and immobile, while wood burning grills and outdoor fire pits are moveable to anywhere in an outdoor space.

 -Propane Fit Pit: Propane fire pits use propane gas instead of wood and they give you the ability to control how strong you want the flames to be by releasing more or less propane. Copper bowl fire pits are propane fire pits that are usually on the more expensive side, but stay around for a long time. Propane portable fire pits are moveable and usually light in their design while still emitting a good amount of heat. A fire pit table uses propane gas to light a small fire built into an outdoor table so that there is still enough room to sit and eat around it. 

Fire Pit Tables • Insteading

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-Gel Fuel Fire Pits: Gel fuel fire pits are vent free and use burning gel canisters for a fuel source. They don’t require any power or hook-up, so they can be moved wherever and lit simply with a match. Types of gel fuel fire pits are tabletop fire pits similar to a propane fire pit table, and gel fueled logs that burn similar to regular logs and provide the same ambiance as a traditional wood burning fire pit, but without the filth. 


-Natural Gas Fire Pits: Natural gas fire pits are similar to propane fire pits, but they provide an endless supply of gas through a gas line, rather than having to replace a propane tank every time. However, this makes them highly immobile, and they require high start-up costs. Sunken design natural gas fire pits are an underground version of a natural gas fire pit while table top natural gas fire pits raise the flames from the ground by building in a stone foundation. (4)


Taking the information above, have you decided which type of fireplace (or fire pit) best suits you? Below are some additional images from MAKING DREAMS Realty listings that have fireplaces or fire pits of their own. Can you guess which types each of these are?  


Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

Image from MDR | Janesville, WI

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Blog Contributor: Rachel Clark | Social Media Marketing Specialist for MDR