An electric fireplace can enhance your home decor and meet your home heating needs at the same time. It's easy to use and it doesn't involve any of the muss or fuss of the wood burning variety. There's no wood to buy and store ahead of time. There's no ash or charred wood to clean up afterwards, and no creosote to form on the inside of the chimney, putting you at risk for a chimney fire.
A good electric fireplace will come with a 120-volt heater with a built-in thermostat to take care of your heating needs. A 1400 watt model can put out 4,600 BTUs. A 2600 watt model can put out 8,700 BTUs. It should also have controls for the flame speed and contrast to make sure the decorative aspect is shown off to best effect as well.
Electric fireplaces can fit in any space. A standard model will be about 36 inches wide and 31 inches tall. The shallow depth-about 14 inches-adds versatility to your placement options.
With no gas line and no venting, an electric fireplace is quite simple to install. It can be placed wherever it will be most effective, without worrying about having to hook it up to anything except the electricity. Electric fireplaces can be found in the same styles as the wood burning variety, from classic to contemporary.
Consider an old-fashioned fireplace with double doors and a simple arch framed in hammered wrought iron for a traditional effect. Getting the frame in black, hammered pewter, or vintage copper can vary the effect.
Take away the wrought iron and smooth out the front to give the fireplace a more "country" or "prairie" look. Or go in the other direction and have the wrought iron design extend onto the face of the front in a leaf or plant design. Some simple grill work above can also give a rugged effect to the piece.
A smooth, single front is also an option for a more contemporary, uncluttered look. This will give you greater visibility of the fire itself. The simplest of these designs is a rectangle, perhaps with a few horizontal lines above and below. This front can look surprisingly elegant and serves to draw attention to the fire rather than to itself.
Other fronts can be far more ornate. Geometric designs above and below can add to the feel. Square designs give a more rugged look. Ovals and curves give a more flowing feeling. An ornate braided pattern may be what's right for you. Leaves and flowers incorporated into the curves provide a different look. A simple Greek squarish spiraling pattern can also look quite nice.
As with the two-doored variety, adding an arch to the basic rectangle can give an elegant, lifting effect to the whole look of the front.