A gas fireplace can provide the look and feel of burning wood without the muss and fuss. There's no need to buy firewood and find a place to store it. And after you're done, there's no need to clean up ash and charred wood. Creosote doesn't build up on the inside of your chimney, creating the risk of chimney fires and necessitating cleaning.
In fact, a gas fireplace doesn't even have a chimney! That makes it far easier to install and to maintain. It does need to expel gases and fumes, however. So a gas fireplace should be installed along an outside wall so that the vent can be connected to the outside.
Gas fireplaces are easy to operate. All it takes is the flip of a switch. Most models even come with a remote control so you can flip that switch without leaving the comfort of your easy chair. Once on, the gas fireplace will provide consistent, thermostatically controlled heat that can warm a room or even a moderate-sized home.
A small gas fireplace is all you need to heat a master bedroom or cozy living area. Something that puts out around 20,000 BTUs should do the trick.
For a larger living area, choose a gas fireplace that can put out around 30,000 BTUs. For the truly large space, it's possible to find a gas fireplace that puts out over 50,000.
If there's space, you may want to consider a "deep" fire. The deep fire effect is created by having the front extend somewhat into the living area. The usual design involves three front panels-two sticking out diagonally from the sides and one running flat across the front. This simple design can have a remarkable effect. It makes the fire visible from three sides instead of from the front alone. So even though it takes up a small amount of space, it can create more useable space in the process.
Still, if you don't have the space, you don't have the space. A simple "slim" fireplace with a flat front is also available. It provides a lovely and romantic backdrop to any room.
Going the other direction, if you've got lots of space, you can get a gas fireplace that doesn't recess into the wall at all. Instead, this fireplace juts out into the room with sides that are actually longer than the front. The entire fireplace is visible from three sides. This can work as a semi-divider between a living room and dining room. It also provides plenty of mantle space on top for whatever decorations you'd like to place there.
Completing the list of more exotic options, you can have a gas fireplace that services two rooms at once. Put one on the corner between two rooms to provide a dramatic focal point and bring the rooms together a bit. Or put a double-sided unit in a wall between two rooms. The fireplace can be controlled and enjoyed from either room while providing depth and a feeling of greater space to both rooms at the same time.
Whatever style you choose, a good gas fireplace can add significantly to the resale value of your home without requiring a lot of maintenance while you live there. You won't feel the appliance is more trouble to use than it's worth. And even when it's not in use, it will provide a decorative enhancement that is sure to please.