Thursday, September 17, 2009

Light a Fire!

As the days get darker, and the air begins cooling in most regions, you will begin to catch the scent of crackling bonfires burning those dry, crunchy leaves. It can't help but inspire a person to cozy up and light a fire of their own. If you already have a fireplace then it may just be a matter of gathering wood or flicking a switch on your gas insert. Then there are those, like me, who simply don't have a fireplace but would like to enjoy the glow of a warm hearth. Nowadays there are a variety of options to bring the look and feel of a fire into the most limited of homes, without the upkeep or mess. Here are a few to consider:


These fireplaces are probably the most realistic of all the fireplace alternatives, but can also be the most expensive because of the ongoing cost involved. These fireplaces come in a variety of styles to fit your home decor, are portable, throws a real flame and even generates heat as well. The expense comes from the fact that you have to replace gel cans every time you run out of fuel. Cans last up to 3 hours, which can usually be purchased in packs of 24 for $50-$75, but some fireplaces require more than one can for optimal results, which means an even bigger investment. Might be worth it for some, but it may limit a person's desire to turn it on as often for that reason.


I had an electric fireplace in my last home and absolutely loved it! I can't tell you how many times we turned it on throughout the Fall and Winter...sometimes even in the warmer months. The great thing about electric fireplaces is their lack of upkeep. I also like the fact that, like the gel fuel fireplaces, most generate heat and are portable. It can warm a small room, and feels good on the toes. Even my cat liked that feature! Overall, I found the flames to look pretty real, though you may still get a sense that's it's not quite authentic. It doesn't take long to get used to, and there are plenty of higher quality units that increase in realism. Also like the gel fuel fireplaces, the electric fireplaces come in a vast array of styles and cabinets. You can even buy an insert and install it yourself, like the popular one by Dimplex.


For my new apartment this was the way to go! It's probably the most economical, ranging anywhere from $50-$100, and requires the least amount of space. You can use the log in your traditional fireplace or you can set it inside a bookshelf, entertainment stand or cubby for your own makeshift fireplace. The possibilities are endless! In the case of the log set, it does not generate heat but rather has a more subtle flickering effect under the ashes along with a realistic crackling sound to accompany it. I was pretty skeptical about how well it would work, but I must say I am impressed! You certainly can't beat it for the money, and the look of the real logs certainly add a very realistic touch.


Not exactly a fireplace substitute, but there are many candle holders and sets made to give the look of a fireplace. Some have the look of logs while others set inside an empty fireplace and make for great decoration. The cost greatly depends on which set you choose, and I'm sure with a little creativity a person could even create something similar at a fraction of the cost. Tea candles are a nice, economical way to go and though it may not be quite the same as a true open flame, you can still enjoy the glow of a real fire.


If worse comes to worse there is always one more option! Try turning your TV or computer screen into a fireplace. There are many yule log DVDs that can be purchased, as well as some nice screen savers. The Fireplace 3D Screensaver is the one I use, but there are many to be found by doing a quick search online. One nice enhancement is that some come with accompanying music, or you can choose your own favorite tunes to play in the background. Whatever method you choose, you are sure to add warmth to any room!

Click pictures for purchasing info!


Sally said...

Interesting, I just saw that has a virtual fireplace DVD called Screen Dreams for only $3.99 + free shipping!

Jakki said...

That was a good deal...looks they're all sold out! Did you get one?