Do you have a fireplace in the living room? If not, here’s why you should:
A fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere
How do you wind down in the evening? If you don’t have a fireplace to sit in front of, you’re missing out. Especially if you’re married, or have a significant other. There’s nothing like snuggling on the couch in front of a fire with your loved one.
Having a fireplace to curl up in front of is an ideal scenario most people have in mind, thanks to the entertainment industry. Fireplaces have historically been a staple in nearly every romantic movie Hollywood has produced. There’s always a scene where a couple is tucked away in a cozy corner sipping wine in front of a roaring fire. That scene can be your reality, too, whether you get a traditional vented fireplace or an electric fireplace.
The right fireplace will heat your home for the cost of wood
There’s a difference between a fireplace and a wood stove. The former is more for visual appeal, and the latter will heat your home for the cost of wood. A traditional fireplace isn’t going to keep you warm unless you sit directly in front of the fire. A wood stove can potentially heat your entire home, depending on the size and how well your home is insulated.
The best way to install a wood stove is to surround it with material that will retain and radiate the heat produced by the stove. For example, many people build a concrete enclosure for their wood stove, or stack cinder blocks on either side.
The best wood stoves have a cooktop that allows you to boil water for tea and coffee, and even cook. If you’re living in a modern-style house, you may not want to go that rustic, so perhaps a traditional fireplace will do.
You need someplace to hang your Christmas stockings
Since most kids (and many adults) today are glued to their mobile devices, it’s been a while since Santa’s had to slide down an actual chimney to deliver a gift. He may have forgotten the protocol. Small gifts go in the stockings hanging from the mantel. Big gifts go under the tree.
Some fireplaces don’t come with a mantel, especially some modern in-wall units. However, you can buy a fireplace mantel that matches your home décor, and install it fairly easily.
If you hang your Christmas stockings from a table because you don’t have a mantel, you may end up with empty stockings. If that happens, check your sock drawer just in case. Santa’s fairly resourceful even when he’s rusty.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, having a mantel is a good reason to decorate according to the season. In Spring, dress up your mantel in pastels and colorful flowers. In Autumn, collect some leaves from your yard and have the kids spruce them up in a craft project and display them on the mantel.
Pinecones make brilliant décor, especially pinecones that look like roses or the elongated pinecones with two distinct, alternating colors.
If you need even more ideas for decorating your mantel, check out these ideas on Pinterest.
Watching a roaring fire lowers stress
A University of Alabama research study found that watching a crackling fire lowers blood pressure. The study had 266 adults watch a video of a fireplace, some with sound and some without. Those who watched the video with sound experienced a 5% decrease in blood pressure. The longer they watched, the more relaxed they became. Those who watched without sound – and those who watched an upside-down video of the fire – experienced an increase in blood pressure.
According to the anthropologist who conducted the study, gathering around a fire is an act dating back to prehistoric times. It makes sense that we’d find it relaxing; gathering around a fire is an innate way to foster social interaction and create a bond between people. Starting a fire in prehistoric times required significant group cooperation to gather wood, kindling, keep the fire going, and cook – all in conditions that could sometimes be detrimental to maintaining a fire.
Get the fireplace you’ve always wanted
If you want a fireplace in your home, you don’t need a fancy reason. Just wanting one is enough. If you can’t afford a full, traditional fireplace, opt for a small wood stove. You can get one for nearly any budget, and you’ll have the same beautiful flames to stare into on a cold night.