By Hebe Hatton
It's the perfect time of year to be inspired by wood burner ideas. The days are getting shorter, the nights a little chillier and we are yearning for the smell of burning firewood. There's just something about a log burner that feels so... traditional. Of course, gas fires offer a more instant warmth, but nothing beats piling in the wood and getting the flames going yourself. Plus, wood burners are by far the most efficient fireplace idea, heating a room more quickly and effectively than an open fire.
There's no denying they look beautiful too, adding an instant focal point to any room. And wood burners now come in all shapes and sizes so if your style is modern country or sleek and minimalist you'll easily find a design to suit your space.
'Great for small or large living rooms, indoor stoves are the ideal option for keeping a room toasty during the winter months. In the past ten years, we’ve seen a move towards stoves that are more contemporary in style. People want to be able to enjoy viewing the fire itself too, which is why the ability to view the flames has become more of a draw for customers.' says Declan Kingsley-Walsh, Managing Director of Morsø. 'Glass panels are now bigger and wider, so one can really enjoy the beauty of a log fire, which contrasts to older wood-burning stoves which used to have smaller windows. Contemporary stoves tend to complement open-plan, larger and minimalistic spaces, whereas more traditional models tend to suit cozier, country-style homes'
So whether you have an old relic you want to give a new lease of life or want to invest in a new log burner for the cooler months, we have rounded up all our favorite looks to provide all the inspiration you need.
1. Mirror the flue with floor to ceiling log storage
If you already own a wood burner, you'll be aware of the constant flow of wood that needs to come into the house over the winter months. You'll find you start storing it in every available nook and cranny of your home. Luckily logs looks lovely and rather than try and stash them away taking up valuable under stair storage or cluttering up the cloakroom, get them out on display.
Often associated with more rustic interiors, this sleek modern living room idea proves that log piles aren't just for country homes. The narrow floor-to-ceiling cubby is simple but effective and creates a nice symmetry with the flue too.
2. Build storage around a wood burner
Make a wood burner even more of a focal point by building in wrap-around shelving. Be inspired by this wood burner idea and factor in some larger shelves for wood storage and use the rest to add some color and texture with books and decor.
Just be sure to leave enough space around the fire, you should leave around 150mm clearance on either side. Or if you are leaving the flue exposed, as in this space, it must be positioned at least three times its width away from any potentially combustible materials.
3. Make a bathroom extra cozy
Because wood burners aren't just for living rooms, they can make a lovely cozy addition to a bathroom. However, unless you have been blessed with a fireplace in your bathrooms, having a wood burner installed in a bathroom could be a pricey job. So pinch this wood burner idea and fake the look (no judgment here) with a beautiful antique piece that might not light but will still add so much character and interest to a bathroom.
In this bathroom, owned and designed by Janet Parrella-van den Berg, an antique water boiler breaks up the all-white scheme and adds the same rustic touch as a wood burner. Pile some logs next to it and no one need know it doesn't actually work...
4. Match a wood burner to the walls
Log burners don't just come in standard black, many modern manufacturers have embraced more colorful finishes and you can now find a stove in a rainbow of shades. So for a cohesive scheme, match the shade of your log burner to the color of the walls. In this traditional blue living room, the white and soft navy scheme feels fresh and classic and it's not interrupted by a bulky black stove at the center of the room. White stoves are having a bit of a moment right now too, ideal for clean, minimalist spaces where you want the warmth and coziness of a stove but not the visual bulk.
5. Give a traditional brick surround a modern update
More traditional fireplaces and wood burners are synonymous with exposed brick. And while it's a classic look, a large raw brick chimney breast can be imposing and take over a room. So if you don't want to lose any of that lovely texture but don't want a brick wall to be the main feature of your wall, copy this dining room idea and paint the bricks white (or whatever color to match the walls in the rest of the room). You still get the rustic nature of the brick without the drama of an obvious feature wall.
6. Turn logs into a rustic display (with caution)
This wood burner idea comes with a health warning, as while it may look lovely to stack wood up either side of your fireplace, you can only do so when the stove is not in use or if you have a disused stove only used for display. So throughout the spring and summer, this is a lovely way to still make your stove a feature but come winter, be sure to move your logs from the external surfaces of the wood burner. Instead, create a similar rustic feature with log baskets or stack them, up in alcoves.
7. Inset a stove for a sleek contemporary look
For a more contemporary look, opt for a sleek inset wood burner. None of the fuss of an exposed flue but all the coziness of a roaring fire. Plus, this gives you more flexibility with the height of your stove so you can raise it off the ground, and make it more of a feature at eye level. Factor in log storage, for a sleeker alternative to a log basket and mirror the dimensions of the fireplace so the overall look is minimalistic and symmetrical.
8. Blend an original wood burner with modern styles
Traditional log burners and exposed brick hearths needn't only be reserved for cottage country style. Juxtapose the traditional design with more modern pieces as can be seen in this living room. The overall feel is minimalist and slight mid-century with the sleek lines and brilliant white walls and yet and the wood burner and the exposed brick of the Ingle Nook just tips it into Scandi territory, which is only added too with the layers of texture.
9. Add a pop of color with a bold wood burner
How fabulous is this glossy red wood burner? It feels so cool and retro against the clean white fireplace tiles and works so well to bring out the rest of the splashes of red throughout the room. The striking look is softened slightly with the layers of warm grey and tactile fabrics, but it remains the clear focal point of the room.
10. Give a wood burner elegance with a marble surround
Ornate, elegant fireplace surrounds are usually associated with open fires, but as this elegant living room proves, a wood burner can be just as at home surrounded by a classic marble fireplace. This way you get all the benefits of a wood burner and don't lose the classic look of a fireplace. And if you haven't be blessed with an original marble surround, shop second-hand for a vintage piece that can be installed around a wood burner.
How can you make a log burner look nice?
'The styling of a stove can significantly impact a home's aesthetic. For a contemporary space, think about keeping the area around the stove minimal to achieve a streamlined scheme.' recommends Declan Kingsley-Walsh. 'In addition to this, less is more, and interior decor in a neutral colour palette will allow the stove's warm dancing flames to be the focal point. However, if a room requires more character, consider positioning simple accessories and ornaments like vases on the hearth or floor to add a subtle layer of interest. For traditional spaces, exposed original brick or decorative tiles can evoke a vintage and homely look. To increase the cosy ambience, hang antique-style paintings or display collectables on the mantel for an inviting finish.'
Where can you position a wood burning stove?
'Today, a wood-burning stove can be placed almost anywhere as long as the requirements of the product are met and there is a flue. So, with this being said, people are becoming more inventive with the design layout of their interiors when it comes to having a stove. Corners of rooms and spots away from the traditional central chimney breast wall with alcoves on either side are becoming more of a trend.' explains Declan.
'Make sure that the stove can be accommodated in your property, and, if installing an insert stove, ensure that the chimney is still functional and fit for use (sometimes an issue in period homes). It is recommended that a chimney system operating with a solid fuel appliance is swept at least once a year prior to the heating season. We recommend you have your chimney checked and swept regularly by a qualified chimney sweep. This is not only important for the efficiency of your stove; it’s also a safety consideration. Regular maintenance will help to prevent chimney fires. It isn’t necessary to have a fireplace though, which makes installing a stove in an open-plan space much easier. It is also less complicated to install a freestanding stove with a fabricated chimney system, so if you’re looking to install a contemporary stove, it would be the perfect choice.'
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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