When I was a young child, some 50 odd years ago, there was pretty much one type of fireplace, perhaps two depending upon where you lived. There were traditional fireplaces that could be converted to use coal, and there were wood burning fireplaces. Coming on the horizon would be cast-iron, wood burning stoves that were used primarily to heat and humidify the home and occasionally, for those who chose to cook upon.
As in so many other areas of life, options have multiplied to the point of choices being experienced as overwhelming. Take fireplace design ideas as an example.Fireplaces can be broken out in to two main types: those that function inside of a structure and those that are used out-of-doors. Within the home, you can now add to the above-mentioned fireplace ideas. Now, there are natural gas fireplaces that can be inserted in to the mouth of a traditional fireplace. Others are free standing with specialized, insulated piping running out through an opening in the wall.
There are multiple types of electric fireplaces. These are mobile units and easily operated and maintained. There are also fireplace design ideas that are primarily for “show”. These too come as a mobile unit designed to set flush against a straight wall or to fit neatly in to a 90 degree corner of a room. What these units lose in practical functionality, i.e., heat generation, they make up for in the artistic beauty of the mantel piece.
As for the out-of-door variety of fireplaces, here too you will not be disappointed in the variety of options. I live in northern Maine and grew up with the end-of-season bonfire. These are no longer considered safe because they are not “contained”. Therefore, left to our own ingenuity, we now have free standing fire pits made of various materials, specific to purpose and form. Some are made of traditional cast-iron, some of porcelain, others of mortar and brick, and others of adobe.