It's not just the heat that makes an indoor fire so enticing - the smell, the sound, the warm soft light; it is almost impossible to replicate the atmosphere conjured by a real, roaring log fire.

Ever since us humans learnt that living indoors was preferable to the outside, we've cultivated ways to bring that most primal of elements in with us. And cultivate we did, with fireplaces evolving for centuries at the forefront of technology with the fireplace surrounds becoming increasingly elaborate and luxurious. The carved fireplace surrounds to be found in grand historical houses are often mind bogglingly impressive in their scale and opulence.

Now, of course, in the age of central heating, a functioning fireplace in the living room is no longer a necessity, leaving us free to enjoy their decorative beauty of the fireplace surround and the important architectural focal point that their presence lends to a room. Even if it is no longer in use, a fireplace surround gives an instant jolt of character. But it isn't just fireplace ideas we're talking about. Wood-burning stoves can be a pure delight, and relatively easy and inexpensive to install. And the modern fireplace is something altogether more paired back, often not even requiring fire at all.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    This simple marble chimneypiece was designed by Sarah Chambers for her own house. It is based on two vintage Arabescato marble coffee tables that she owns, creating continuity in the space.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    In designer Hugh Leslie's nineteenth-century Chelsea studio, the modest chimneypiece was designed to tie in with tongue-and-groove panelling used elsewhere in the flat. A Carrara marble slip with an oak shelf gives the fireplace definition.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Designer and architect Rabih Hage has inverted the idea of alcoves on either side of the fireplace in this west London study. The ornate, hand-carved wood chimneypiece, which was already in the house, is set back from the shelves. The gas fire was made by specialist Neville Stephens.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Designer Cindy Leveson has used a fireplace from Jamb with a fender seat in this West London house. 'The choice of fireplace is always a balance between the taste of the client and the period of the house,' she says. 'Be brave with size where you can.'

    Taken from the December 2014 issue of House & Garden.

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  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    A huge sitting-room-cum-party-room now takes over the vast, former schoolroom of Saint Paulinus, a nineteenth-century church in North Yorkshire that is now the home of Sophie and Greville Worthington and their three children. Try Morso or Charnwood for something similar.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Designed by Clare Stevenson and Claire Sa from architectural practice De Rosee Sa, the simple bookshelves in this living room echo the lines of the Portland stone chimneypiece from Jamb, which in turn balances the strong graphic print of the carpet.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    In Serena & William's Foyle's ravishing Cadogan Square apartment a decorative antique firescreen makes for an ultra pretty accessory.

    Taken from the October 2014 issue of House & Garden

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  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Designer and writer Claire Lloyd's house in Lesvos, Greece is a lesson in simplicity executed with warmth and style. Against a chaste palate of pure white, the wood burning stove and its stack of logs becomes as decorative as it is functional.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Swedish designer Ebba Thott of Sigmar is known for her intelligent take on modernism, encapsulated by the sophisticated blend of vintage and new used in her interiors. In this West London sitting room the fire surround from Chesney's has a strong linear design with echoes of Art Deco; a perfect foil to the cool palate of greens and blues. The grey woollen pouf is by Christien Meindertsma for Thomas Eyck.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    If you have a fireplace that is no longer functional fear not, it can still provide an elegant architectural focal point for your room. Do as decoration editor Gabby Deeming has done in this scheme and utilise the space. Here she has used a woven-rafia basket from Pentreath & Hall, to tie with the wicker furniture.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    In this library with walls and woodwork in 'Murrey Red' from Papers & Paints, designer and antiques dealer Adam Bray has replaced a reproduction Victorian fireplace with this simple brass surround, keeping the brickwork inside the chimneypiece exposed and using a small tradtional cast-iron basket raised on a layer of dark slate.

    'Proportion is of course everything with fireplaces,' he says. 'But in this case we bent the rules. We designed the fireplace and had it produced by the contractor, sourcing a vintage fire basket from a dealer. The client was pretty groovy and wanted to have fun so we used this 1960's way of dealing with the opening. Generally I use old fireplaces, older than the house or later in date doesn't matter as long as it feels right.'

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    In the home of Stefania Calice in Chiswick an elaboratle fireplace carved with herma (a form of classical sculpture with a head, and perhaps a torso) works rather beatifully to unite the room's mouldings with the mix of period and modern furniture and art. The floral motif beneath the head symbolises fertility.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Painted figures and objects cover the fireplace of Charleston, former home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and weekend retreat of The Bloomsbury Group - that amorphous circle of writers, intellectuals and artists who lived and worked in Bloomsbury before the First World War and beyond.

    Almost as soon as Vanessa and Duncan moved into Charleston, they began to paint, not just on canvas, but over every available surface - walls, of course, but also tables, chairs, bed heads and bookcases; all glowed with swirls and spirals of colour and pattern, that was as far from the conservative, conventional monochrome interior decoration of the time as it was possible to be.

    A modern embodiment of the style can be found in the work of the artist Cressida Bell, granddaughter of Vanessa, who takes private commissions for her irresistibly vibrant work, should you want your own slice of Charleston magic.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Built just outside Marrakesh and inspired by Berber style, Swiss designer Romain Michel-Ménière's house combines traditional materials and techniques with a modern aesthetic. The living area is voluminous and arranged on two levels, with high ceilings, and a showstopping fireplace in the middle which acts as a partition.

    Appearing to float in the wall - which is covered in mix of mud, limestone and straw applied by hand - from the living room sofa it is possible to see straight through to the dining room beyond, a layout ideal for entertaining.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    British Television director Alex Hardcastle (New Girl, the US version of The Office) has a Sixties house in the Hollywood Hills built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Inside however, he's gone for a Thirties-inspired style. In his living room, an open fireplace has, on one side of it, an African carving from Andrew Martin and, on the other, a fun-size alligator - shot by a forebear, it came from a former family house in Oxfordshire. A basket of sawn logs, straight from felled garden trees, feels very English.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Paolo Moschino has conjured up the perfect, gently nautical scheme for this Cornish cottage living room, with it's view out to the sea.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    The coffee table and black chair, from B&B Italia, add to the industrial theme created for this Shoreditch living room by Maurizio Pellizzoni, of MPD London, with the patchwork rug part of Maurizio's own collection sold at the MPD shop for £4,500. The painted white brickwork, featuring a bio fire from Indian Ocean, makes the most of the natural light which comes in from the towering windows.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Wardrobes from Oka sit either side of a chicly styled mantlepiece and a fireplace filled with logs - a clever trick for adding warmth where it is non-functional - and a bold chevron rug adds colour to the space. This may be the master bedroom of designer Bunny Turner's London home, but we'll be taking inspiration for our living room.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Using tiles to face a chimneypiece creates a strong decorative focal point in a room. The encaustic tiles are from Carocim, while the steel wood-burning stove is from Chesneys.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    A flash of green via a feature wall looks glamorous and dramatic when paired with monochrome and gleaming gilt accessories.

    Paint, '2 V 05', £30.50 for 2.5 litres matt emulsion, from Little Greene

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    As well as their own home outside of Marrakesh, Maryam Montague (a passionate blogger among many other things) and husband Chris Redecke have built two guest pavilions; the focal point of sitting room of the Atlas Pavilion, is the exquisite tiled fireplace.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Designers Anne-Marie Midy and Jorge Almada have found an unlikely match made in heaven - pairing the swiring patterns of Arabescato Cervaiole marble with bold lilac walls.

    Jorge designed the armchairs, and the tin-framed mirror is a design from their company Casamidy, scaled up specially for the room. Mexican artifacts and textiles finish the scheme.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Ett Hem in Stockholm must be one the most beautiful hotels in the world. Designed by Ilse Crawford of Studioilse, the traditional bones of the room, including the Swedish tiled stove in the corner, work beautifully with playful modern pieces.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    The interiors of this rustic barn in Oxfordshire reflect a lifetime's work by the artist Paul Nicholls, who lived here for 30 years before moving to France and devoted himself to making all the various niches, gargoyles and hideouts that you see today, including the open stone chimneypiece in the bedroom, above which hangs a painting by the house's new owner Lincoln Seligman.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    In the kitchen of this New York home the fireplace has been surrounded with Delft tiles. Try Douglas Watson for a charming, modern take on the look - whose mismatched glazes and patterns create the feel of an old collection.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Located on a plot of farmland on the Atlantic coast of Long Island, interior designer Veere Grenney has created an interior which is country living with a strong city accent.

    Set in to a wall of matchboard panelling, setting off the pieces by some of the twentieth century's finest craftsmen - including a Gio Ponti chair and Terence Robsjohn-Gibbings tables - the glass fronted fireplace set in to the wall provides a kind of punctuation. Try Stovax for something similar.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    'Scandinavians live for light. Inside Scandinavian houses it is summer all the time,' says designer Lars Bolander in his book Scandinavian Design (Vendome Press). It is certainly true in his little 1800s farmhouse in Sweden. The home took a year to renovate, including breaking through the original chimney to create a fireplace in the main bedroom. The furniture is a mix of Swedish and English, while the walls are lined with 'F124 Forget-me-not Spring in Pink' from Chelsea Textiles.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Teal walls are contrasted with traditional, Victorian-style brass fittings in this living room by Todhunter Earle.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Will Fischer, founder of Jamb, has used their 'Montford' chimneypiece made from Ancaster stone, with an elegant metal fire surround. Logs are stacked invitingly in the room's alcove.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    This Victorian house in west London belonging to Elizabeth and Martin Morgan has been redesigned with Italian-inspired elements by architect Margherita Thumiger of Studio 29. This simple, yet ultra-modern open fireplace has been softened with a traditional cast-iron basket. The design is beautifully intergrated, with storage below from B&B Italia and a ceramic installation by Natasha Daintry above. The monochromatic colour scheme niftily detracts from the look of the television.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    A tiny stone fireplace adds charm to this Cotswold bedroom.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    A traditional white fire surround with a metal grate has been installed in this bedroom. Find similar styles at Chesneys.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Having decided that the introduction of modern interiors to a traditional house was the way forward, the owner of this London home and their architect Margherita Thumiger of Studio 29 set to work creating a scheme that would unite the Victorian structure with a clean, contemporary feel.

    Having worked with many Victorian properties over the past 10 years, here Margherita was determined to take it back to its bones and return some of the original architectural features. 'But some of the detailing is very tongue in cheek,' she explains. The style of the mouldings on the chimneypiece are bordering on decadent, but cleverly balanced by the clean lines of a ceramic installation by Natasha Daintry.

    If detail like this is your thing check out the work of Paul Spencer, whose exquisite hand-carved chimneypieces grace some of the country's finest historic houses.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    White marble has been contrasted with Prussian blue paint in the home of interior designer Robert Moore. The chimneypiece was found in an architectural salvage yard, and is a near match to originals found elsewhere in the house.

    If you have a similar issue and wish to restore a rooms original features, Lassco and Architectural Forum are good resources for architectural salvage. If you can't find what you want, Chesney's and Jamb both offer a bespoke service.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    In his bathroom Will Fischer, founder of Jamb, has used an elegant marble chimneypiece. The free-standing bath is from Water Monopoly.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Known for his fashionable restaurants in New York and London - Balthazar owner Keith McNally has applied his obsessive attention to detail to creating a welcoming family home in Notting Hill. In his living room pine was used for the chimneypiece. Keith used Vermont pine, rather than pale English wood, preferring its rich warmth and depth. All this was made in New York and shipped over to the UK.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    'I love having an open fire in the kitchen, and being able to eat in front of it on a chilly winter evening is a real joy,' says the owner of this kitchen designed by Plain English. 'Most of the time we use real logs, but in summer the heat can be overpowering, so the solution I found was to use Duraflame logs (made from recycled sawdust and bio wax). These create an attractive flame that gives off far less heat, and are also much easier to light than a full log fire - useful if you have people pop round for tea.'

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Will Fisher, founder of Jamb, is a man who should know a thing or two about fireplaces. In the home that he and his wife and business partner Charlotte have refurbished in South East London an eighteenth-century chimneypiece surrounds the fire in the drawing room.

    Taken from the September 2014 issue of House & Garden

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Architect Jonathan Tuckey imaginatively modernised this seventeenth-century Swiss chalet after finding it on a ski holiday in 2008. A wood-burning stove from Austroflamm is the focal point of the open-plan living area, which is lined with timber panels.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    This cast iron firebasket and chimney, set against an exposed stone wall feels cosy and oh-so-English.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Authentic, English country house style is hard to replicate. It is a look that manages to be both timeless and livable, grand but friendly. Having cut her teeth at Colefax & Fowler it is little wonder then that interior designer Vivien Greenock has managed to get the look spot on in her own home.

    A plethora of pattern - chintz, checks, muted stripes - and strong carpets, soften the eighteenth century paneling, which is painted a shade between duck egg blue and watery green - darker below the dado rail and lighter above. Pictures are perfectly hung. Large imposing portraits on the walls; and small charming watercolours in tight groups around the intricate fireplace, resplendant with green upholstered club fender. Try Chesneys for a similar style, while Renaissance London do a wonderful selection of similarly detailed antique chimneypieces.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    This former nineteenth-century grain store just off London's Marylebone High Street, has been transformed with the help from the architects at RDH into the effortlessly chic home of clothes designer, Anna Valentine. In keeping with the clean simplicity of the decoration the fireplace has no surround or mantlepiece. A simple cast iron grate within lends rusicity.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    This extraordinary chimneypiece in the drawing room of Paul Lyon Maris and Robin Muir's home dates from the Renaissance. Try Westland London for something similar.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Interior-design duo Keech Green reworked and redecorated this London flat for their young clients. In the drawing room, a chimneypiece from Jamb replicates an original Arts and Crafts design, giving the room an instant jolt of character.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Designer Harriet Anstruther has chosen two glass 'Wire Frame' tables from The Conran Shop to sit in the centre of this sitting room, which create a contemporary contrast with the reclaimed wood floor and Edwardian chimneypiece.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Symmetry characterises this sitting room, where the owner's nineteenth-century wooden armchairs covered in a woollen fabric and a pair of custom console tables from Soane are centred around a Fifties Italian mirror from Tarquin Bilgen and a recently added marble chimneypiece.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Cowskin Ottoman farmhouse - Country Living Room Ideas

    Designer Harriet Anstruther's sitting room has a cowskin ottoman from George Smith and a generous fireplace.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Annabel's Christmas Living Room

    In the living room of Annabel Lewis' restored farmhouse in Cumbria, the Christmas feel is completed by a roaring fire. The chair in front has been reupholstered with antique millinery velvet and trimmed with vintage ribbon fringing (see our upholstery guide). Annabel made the garland above the fire from a cluster of light bulbs salvaged from Parsons Green station in the Eighties, which she painted with bright coloured stripes.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Swedish designer Ebba Thott of Sigmar is known for her intelligent take on modernism, encapsulated by the sophisticated blend of vintage and new furniture used in her interiors. In this West London sitting room a cool palate of greens and blues, with a dimension of texture added by the contemporary stepped fireplace surround.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    The study in the Duchesse of Magenta's Renaissance chateau features a carved stone and marble chimneypiece.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Marble fireplace with over mantel mirror in the sitting room of designer and antiques dealer Max Rollitt.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    The marble chimneypiece in the drawing room at Bradwell Lodge has painted panels attributed to Angelica Kauffmann.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    Above this marble fireplace hangs a large mirror, which makes the most of the natural light in the room.

    The owner of this house, architect Ptolemy Dean wanted to do something different than the traditional Sussex barn conversion, so instead opted for a new build that complements the older farm buildings perfectly.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    This ultra-realistic gas fire, combined with soft furnishings in classic designs and flea-market finds, offers the sense of tradition and comfort that the owner craved.

    The curtains in this cosy living room are in Le Manach's 'Galigai' cotton, which dictates the colour palette of the space. Neutral carpets and pale walls balance the rich fabric and answered the client's desire for a light, bright space.

    This Victorian flat was designed by duo Lambert & Thurnherr, who brought their natural urbanity and international flavor to the space, creating a home that is both comfortable and individual.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    The living room of this Notting Hill townhouse has several striking features, including an antique marble fireplace from Gervais Duc in West London, which contrasts nicely with modern piece such as the bespoke floor lamp by Hannah Woodhouse. The elegant 'Claude' sofa is from Pinch.

  • Fireplace Surround - Fireplace ideas and fireplace designs

    A simple fireplace creates a cosy corner in this London kitchen. A tiered barbecue, which was designed by the owner of the house with Gustav Hoock of Ferrous Art, occupies the fireplace. Ample storage for wood has been created underneath.