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Sizing Your Screen

Fireplace Screens - What Finish or Style Best Complements Your Decor?

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Although the fireplace is one of the most prized features in any home, the simple and undeniable truth is that they can also be very dangerous.  After all, an open flame in your home is..well, an open flame in your home!  Wood used for building fires always has air pockets and sap trapped inside that burst when flames reach them, and thus causing sparks to fly from the hearth opening.  To prevent those sparks from damaging your flooring, injuring children or pets, and ultimately to prevent your house from starting on fire, you need to have a fireplace screen blocking the hearth opening.

A fire screen can be more than a functional necessity—it can also dramatically enhance the overall look and feel of the entire hearth décor.  However, it is important to understand that not all screens are designed to be functional—some are purely decorative.  Stained glass fireplace screens are perfectly suited for traditional or formal settings but they cannot be used to arrest sparks as the heat from the flames will damage the glass and ruin the screen.  However, you can place a candelabra behind the screen to produce a compelling decorative effect without causing damage.

Glass fireplace screens make great complements in just about any décor and many are made from special glass that can withstand the heat.  However, it is very, very important to check with the manufacturer to make certain that this is the case as some are purely decorative in nature.  

Fireplace screens have two basic components that combine to produce the decorative appeal of the piece:  the finish and the material that the panel is made from.  The finish is a very important feature as it is often coordinated with other hearth accessories to help unify the décor and enhance the decorative appeal of the space.  For those with a contemporary décor, you want to look for finishes like:  pewter, steel, and chrome.  If you have more of a traditional décor, then there are quite a few options to choose from, including:  classic wrought iron, brass, bronze, and perhaps even polished iron or gold.  A copper or rust finish is better suited to a more rustic or casual décor.  

Fireplace screens, like any hearth accessory, must first be the proper size  and complement the style of the home and the furnishings in the space they adorn.  Next, they must also accentuate the other hearth accessories or the space will be filled with mismatching pieces that detract from the overall look and feel of the space.  But remember, purely decorative fireplace screens will not prevent sparks from damaging your floor and they will be destroyed if you place them in front of a roaring fire.  Therefore, be sure to consider how you intend to use the screen and then concentrate on finding the one best suited to your taste, décor, and budget.