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Small Fireplaces: Gel Fuel, Electric, Wall Mounted Or Virtual?

Nov 28, 2007
Although most of today's homes no longer rely on a fireplace for heating purposes, they are still in high demand. Fireplaces will always have a special allure. The vision of cozying up in front of a roaring fire, mug of hot chocolate in hand, while snow falls gently outside the window or sitting in front of a rippling fire while you and your beloved spend a romantic evening together are two appealing scenarios that may come to mind when thinking of a fireplace. If you live in a small home, apartment or condominium, you may not have the luxury of a built-in fireplace. However, today you can purchase a fireplace that would fit into even the smallest of spaces. There are various options to choose from.

These include:

* Virtual/Digital fireplaces
* Compact fireplaces
* Wall-mounted fireplaces
* Tabletop fireplaces

Whether your style leans more toward modern, contemporary or anywhere in-between, one of the above-mentioned fireplaces would suite it perfectly.

Electric or Gel Fuel Fireplaces

When looking into purchasing a fireplace for your small space, you will discover that some use gel fuel and others electric. The advantages are both are eco-friendly, do not require venting or special hook-ups and are clean and odor-free. However, you may want to consider the cost and convenience of both before making a particular small space fireplace purchase.

Gel Fuel

Each gel fuel can lasts approximately 3 hours. They come in a case of twenty-four and cost $65 on average. By doing the calculations, it can be determined that one case of gel fuel will last around 72 hours. Due to the cost, most retailers will inform you that small fireplaces that run on gel fuel are mainly for decorative purposes rather than heating.


The advantage of purchasing a small fireplace that runs on electricity is the ease of use. It is also unnecessary to spend your valuable time (not to mention gas), to make trips to the store to get what is required to keep the fireplace going. The disadvantage is that your electric bill may increase significantly. However, this can be remedied by monitoring the amount of time the fireplace is in use.

Virtual/Digital Fireplaces for Small Spaces

Many may not consider a virtual fireplace as a serious fireplace option. However, before it is written off completely, it should be noted that today's technology has brought the virtual fireplace a long way from the mock fireplaces of yesteryear. Today's virtual fireplaces are basically a DVD that you put into your television or personal computer that creates a realistic illusion of a crackling fire. The DVD loops around and plays continuously until you turn it off.

Depending on your expectations, you may find yourself disappointed either by the quality of the video or that it is just not "real" enough for you. However, a virtual fireplace is perfect for small spaces. If you have room for a television or computer, you are already one step closer to having a fireplace. It may only be a facsimile of the real thing, but it is worth looking into if you have limited space and you want to add an ambiance of romance or the warm cozy feel that a real fireplace adds to any room.

Compact Fireplaces Made for Small Spaces

A normal size fireplace is around 40-50 inches wide. Those in the range of 25-35 inches wide would classify as a compact or small fireplace. Most traditional fireplaces are available only in floor models. Compact fireplaces are wonderful space savers as many are designed as corner units.

Wall-Mounted Fireplaces Perfect for Small Spaces

Wall-mounted fireplaces obviously take up no floor space. For that reason alone, a wall-mounted fireplace would be considered the ultimate in space saving design. If your style in décor is traditional, you may have difficulty finding a wall-mounted fireplace to suite your taste as most have a contemporary look and feel. However, as wall-mounted fireplaces increase in popularity, it is probable that the selection will grow offering more variety in design.

Tabletop Fireplaces Uniquely Designed for Small Spaces

Tabletop fireplaces are in one word "unique". If you are not wanting a floor model or wall-mounted fireplace, but you desire a small fireplace that is not only fun, but also out of the ordinary, then a tabletop fireplace may be just what you are searching for.

From a smokeless glass-fire tabletop fireplace made specifically to enhance the view of the dancing flames to a contemporary tabletop fireplace with stainless steel logs mounted on a slate base, these small scale fireplaces are miniature works of art that are bound to be great conversation starters.

Today, there are various options to choose from to have a cozy romantic fireplace in even the smallest of spaces. From compact, wall-mounted, tabletop, to a virtual/digital fireplace, there is sure to be one to suite any home or even office décor.
About the Author
Tameka Norris offers space saving tips and small scale furniture recommendations for small rooms, homes, apartments, dorms, and small condos at her website Furniture-for-Small-Spaces.com.
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