Do Fireplaces Still Matter?
When meeting people for the first time at gatherings, parties, or weddings, people are always very interested when I tell them I work for a fireplace shop. Turns out people like fireplaces, whether or not they have ever had one or used one of their own. Fireplaces for a lot of people are like camper vans – they all know someone who is really into them and maybe even thought one day they would get one of their own, but never learned enough to make the leap. Now that my peer group are buying homes of their own the conversation has shifted a bit, to “what would you do?” or “how much would it cost if…”. After a few more cocktails and my newfound friend showing me pictures of their house, one common question always lingers: Do fireplaces still matter?
I find that question very intriguing. You might think I would slam my glass on the table and storm out of the room, but the strategist inside of me has always asked the same question. Will younger people still want fireplaces once they get old enough to buy and upgrade homes? And the generation after that?
Undeniably, nostalgia is a huge factor in why fireplaces are still installed in homes today. Modern homes have better heating systems, better insulation, and with a quiet, hidden furnace they can keep their homes comfy all year long with no effort. But why do fireplaces still pop up in new home plans, architect drawings, and eventually in people’s homes? The homey, warm, and charming feeling people remember growing up alongside a fireplace. People like to re-create happy memories and thus want to give their kids those same types of memories. It’s not just fireplaces or homes, it’s everywhere.
So, when I sit back and think about the possibility of that phasing out, I come back to several other factors that might keep fireplaces relevant forever. And those are:
- They make people feel something
- They look beautiful
- They have the ability to be effective or important
Now there are more reasons than those three to determine whether or not someone builds a fireplace into their new home, but the three above are timeless. Fireplaces will always be a way to not only see fire, but to feel fire. They create a warmth beyond just temperature; They create a cozy gathering spot you yearn for on your walk back from the snowy bus stop or trudging through slushy parking lots. It’s something you can enjoy at the same time as something else: The movie or game on TV, opening of Christmas presents, or the board game night with friends. Just like with your coziest sweater, it’s a morale boost just thinking about it.
Beyond how they make you feel, fireplaces look great. They just do. That’s why they’re the centerpiece for countless family photos or decoration spots come holiday season. They create a dramatic and interesting backdrop or feature to make sure the home isn’t so… featureless. Now I will admit more people are afraid to take risks in home design these days, but the ability to add a personal touch when designing a fireplace is actually something people can be proud of.
Being a functional feature is the last reason fireplaces will be around many generations from now. Even with better, modern heating technology, fireplaces can be an effective way to heat a living space. Power outages are a real thing and in certain parts of the country, happen frequently. Even if it’s never needed for back-up heat, having a fireplace that can be used that way is a real sense of relief. And with better technology on the fireplace side, homes are no longer wasting heat or energy in doing so. Most fireplaces sold by our store in Burlington are energy efficient, meaning our customers wanted it for form and function. So, while fireplaces might seem passe to some, they are definitely not going away any time soon.