Fireplace Screens

Written by Serena Berger
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Fireplace screens may be functional or decorative. If you have a working fireplace, a fireplace screen keeps sparks from flying into the room, potentially starting a fire or burning someone sitting too close. It will also minimize draft, which is important because when your fireplace is open, wind can come down the chimney or the chimney can essentially pull air through the room.

Functional vs. Ornamental Fireplace Screens

If your fireplace is purely ornamental or if you just have a mantle without any opening, a fireplace screen is a virtual necessity as a design element. A larger screen can be used to make the fireplace seem larger, which is often the goal of a decorator who wants to draw attention to the architectural features surrounding it. Be careful to note if a fireplace screen is purely decorative, however--there are many beautiful pieces which are not designed to be used and will be fine for a decorative fireplace, but would not be suitable if you ever decided on a whim to light a fire.

Most functional fireplace screens are brass frames with black mesh. These range from the extremely ornate to the understated and unobtrusive. For a much more dramatic piece, consider a fireplace with brass mesh--it will look as though it came from a royal palace.

You can find beautiful replicas of fireplace screens from other countries and eras past. Others are inspired by, but not outright identical to their lofty predecessors. And of course some are more contemporary twists on the concept. Chances are you don't have a fine furniture store near you that features an extensive collection of fireplace screens, so this is one of the times when you are best served by looking online for ideas or to find what you really want.

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