Looking for a way to make your master bathroom warmer and more inviting this winter, but you’ve already upgraded your bathroom vanity and re-painted your walls? Try getting a stylish new heat source in your bathroom, because sometimes built-in home heating solutions simply aren’t up to par.
While it may be beyond the scope of the typical homeowner’s budget, truly no “dream house” should be without an amazing bathroom fireplace – more effective than traditional housewarmers, and with all the style and aesthetic comforts that a fireplace brings, nothing could be more luxurious.
As it happens, installing a fireplace in one’s bathroom is a very popular and prominent trend in home improvement projects across the country. Fireplaces are wonderful additions to a bathroom because they make a bathroom feel more “cozy;” it becomes not just a room for washing, but a room for relaxing.
Now there are some practical problems with bathroom fireplaces, of course. And insofar as the term “fireplace” is concerned, we can organize the item itself into two general and exclusive categories: traditional fireplaces (here meaning “wood burning models”) and electric fireplaces (portable, plug-in inserts that function as space heaters but do resemble traditional fireplaces).
Traditional fireplaces tend to suffer in all but the most massive bathrooms, because smaller bathrooms tend to get so densely humid. Moisture in the air will soak the wood, essentially rendering your fireplace inoperable until the kindling dries. Very spacious bathrooms, with excellent ventilation, tend to sidestep this problem. See, for example, the luxury suites of many of the best Five Star hotels in the Nordic countries of Europe. Traditional fireplaces also pose the obvious problem of chimney space: a wood-burning fireplace requires a chimney, so you must either build it into an existing chimney or construct a new chimney (with a proper flue, please – the last thing we want is a smoke-filled bathroom!).
An electric fireplace, while sacrificing the aesthetic appeal of a “real” fireplace, has some very practical benefits. For one, electric fireplaces are portable and relatively easy to move – they can be heavy, like a big screen TV, but they are not permanently stuck in the wall or built in to the floor. And as for heating a room, an electric fireplace is often just as effective as a traditional fireplace, and in some studies has been proven to be even MORE effective – since it directs and disperses heat outwards, rather than simply upwards, the way a wood burning stove does.
Electric fireplaces are also much easier to maintain than traditional fireplaces, requiring no cleanup and no trips to the store for more kindling or fuel. Depending on use, however, electric fireplaces may end up costing a bit more than a wood fireplace. Some regions will have steeper electrical costs than others, so if your electricity bill is already through the roof, a portable fireplace insert is probably not a good investment for your bathroom.
Ultimately, the fireplace you choose comes down to a decision between practicality and aesthetics, utility and nostalgia. An electric fireplace, in most situations, is a more practical consideration than a traditional fireplace, because it involves less headache and usually has a lower overall cost. But there’s something to be said for the tradition and the pure aesthetic value of a real wood fire in your home, the satisfying crackle of wood, and unpredictable dancing flames not generated by a computer algorithm.
But then again, we are talking about installing a fireplace in a bathroom. Practicality and tradition don’t have a whole lot to do with this, frankly. It’s a new and exciting trend in home design, and can make your house feel more like a home – so go with your gut. Make your house a home with the ideal fireplace for your needs.
Some Pictures Courtesy of Apartment Therapy