What are the Differences Between Modern and Contemporary Fireplaces?

Are you thinking about installing a fireplace or upgrading an older fireplace to one more reflective of your home design? As you shop around, you’ll notice many fireplaces marketed as either modern or contemporary fireplaces. The differences can be confusing both because for the non-designer the two words appear synonymous, and for the designer, modern fireplaces do not reflect modern interior design. Modern design typically refers to the design style created and used primarily in the 1920s to 1950s, but that isn’t true when used to describe fireplaces.

Curious now? Here’s what you need to know about the differences between modern and contemporary fireplaces:

Modern Fireplaces

Modern fireplaces refer to units that are produced from the newest materials, reflect current-era designs, and are more versatile in flame and fuel.

For example, when it comes to design, the wall interior placement of a modern fireplace is completely up to the homeowner. These fireplaces are often electric or partially gas powered so that they can be installed in just about any area of the home. They may be on the ground, slightly elevated, or even raised to eye-level or above to act as a more artistic or stylistic design element. Fire curtains, where necessary or wanted, can range from simple metal columns to intricate colored glass. And, because most are electric, the flames arrangement and organization can be partially dictated. As you’ve probably guessed, with these units, while heat does get produced, there are often no actual flames present in the modern fireplace.

Contemporary Fireplaces

When it comes to interior design, contemporary design generally refers to what is popular and most often utilized in this period right now. But contemporary fireplaces (although they too remain popular today) generally refer to those fireplaces that have been designed in a much more traditional manner. These are the fireplaces that are really upgrades from those original brick and chimney options seen across the country in older homes.

Contemporary fireplaces look and act much as you would expect a fireplace to look and act. They burn wood, gas, or some other biofuel that mimics the effect of burning wood. Unlike the modern fireplace options, contemporary fireplaces burn their fires naturally for unique appearance, meaning no flame design input by homeowner or designer. They often include brick, stone, or metal mantels. Because there is a physical flame with contemporary fireplaces, these units will always include a standard fire-resistant glass or chain fire curtain.

No matter whether you want to choose a modern or contemporary fireplace for your home, we’ve got you covered at Ortal Heat. Browse our online catalog full of hundreds of different fireplace designs and fuel types.