21 Basement Fireplace Ideas
Basements are notoriously....cold. Not just from a temperature standpoint, but if you look at an unfinished basement....woof. It's not an easy task to make a place with concrete walls into a cozy space.
Truth is, even finished basements may have a lot of features to make the room (or rooms) more cozy, but there is almost always one thing missing. The fireplace.
In this article, we're going to go over different basement fireplace ideas to help you understand what options you have available to make your basement that much more...awesome.
1) Electric, Gas or Wood Burning
When considering a fireplace for your basement, your first decision is what type of fireplace you want. Electric fireplaces give you a lot of flexibility in design choices, don’t require venting, and will heat the room they are in. Gas and wood will provide more heat to a house, and require extra safety precautions. Wood fireplaces smell good and require more cleaning. Each type of fireplace has several pros and cons.
If you are installing or updating a wood or gas fireplace in your basement, venting is a very important consideration. Both wood and gas fireplaces must be vented through the ceiling of the house or through a wall. Updating a fireplace around an existing vent is easier, of course, but there are a lot of ways to install new venting as well. Check out this article for more detailed information about venting considerations.
3) Electric Insert
If you already have a gas or wood fireplace in your basement, you can always just install an electric insert over it. Electric inserts fit into existing fireplaces and have a wide variety of designs. That said, if you're installing an electric insert, you'll have to take several steps to block the venting of your old fireplace, or you'll lose the heating benefits of the insert. For instructions and a video about installing an electric insert, click here.
4) Built-In Electric Fireplace
Built-in Electric Fireplaces are the easiest to install and give you the most flexibility. Since these do not need to be vented, they can be installed in any wall in your basement. If you are renovating your basement, you can include space in one of your new walls (either an inner or outer wall will work) for the electric fireplace as you are framing your basement.
5) See Through
Another option that is unique to electric fireplaces is that see-through or multi-sided models can be purchased. See-through fireplaces can be installed in an interior wall to allow a window into another room, or they can be installed into an outer wall to provide natural light from the outside. Multi-sided options can be fit into the corner of a wall and provide a unique look to any room. These are pretty awesome for a fancy look if you're able to afford it.
6) Wood Burning Insert
Just as you can purchase an electric insert for an existing fireplace, you can buy a wood burning insert as well. This is a great upgrade to an open fireplace as it cuts down the draft from an open chimney. Installing a wood burning insert is a two man job, but can be done if you are even a little bit handy.
7) Build a Brick Fireplace
Building a brick fireplace from scratch is not an easy task. If your basement plans include a brick fireplace, it can be done, but it's easiest if you are building a house from the ground up or planning an extensive renovation. Here’s a fascinating video of a mason building a brick fireplace in a new home. Unless you are a mason yourself, then you’ll likely need to hire a contractor to handle this job.
8) Wood Stove
Instead of a fireplace, how about a wood stove? Wood stoves are more efficient in that they keep more of the heat in the house. This is because less heat will escape through the chimney. Wood stoves are a lot easier to install than building a brick fireplace as well. Wood stoves come in many designs, so finding the right one for your basement should be easy.
9) Wood Stove Safety
While wood stoves are easier to install than building a brick fireplace, they have special safety considerations as well. First, you must make sure there is enough clearance between the stove and combustibles. This includes the walls, floors, and the ceiling of your basement. The wood stove must also sit on a fire resistant base. Here’s a great article with more safety details.
10) Fireplace Accessories
Wood burning fireplaces and stoves use a lot of fun accessories. Both will need fireplace tools to stoke the fire and move the wood around. Racks and bags can be purchased to store and stack logs. Fireplaces will also need screens to protect the surrounding area from sparks and loose coals. Ash buckets are necessary for cleaning as well.
Gas fireplaces are probably the most difficult to install. Gas fireplace inserts can be purchased and installed in an existing fireplace just like wood inserts can. You can even build your own fireplace around an insert. Gas fireplaces have the same venting needs as a wood burning stove or fireplace though, so that makes this a more difficult task. The added complication? You’ll need to run a gas line to your fireplace. It can be done, but it's no easy task.
12) Tile Surrounding Fireplace
Suppose you already have a fireplace in your basement, and you want to update the look. Regardless of how your fireplace looks now, you have a lot of options available to you. Tile is a great material to surround your fireplace with. Tiling is a job that almost anybody can do themselves. Here’s a video to get you started.
13) Stainless Steel Surround
A stainless steel surround can be a great design choice for your basement fireplace. A stainless steel plate will give your fireplace an industrial look. To install it, you will need to have welding skills or hire a steel designer. Steel tile, on the other hand, can be used for a modern look and is as easy to install as any other tile design.
14) Peel and Stick Tiles
This is probably the easiest way to update the look of an outdated basement fireplace. Peel and stick tiles are heat and humidity resistant and can be installed with a pair of scissors and a utility knife. They come in a variety of designs and stick to about anything, although if you are applying them to wood, you might need to apply a primer first. They don't look exactly like the real thing, but it's a simple and cost effective solution. For instructions on installing peel and stick tiles, click here.
15) Floating Mantel
If you are simply looking to add a mantel to an existing basement fireplace, you have several options to choose from. One option is to install a floating mantel. You can buy hardwood mantels almost anywhere, or use a piece of reclaimed wood if you like. These can be installed in a sheetrock wall or a masonry fireplace. Follow this link to learn how to add a mantel to a masonry fireplace.
16) Mantel with Surround
Prefabricated mantels and surrounds can be purchased at almost any home improvement store and even at Amazon. These come in many designs and are made of many different types of materials. Finding the right one for your basement fireplace should not be too difficult. These are easy to install, requiring only a screw gun, drywall screws, and a nail gun.
17) Complete Fireplace Redesign
If you have a brick fireplace in your basement and would like to completely change the look, it can be done by covering the brick and replacing the hearth. This DIY project is a little more complex than installing a prefabricated or floating mantel, but can still be pulled off with time and patience. Check out this video to learn how to cover your brick fireplace with granite and a prefabricated mantel.
18) Build Your Own Mantel
If you have woodworking knowledge and access to the right tools, you can always build your own mantel around your old basement fireplace. This will give you the most control over the exact look and style you are hoping to achieve. Here’s an extensive article written by a homeowner who completely updated an old brick fireplace with a marble surround and a custom built mantel.
19) Decorate Your Mantel
The simplest way to update an old fireplace or add flair to a redesigned one is to decorate the mantel. Mantle decor comes in many choices and is as varied as the individual decorating the mantel. Candles, family pictures, mantel signs, greenery, and flowers are all great items to decorate a mantel. The decor can be changed throughout the year to reflect the seasons or upcoming holidays.
20) Install a TV Over the Mantel?
Installing a high definition television over your mantel might seem like a great idea, and in certain cases, it's totally doable. However, excess heat is bad for electronics; though, if your new basement fireplace is electric, heat is not an issue at all. Also, placing a TV so high can cause neck strain while viewing. Before you decide to install a TV over your mantel, read this article for more information.
21) Fake Fireplace
If you want the look of a fireplace and don’t want it to be functional, then building a fake fireplace for your basement is a cheaper alternative than a working fireplace. If you have general carpentry knowledge, this can be easily done with plywood, faux brick wall panelling, and paint. Here’s a how-to article on building your own fake fireplace.
So there you are, our 21 Basement Fireplace Ideas. Hopefully, this article has given you a jumping off point for adding a fireplace to your basement plans. From safety considerations to what type of fireplace is best for your space, use this information to get you started and help you decide which type of fireplace will best fit your design.
Have any ideas you’d like to share? Any basement fireplace tips we forgot to include? Leave a comment below and let us know!