If you have a wood-burning fireplace, a functional fireplace screen is essential to keep the room from being showered with burning embers. But it also has an aesthetic role to play, as it will be front and center during fireside gatherings.
“The fireplace gets a lot of attention, so the fireplace screen should be gorgeous,” said Joy Moyler, an interior designer based in New Rochelle, N.Y. “It’s kind of like jewelry for the mantel.”
That doesn’t mean the screen has to be highly ornamental, Ms. Moyler said, just that it should be beautifully crafted. For a room that already has a lot of decoration, she often chooses a minimalist glass screen that almost disappears. “But if the room is a little simpler,” she said, “that’s when I like to use a more ornamental screen.”
Either way, it’s not the place to skimp on quality.
“Make sure it’s something you really love and enjoy,” Ms. Moyler said. “Because you’re going to be looking at it for a really long time.”
How important is stability? It’s critically important, Ms. Moyler said, “particularly if you have small children or pets.” Before putting a new screen into use, she suggested, test to see how resistant it is to tipping over.
Should the screen sit tight against the fireplace surround? That depends on the design. Flat screens generally sit tight to the surround for a low-profile look, but folding models leave a gap at the top to provide access for tending the fire.
Is a screen without mesh or glass acceptable? Some screens have open designs that are meant to be used only for decoration or with a gas fireplace. They shouldn’t be used with an active wood fire.
Antiqued Brass Fireplace Screen
Iron screen with antiqued brass finish
$249 at Crate & Barrel: 800-967-6696 or crateandbarrel.com
Lily Pad Decorative Firescreen
Handcrafted oxidized or nickel-plated brass screen
$2,250 at Michael Aram: 646-395-6510 or michaelaram.com
Pilgrim Old English Rail Fireplace Screen
Screen based on 19th-century design
From about $479 at eFireplaceStore: 800-203-1642 or efireplacestore.com
Jackson Fireplace Screen
High-temperature glass screen with metal legs
$495 at Williams Sonoma: 877-812-6235 or williams-sonoma.com
French Fireplace Screen
Handmade reproduction folding iron screen
About $213 at 1stdibs: 1stdibs.com
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