Form and Function – Fireplace Screens

Fireplace screens serve the dual purpose of protecting your home from sparks and accenting your living room décor. Fireplace screens come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can find one that fits your fireplace and your room perfectly.

Metal Fireplace Screens

Metal is the most traditional material for fireplace screens. Iron, brass, steel, and aluminum are the most popular metals. Depending on your preference, you’ll find shades with contemporary designs or ornate scrollwork. Most metal screens include a mesh screen inside the frame to prevent sparks and ash from flying out of the fireplace. Metal screens reach high temperatures when exposed to fire, so always use caution when touching them.

Stained Glass Screens

Stained glass screens usually have either wooden or lead frames. They often mimic Tiffany stained glass, but modern designs can feature any scene, even your alma mater’s logo. Stained glass screens are for decorative use only because most can’t withstand the heat of a fire.

Glass Screens

Tempered or leaded glass fireplace screens are another popular option. These screens have metal frames with glass panels. The glass panels are usually either clear or frosted, sometimes with etched designs. If you want to be able to see the fire while it burns, then a clear screen is the best choice for you.

How to Measure Fireplace Screens

Your fireplace screen shouldn’t be too small to effectively block the opening, or so large that it doesn’t fit on the hearth. Before buying a screen, measure both the hearth and the fireplace opening. If you opt for a hinged screen with a single center panel, make sure that the center panel should be the same width as the fireplace opening. The side panels should tilt toward the facing to line up with the inner edge of the surround. Curved screens should be wide enough to block both the opening and the facing without also blocking the surround.

You should also be concerned with the height of the screen. A screen that is too short may allow ash or sparks to escape from the fireplace. A screen that is too tall may partially block the mantel shelf, which detracts from the look of the room.

Fireplace screens are affordable, which means you should choose the screen that looks best in your room now. You can always replace it if you redecorate the living room.