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July 31, 2023

Do You Use Your Fireplace During the Summer?

Happy Dog Days of Summer. It’s hot outside! Inside air conditioners are at full capacity and ceiling fans are turning at warp speed. So why the heck would you even want to think about fireplaces?

But there they are – the focal point of our great rooms and outdoor living. Without the soft, flickering light from the fire, they look boring and lifeless. Perhaps even useless.

To be clear, I love fireplaces. They add warmth and beauty in fall and winter. They add a homey feel and without them, we would have no place to hang our Christmas stockings.

When it is as hot as it has been, it might be easy to sell ceiling fans – but fireplaces? If you’re selling a new home in the dog days of summer, you want to make sure the fireplace option isn’t overlooked. Let’s think about the big picture here. First and foremost, you want to sell the home. A cold, dark, and empty fireplace may fail to deliver the nostalgia and coziness that comes from a flickering fire – powerful emotions that help buyers envision living in your model home. If you have a gas or electric fireplace, you could turn them on for new home shoppers – but they may also think you’re crazy for adding heat to the home in the summer.

On a recent trip to the Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Greenville, SC I discovered a unique “fireplace”. It is in their cozy library just off the lobby. This fireless fireplace will never have a fire, but it does have fireplace irons with a mantel above the “firebox”. They created a lovely glow by backlighting onyx. Stunning, cozy, and no heat gain.

Later that day while relaxing in my great room, I couldn’t help but notice how blank, boring, and emotionless my own fireplace was. No big deal for me – but if I was trying to sell my home – my fireless fireplace would be a big fat zero.

Then I remembered my sister-in-law Gail has candles in her fireplace. What a perfect way to add back that cozy glow in the summer. And if you use the flameless candles, you can put them on a timer or turn them off and on with a remote.

Even better, we recently added a gas fireplace to our outdoor living that came with LED lights. I thought they were completely redundant until I realized they could add the soft glow during the hot months of the year. So, we have warmth from the fireplace in the cold months and lovely glow without heat in the warm months. Sounds like the perfect cake and eat it too.

Another friend also uses his LED fireplace to complete his living room ambiance during these scorching months.

But back to your model home. You obviously can’t do the Grand Bohemian trick and your fireplace may not have come with LED lights. But Gail’s candle trick just might bring the spark of life your house is missing. Any other ideas to make the most out of a fireplace in the summer? Email me your thoughts.

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters