Sunday, November 25, 2007

Choosing Fireplace Tools to Fit Your Style and Needs

How much do you think about the fireplace tools by your hearth? Not that much, probably. Many consider them simply decorations. And most people do not take the fireplace tools into account when updating the living area décor.

Fireplace tools can be very useful for fireplace cleaning and maintenance. You can also make a statement of style with your tools. Usefulness and style—you should always take these two major factors into account when choosing which tools work for your fireplace.

What Are Fireplace Tools? What Do They Do?

You can find the following tools in most fireplace tool sets:

  • Poker – The poker allows you to stoke a fire and move logs. The curved hook on the side lets you nab a loose log and pull it back into position.
  • Shovel – The shovel allows you to clear cold ash and cinders from the hearth. Don’t let ugly, unsafe as build up in your fireplace. (But remember—do not attempt to remove hot ashes or cinders from the hearth.)
  • Broom – The broom allows you to sweep debris or ash from the hearth area. You can use it in combination with the shovel which acts as a dustpan to remove sweepings.
  • Tongs – The tongs allow you to grab and move a burning log.

Size it Up

Fireplace tools come in many sizes, so be sure to get the right size for your fireplace. Consider how you are going to use the tools. Will you burn logs frequently? If so, you will probably want a larger set with a durable broom, nothing too polished or fancy. If you do not build fires in your fireplace or if you want the toolset primarily for decoration, you should look at smaller sets. And, naturally, the larger fireplace you have, the larger the tools should be.

Modern Design for Fireplace Tools

Modern design is becoming more popular for homes and fireplaces. Fireplace tool distributor John S. Adams from Iowa says that many homeowners are shopping for modern fireplace toolsets these days to match their décor. Brushed steel, pewter, nickel, and iron (metallic or black) are popular finishes for these streamlined, simplistic tools. The “modern” look fits right in with other contemporary touches as well as modern electronics like flatscreen plasma TVs.

The Classic Look

Many decorators and designers currently consider polished brass fixtures (including lights, cabinet handles, and fireplace toolsets) to be out of style. “Polished brass has all but totally gone away,” says Adams. Decorator Beth Norton even pointed out the “outdated brass” in her Before picture of a condo redecoration. If your living area is less modern and more classic, you should consider the timeless look of antique brass, bronze, or a silver finish including nickel, chrome, pewter, and burnished steel. Of course, polished brass tools are still available if you want the traditional look.

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