If your flat is without a fire, here are some suggestions on how to get a cosy focal point in your living space.

Interiors journalist Sharon Dale reports.

I’ve lived without a fire for almost 20 years and I miss having that warm glow and feeling of cosiness. I know I’m not alone. Most apartments don’t have a fire, which is a shame, as they act as a focal point and make a place feel infinitely more homely.

At the moment, my fire substitute is a huge, shallow glass bowl full of green fairy lights that are centre stage on my sideboard. Next to this is a beautiful paper lantern by the artist Kate Lycett, lit by a battery-operated tea light. The lantern features Kate’s painting of Whitby and the windows in the cottages are cut out so when the tea light is on, the houses come alive.
 

Kate Lycett tea light lanterns, £14.95 each, fromwww.Iapetus.co.uk

They can’t compete with real flames, of course, but they are a pretty focal point and I can recommend this idea to anyone on a tight budget.

Another cheap fix is to have a group of hurricane lanterns clustered together on a plinth or, even better, in a fireplace. If you buy beautiful, big beeswax candles they will last longer and won’t pollute the air – cheap paraffin candles are not good for your health as they contain toxic chemicals such as benzene and toluene. 

A better option, if you can afford the £60 price tag, is a Luxa firebox. I am planning to invest after spotting them at a recent interiors trade show, the Harrogate Home and Gift Fair, where wholesalers and manufacturers showcase their wares.

They are made from polished steel and are patterned on the front face with a variety of acid-etched designs and shapes, behind which the flame is reflected from the curved rear surface and expanded to fill the whole width of the lamp.


Luxa forest firebox

The result is a fire effect. My favourite is the Forest firebox, £53.95. You can buy from their retail stockists or online at http://www.luxa.co.uk/

While you can have them as a stand-alone item, they look much better in a fireplace. I am planning to get a joiner to build me a very simple contemporary fireplace from MDF, which I can then paint white to match my walls. A plinth inside will hold my firebox.

You can also buy simple fireplaces off the shelf from £100 and these simply screw to the walls, it’s not a huge DIY job, although you may need an electrician to add a socket.

 

Here are a few other suggestions on how to get a real fire effect in your flat:


*An electric stove.


There are lots of these on the market but some of the best are by Dimplex. Prices start from £100 to £500. However, consider how to display your stove. It’s not going to have the desired effect if you just plonk it on the floor. It needs a hearth and you can buy these from £50, though for half the price you can buy two stone paving slabs then cement them together.

*If space is an issue, look for a wall-hung fire.



Ferndown fireplace suite, £199.99 from Screwfix

The design and functionality of these fires have improved a lot over the past decade. I like Screwfix’s new Ferndown electric fireplace suite, £199.99, which includes a surround, back panel, fire and hearth. 


*Gel fires are another option and they produce real flames.

Table top gel fire from  https://www.gelfireplaces.com/

They burn an alcohol-based substance and require no ventilation. You can buy wall-hung gel fires and fire bowls and https://www.gelfireplaces.com/ has a good selection. They sell table top fires from £40
 
You can put a gel fire in a fireplace, like this one in a luxurious bathroom. This freestanding bath is by Clearwater Baths. 

Publish date: 27/10/2016