What are the Pros and Cons of a Wooden Fireplace Surround?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
A rustic wooden fireplace surround might be a good match for a cabin.
A rustic wooden fireplace surround might be a good match for a cabin.

A fireplace surround is an aesthetic element that adds a decorative touch to the fireplace. Wooden surrounds can be made in many different sizes and shapes, and designed to fit nearly any decor. The proper wooden fireplace surround can enhance the look of a room, whereas the wrong surround can adversely affect any room's decorative appeal and limit decorating options.

Fireplace surrounds may be made of wood, but not of materials that can easily ignite.
Fireplace surrounds may be made of wood, but not of materials that can easily ignite.

One pro to having a wooden fireplace surround is that wood gives an appearance of style in many homes. Having a prominent wooden feature such as a wooden fireplace surround can make a dramatic statement in a room. Wood has a warm feel and sets the tone that the room is peaceful and relaxing. A wooden fireplace surround can also add old-world comfort to a modern structure. Also, by placing a fireplace surround around a fireplace, the wall is broken up and the fireplace is brought to the forefront of the room.

A pro associated with having a fireplace is that decorating the room is made easier by having a focal point. Having a wooden fireplace surround makes it much easier to hang holiday decorations. Using small push pins, decorations can be hung from a wooden fireplace surround without damaging the finish. Once the holiday season is over, the decorations can also be easily removed, leaving virtually no sign behind.

There are some disadvantages to installing a wooden fireplace surround, however. The most obvious factor is safety, as any fireplace that can be used will produce heat and sparks. It is very important that any wooden fireplace surround is installed a safe distance from the fire box to minimize the risk of fires. Decorations or other items that hang off the surround can also be a fire risk.

The type of wood used to produce a fireplace surround can also limit the ways in which a room is decorated. Matching the color, tone and grain of the wood becomes much more limited. Woods such as oak, walnut and cherry have a darker contrast, while maple, pine and poplar have lighter hues. Switching wall color may be limited to which type of wood is on the wall surrounding the fireplace. Doors should also match the fireplace surround, as should any trim woods and furniture — an oak table, for instance, might look out of place with a cherry wood surround.

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    • A rustic wooden fireplace surround might be a good match for a cabin.
      A rustic wooden fireplace surround might be a good match for a cabin.
    • Fireplace surrounds may be made of wood, but not of materials that can easily ignite.
      Fireplace surrounds may be made of wood, but not of materials that can easily ignite.