Hearths are the areas surrounding the fireplace, encompassing the tops and sides of fireplaces. The hearth is necessary to prevent heat from burning any susceptible materials. They are typically made from a durable, fire resistant substance with a stone or mineral base. Natural stone and clay tiles are very popular choices for these hearths. When homeowners are building a fireplace or remodeling an older one, they will be able to match their tile design to the surrounding room and materials.
One of the easiest ways to create a noticeable, unique tile hearth is to use interesting shapes. Natural stone tiles like granite, travertine, and marble (all common hearth materials) tend to come in square and rectangle shapes, but ceramic and terracotta tiles can be found in octagons, L-shapes, and other styles that allow homeowners to more easily match fireplaces with their home style and designs.
Accent tiles are unique tiles used for borders along hearths. For ceramic tiles, these could be glass or mirror tiles. If homeowners are using natural stone tiles, they can switch from a lighter color for the interior hearth to a darker color for the border to create a more noticeable effect. Accent tiles can also go on the inside, surrounding the fireplace itself, with the larger base hearth tiles at the edges.
Painted tiles are ceramic tiles that have been painted with objects and scenery after they have been fired. Using these tiles for the entire hearth creates a confusing mess, but using just a row of painted tile to suggest a theme and color scheme can be useful. Most painted tiles tend to be of country- or farm-oriented subjects. Homeowners can also use these tiles with different tile materials, like stone.
Brickwork is a classic fireplace material and works well in both contemporary settings and old-fashioned styles. However, homeowners do not often have a real brick hearth to work with. They can solve this problem by using tile to create a mock brick veneer. Gray or cream-colored tiles can be used to suggest brickwork and combine two different styles into one unique look.
Create a Mosaic
A tile mosaic is often found in a bathroom or other area where there is a large expanse of tile, but homeowners should also consider turning their entire hearth into a mosaic. These mosaics are composed of many small tiles placed together to form an intricate design or even a picture. Mosaics work well when areas around the fireplace are simple or bare, allowing the mosaic to impress without overcrowding.
- Photo Credit old hearth image by bgroovy2 from Fotolia.com
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