What is the hearth of a home? “Hearth” is a common term you may hear about fireplaces, but what exactly is the hearth?

The truth is that most modern Indianapolis homes do not have a traditional hearth, although some older homes may. Additionally, many homeowners are looking for ways to add a fireplace and hearth.   

Why has the hearth gone away and what is it?

Today, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the hearth and how it’s evolved. 

The Hearth

The floor of a fireplace is the “hearth.” Typically, the hearth is made from brick or stone, and it extends into the room. In the past, the hearth was the main source of heat for the home, and it was where the majority of cooking happened. 

The modern fireplace evolved from the hearth. In most Indianapolis homes, the fireplace is the new gathering area for family gatherings. During the cold winters, the hearth has become the heart of the home. 

What Happened to Hearths?

Over time, the hearth has become less important and less used. The invention of the modern kitchen and new heating technologies took over the main purpose of the hearth. In light of gas and electric appliances, there was not a need to use a fire to cook. With central heating, you can heat the entire home efficiently, rather than relying on the hearth for warmth. As technology developed, the hearth became less essential, and fireplaces were no longer essential. 

The Resurgence of the Centralized Fireplace 

Fireplaces are once again a popular desire in modern homes. If the fireplace is no longer essential, how did it make a return?

In the 1970s, a grand centralized fireplace made a resurgence. Those who build their own homes wanted to share ideals of family and connectivity in their home designs. To do this, people opened up the kitchen to the dining area. They created great rooms that combined living rooms and family rooms. Instead of sticking a fireplace against the wall, some moved it to the center of the room, as the centerpiece of convergence. Sprawling hearths are now a landmark of design from the 70s and 80s. 

The Modern Fireplace 

While the open-hearth masonry fireplace is nostalgic and beautiful, it is not always the most efficient choice. Fireplaces with sprawling hearths draw air from inside your home, which causes you to lose heat up the chimney. 

Here are some things to consider if you are interested in adding or remodeling a fireplace:

Gas vs Wood 

Masonry and prefabricated fireplaces can be wood or gas. There are pros and cons to each. Wood produces more heat, but gas fireplaces offer a convenient on and off switch. With a gas fireplace, you do not need to chop wood and maintenance is minimal. However, wood fireplaces tend to give off a cozy, traditional fireplace feel. 


Where is the room’s focal point? This will play a key role in determining the fireplace’s positioning. If you have a scenic view from a large window, then the fireplace should go on a side wall so it does not detract. However, if there is no scenic imagery, then use the fireplace to create a focal point for the furniture and TV. 


You want a fireplace that suits the size of the room. A large room with high vaulted ceilings commands a prominent fireplace, but a small fireplace is ideal for a cozy den. The size of the fireplace does not necessarily correlate to the heat generated, so make sure you find an efficient fireplace as well. 


Brick, tile, or stone are all options for facing. Modern fireplaces are often faced with stone. There are many different types of facing to choose from, so it’s easy to find the best one for your room, style, and fireplace. 


The mantel is another important part of your fireplace design. Mantels can be made from wood, stone, or other materials. Sleek, modern fireplaces may not have a mantel. If you plan to hang the TV above the fireplace, it may make sense not to have a mantel. 

Fireplace Design, Installation, and Repair Indianapolis, IN

Whether you’re looking to add a fireplace to your home or upgrade the one you have, the Brick + Ember Outfitters of Indianapolis is here to help. We provide exceptional fireplace design, installation, and repair services to meet all of your fireplace needs. With years of experience in the Indianapolis area, you can trust us for every fireplace job, no matter how big or small. 

Our dedicated team is here to help you with your fireplace today. To learn more about our fireplace services or to schedule your appointment, contact Brick + Ember Outfitters today at 317-500-1250 or OFFICE@BRICKANDEMBER.COM