By Mike Eide
Trying to tell the future is tough. Trust me. If it wasn’t hard we would all be millionaires right now. All wars would have been adverted and the world would be a much better place.
Sadly predicting the future is an ability we do not have and is better left for fortune-tellers at fairs and carnivals. However one thing that we do have the ability to do is looks at the trends or forecast where we predict an industry might be in the future. Now I’m not going to sit here and try and predict the future of our economy, when oil prices may rise again or if the housing market will go down or stay where it is because I don’t profess to be an expert in those fields. However I was born into a fireplace family, it is ingrained in my blood and having spent almost my entire adult life in the fireplace industry I feel as though I am capable of making some predictions as to where the industry is heading.
When I started my career in the fireplace industry over 15 years ago the rage was decorating the front of your fireplace. Every manufacturer offered a variety of metal strips that would attach to the front of your fireplace louvers in finishes of brass and nickel either brushed or polished. Now you might be hard pressed to find brass in a household at all, let alone a focal point in the home.
The trend for fireplaces now is modern, and I don’t see that changing much in the next five years. If anything the manufacturers will push the envelope for new exciting ways to make their products less of a heater, and more of a piece of art. The fireplaces will feature more and more different shapes such as linear, square or circle. Your imagination will soon become reality in making these units different shapes and sizes.
Gone will be ceramic logs in your fireplace. Even today more and more of the units only offer the log set as an option, I see them almost being gone altogether. Also the manufacturers are tending to offer less exterior look options and I see that trend continuing. Less front options and the ones that are available will be trendy and clean. Again these fireplaces will be more and more designed to look like art rather than a heater.
While I do see the manufacturers starting to offer even less exterior look options with their products, the interior of your fireplace will be where you make your statement towards what your tastes are. Already right now you can have crushed or beaded glass, faux rocks or logs inside. You also can add reflective glass to add multiple views of the fire. What’s going to stop them from showcasing seashells, color changing glass or perhaps even something extreme like a LED panel or something like that inside the firebox?
Of course traditional fireplaces will always have a spot and I am not saying that they will be gone altogether, but what I do see is a shift to offering the interior options of the modern fireplaces in the traditional ones as well. We already see that with a unit like the Fusion that gives you the ability to change from a traditional looking fireplace with logs, or a media option like crushed or beaded glass. I see this becoming a standard with the manufacturers traditional fireplace options. All of them will offer this ability to change from logs inside to glass or faux rocks. I see some manufacturers that might get to a place where they have multiple modern fireplace options they only have maybe 3 different sized traditional fireplaces that can be finished in a number of different ways.
So as you see the trend over the last five years has been towards more and more modern looking fireplaces, and I don’t see that trend changing much over the next five years. With technological advances I see some exciting things coming. Maybe in fives years we will be burning different fuels rather than gases. Maybe the manufacturers will come up with an affordable way to just add water to the unit and separate it’s components burning the hydrogen and expelling the oxygen. Truly the sky is the limit with what this industry might bring us in the future.
What things do you see happening in the fireplace industry in the next five years? Do you have any ideas for advancements you would like to see? If so leave them in the comments below.