Fireplace screens are a necessity in many homes. They serve as a safety barrier against someone accidentally falling into the burning logs, and against curious little fingers of children wanting to touch the pretty flame. A fireplace screen doesn't have to be an ugly piece, though. There are many beautiful options available in the world today. They are made from a multitude of materials and come in enough styles to complement any home decor.
Some of the most popular are antique screens, glass screens, and metal chain link screens. Personally I think the stained glass and antique screens are the most beautiful, but everyone will have their own opinions.
Fireplace screens can also be used as decoration only, and not as a safety barrier at all. These are often made of flammable material so they are placed in front of the hearth when there is no flame present. They are great for hiding a blackened, ugly fireplace in an otherwise pristine room. Ornamental paper is often used for this type of screen.
Screens vary by the number of panels, the screen top shape and if the panels are curvy or straight. There are even single panel screens available. The one panel screens sit flush up against the opening of your fireplace if its flat, or the curved ones use the natural bowing of the panel in order to provide support. You can also buy the usual tri and quad panel screens with hinges between each one.
You will typically see the standard three panel screen with the middle panel being bigger and the side panels bent in toward the hearth opening.
When deciding which screen is best for you be sure to consider the size of your hearth, colors of the room (you can get complementary or contrasting colors), and whether you want it to be functional as well as decorative.