There’s something comforting about a working fireplace; to sit in front of the crackling flames on a cold day or during the dark night is soothing to mind and body. And today there are more options than ever for fireplaces. If your home already has one but it’s not been used for a while — or ever — you can find a professional chimney sweep to come fix it up in a few hours. If your home lacks a fireplace, even if it’s a small apartment, you can find petite fireplace options that will fit your style and the local building codes with a simple online search.

A real wood fire, of course, is the most wonderful way to enjoy a fireplace. But many cities no longer allow the burning of wood, or control burn days very carefully. If that’s the case, there are a variety of gas fireplaces that are completely safe and give out all the heat you could want. Even better, a gas fireplace is clean — there’s no hassle with cleaning out and disposing of the wood ashes.

A faux brick facade fireplace is relatively inexpensive, but if you really want beauty and money is secondary then invest in a soapstone fireplace. Whether wood burning or gas, soapstone gives off a mellow glow that is always safe to the touch and as it ages it reveals fascinating mineral patterns.