What Are The Typical Fireplace Dimensions?

Sep 17, 2021 | Architecture, Home Design Decor

There are a lot of different sizes of fireplaces, but it’s hard to find the right size for your fireplace. 

The best way to figure out what size you need is by measuring your fireplace dimensions and then comparing them to our list here. If you’re not sure where or how to measure it, don’t worry. We’ve got instructions on that too.

Our guide has all the information you’ll need in order to buy the correct sized logs for your fireplace. You can also use this guide when determining which log splitter would be best suited for your needs as well.

Typical Fireplace Dimensions

Typical fireplace dimensions depend on much space you want them to take up. The standard fireplace opening is between 24 and 36 inches wide, 24 and 29 inches high, and 16 inches deep. The distance from the hearth to the fireplace damper is about 37 inches. The rear of the firebox should be between 11 and 19 inches wide and 14 inches high.

What Parts of a Fireplace Can Be Measured?

The measurements of the fireplace dimensions depend on how well you want your fireplace to fit into the surrounding space. The following parts can be measured:

Fireplace Opening

If you have a fireplace, then the opening of your firebox is where it all begins. The frontmost part contains either an intricately designed mantel or cabinet originally meant as a smoke hood for directing away from any room within earshot – nowadays this includes also framing around firesides themselves if there’s no exterior chimney attached. While these decorative features can be included in total measurements on drawings/sketches when planning out homes (since they’ll become visible), don’t forget about their placement relative to other elements such as hearths and flues depending upon what kind of installation best suits our needs: whether less formal or more ornate, or whether it’s an insert or freestanding fireplace.

The Firebox

This is the part of our fire that the log (fuel) sits on while the interior burnable structures (kindling and fuel loading, typically oak split in American English; kindling like newspaper pages if not seasoned more) are arranged to form a “pyramid” within this surrounding structure which creates even heat distribution during ignition – unlike open-air fires. This arrangement is called layering (adding layer upon layer at carefully stacked/arranged angles), an element of efficient burning along with choking openings that can be adjusted up to stop airflow too quickly for optimum draft – at least until we’ve got experience with these principles.

Fireplace Damper

Fireplace dampers are considered the ductors of the flue to regulate airflow in and out of this part of our chimney/chimney structure. Without them working properly, air goes where it shouldn’t – into the house. When closed, they prevent drafts from passing through your fireplace flue to keep you warm when not burning fuel/logs. They also make great practice repairs for our upcoming chimneys article.


The hearth is typically only measured as a lengthwise number which includes any non-combustible surface beneath/behind the firebox itself within your home’s design unless it’s an insert. We may have designed our fireplaces with one or more layers of slate, stone, ceramic tile, or concrete. Most hearths are about 18 to 24 inches deep and 24 to 36 inches wide (front-to-back).

For freestanding fireplaces, you can gain distance between the floor and bottom of your fireplace by adding a base to the structure which goes out from it. This is best accomplished in small spaces where we want our fireplaces closer to us for better warmth transfer than when they’re against two walls – such as in corners. Better yet, add an airtight wood stove insert if we’ll be using our fireplace mostly for ambiance.

Preferred Hearth Heights

Since there’s typically less heat radiating directly downwards into lower levels/surfaces within any room, the standard height preference for fireboxes is about 16 inches from the floor surface to the top of our firebox.

If your fireplace isn’t built along with this standard height, consider adding a shorter hearth behind it if you’re not going for a more modern look with your architecture/home design – which has less heat radiating downwards into these lower levels within any room. This is why many prefer higher hearths when they’ll be working around the fireplace often in their homes – especially when entertaining guests.

What Affects The Size Of A Fireplace?

There are four main factors that affect size:

1) Size of the Room

2) Style

3) Materials

4) Location

Size Of The Room

You want to ensure that it fits through doorways and that it works within the space you have allotted for your fireplace. If this requires a temporary wall to be removed during construction, keep in mind that this will involve redoing any electrical and insulation (and perhaps even HVAC work) as well as drywall repair/replacement which can become expensive.


Decide what style of fireplace you want: Mantel or Freestanding? Modern or Traditional? This style should also match your home’s architecture such as Victorian-style.


Whether brick, stone, concrete, tile, metal, glass or other material – each one has its own advantages and disadvantages which we won’t cover here. Many talk about how handsome their flint mantels look especially when lit from within.


You’ll want to consider where the fireplace is located in relation to your HVAC system and furnace/hot water heater – as well as the location of doors, windows and other home designs. This way you don’t let it interfere with daily living or block a major source of natural light from entering into this space.

How Do You Measure The Size Of A Fireplace?


Measure the width of your fireplace opening at its widest point with a tape measure (or use an arm genuine measuring tape). If there are any obstructions inside such as a mantel, measure between those marks both ways with the measurements added together for around the outside edges around your fireplace opening itself. It’s best to round up to the closest inch or two.


Measure from the floor upward to where you’d like your mantel/overall height for a freestanding fireplace. This is not as important if it’s a built-in fireplace insert since this should be taller than the surrounding wall surface itself. If there are any obstructions inside between the floor and top of your firebox, measure at points both up from these lower measurements toward room center dividing them in half – then add together for an average number which you’ll round up.

As you can see from the average fireplace measurements above, you’ll want to ensure that it works well with your home’s architecture. If these measurements don’t work for you – then either reduce the width or height of your firebox by a few inches (not too much or else it looks out of proportion), or increase the overall size/width and height by around 4-8 inches on each side. 

Remember that these are just guidelines to follow which many designers feel is also just enough space behind the hearth for good air exchange between inside/outside so if this doesn’t work for your specific fireplace measurements, you may want to leave additional room behind the firebox too.

What Is The Standard Size Of A Fireplace Opening?

Fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes. But a standard fireplace is generally around 2-3 feet wide, 24-29 inches high with measurements varying by style or design idea you may have for your home as well as where it’s located within the room itself.

Should A Fireplace Mantel Be Wider Than The Fireplace?

Mantels are a focal point of a fireplace area – as is the firebox where it’s located. The mantel should be wider than your firebox by at least 36 inches minimum on both sides extending outward to give it that appearance of grandeur and attention-grabbing appeal. This will ensure that it doesn’t look too busy and out of proportion to its surroundings.

The measurements above may not fit every design style and space – but they can be used as guidelines for many traditional home designs especially those built within the last few decades or so. There aren’t any hard fast rules that everyone must follow, just some basic ones based upon common sense such as properly venting the fireplace itself combined with how much heat you’ll need throughout the room or whatever you have in mind for your particular situation. 

If you’re building a country-style home with large rooms, then perhaps it’s okay to build one of these traditional frameless masonry fireplaces that are considered smaller by code standards depending on the size of the house. This is just another reason why consulting with local authorities first makes sense prior to any construction work being started.


To conclude, the measurements that were given are still just basic ones that you can use as rough guidelines. You may want to experiment with these based on your needs and how it matches the style of the room surrounding this area. As long as you’re within minimum code requirements, there’s no problem experimenting with these dimensions a little bit to fit your specific cases depending upon what you have in mind. Just remember that everything must be done properly for safety reasons.


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