Many designs from the 1930s onwards were bland, with more features being mechanized, central heating becoming widespread and fewer fireplaces being built.Oil, gas or electric heating systems become more popular over the next few decades;the popularity of the open fire waned.
Electricity was an exciting feature in its self and some fireplaces were designed with recessed lighting incorporated in the surround.Electric bars were set in tiled or mirrored surrounds;function was of prime importance and designs were geometric and cold.
Tiles in soft shades and with a mottled pattern were fashionable in the 1930s and the tiled fireplace continued to be popular for the next few decades,only changing slightly in colour and pattern.
Developments to the look and function of the fireplace were minimal in the 1940s.By the 1950s adornment and fixed decoration were severely reduced.Although it was the twentieth century that saw the birth of the professional interior decorator, as distinct from the architect, the number of magazines available enabled the majority of people to decorate their own homes.As houses were now basic but well- designed shells, without a chimney,there was more scope for the arrangement of the furniture.Personal decisions about decoration were made possible. However with the rapid pace at which society chose to live, time spent on creating cosy homes seemed to be neglected,fireplace were built out of chunky brick,concrete,quarry tiles, or streamlined metal.and were devoid of decoration.
Styles were often abstract,but always functional;as the television became the focal point of the room intimacy faded into the background.
Only in the last few decades have people began to rediscover the qualities of the open fire. A greater awareness of our environment and heritage, combined with our inherent fascination for fire,have meant the return of the traditional fireplace, with its characterful and welcoming appeal.