Biba style: Designer Barbara Hulanicki has created a range of fireplace surrounds for Chesney's, with covetable Art Nouveau or Art Deco styling. From £2,275,

The temperature is set to drop this weekend, but you don't have to shiver. It's the perfect time to start thinking about stoking the fire, says Trish Lorenz

Nothing beats an open fire for cheering up an autumnal evening. And the good news is that these days you don't need a chimney or even a hearth to enjoy some fireside action.

Bio-ethanol fires produce plenty of heat and have a real flame but because they give off very low emissions they don't need a flue or chimney, meaning you can site them anywhere in a room: wall-hanging, free-standing and even tabletop versions are available.

There are few regulations on bio-ethanol fires in the UK, so check before you buy that the fire you've chosen will emit enough heat and that it functions safely. For a wide range of fires and more information and advice try You can also find bio-ethanol fires at John Lewis ( and Homebase (

If you're lucky enough to have a chimney, then a wood-burning stove is another option to consider. "Wood-burning stoves have become incredibly popular over the last five years. They're not only very energy efficient but look beautiful too. The logs last much longer than in an open fire and the heat output is substantial," says Paul Chesney of fireplace specialist Chesney's (

For those with a functioning fireplace though, the simplest and most cost-effective option is an open fire. And if you're updating the fireplace surround, don't feel you need to stick with a specific style.

"Choose a fireplace because you like the look of it. Don't be too concerned about what period it's from – fireplaces from the 18th and early 19th centuries are versatile and work well with most interiors. It's also possible to successfully combine a period style surround with a modern fire grate," says Chesney.

And if you're wondering where you'll find another log to throw on the fire, there are now a number of companies offering weekly deliveries of wood too. Try or