top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusan Van Meter

Light Your Fire With Our Christmas Eco Tips!

The image of a roaring fire and stockings hung from the mantel is an image many of us have grown up with. It immediately says "Christmas is here"!

Our fireplaces can be the festive focal point of the room, either decorated dramatically or simply.

I love the look and smell of an open wood-burning fire, but, It's worth noting that some areas in the UK are smoke-free and you can't burn wood or coal. However, there are good clean and sustainable options available (see more about this below)

A simple white brick-painted fireplace with a wood-burning fire.

White painted brick fireplace with Christmas decoration in a white
A simple white Christmas fireplace and decorations.

The photo below is the opposite of the white, clean and crisp Christmas style above. Dark walls, candles, and holly give this fireplace an inviting cosy, and somewhat edgy look. Which do you prefer?

Cast iron fireplace insert with blue walls and candles
Cosy, candles, dark walls and an edgy Christmas fireplace look.

Can I burn wood in London?

The Clean Air Act of 1956 was aimed to control domestic air pollution by introducing “smokeless zones” where only smokeless fuels could be burnt.

London is a smokeless zone, meaning that the burning of wood and coal is not permitted. However, you can burn smokeless fuel which is manufactured to produce less smoke. Smokeless fuel is still a fossil fuel, not a renewable source, and therefore not sustainable.

You will also need to install an air brick for ventilation and make sure you are using the right fuel type for your fireplace.

Sustainable elegance with a luxury look fireplace for Christmas.
BioEthanol fireplace with glass front, timber mantle and decorative wreath.

How do we decorate a luxury residential interior designed fireplace in a sustainable way, and are there different types of fires that are more sustainable than others?

The answer to this is, yes - BIOETHANOL FUELED FIRES!

My favourite go-to fireplace supplier for our sustainable luxury interiors is Chesneys, they have this to say.

"As an increasing number of people acknowledge the urgent need to protect the environment, Bioethanol Fires are growing rapidly in their popularity and use.

Clean and easy to install, Bioethanol Fires are ecologically friendly, burning fuel extracted from plants during a full combustion process.

In addition to offering a responsible climate-friendly choice, BioEthanol Fires provide the opportunity to install a living flame fire without the need for a chimney or expensive installation costs. Providing that an electricity supply is available, an Ethanol Fire can be installed in just about any location"

From my experience, it is worthwhile to install an air brick in smaller spaces to keep air flowing as it will burn oxygen, and create a little condensation. In larger rooms, you can probably get away with not having an air brick.

Ribbon flame Ethanol fires are popular to create a modern look in your home.

BioEthanol ribbon style fire decorated for Christmas.
Decorating a modern fire surround for Christmas.

Sustainable BioEthanol ribbon flame fire in a contemporary interior.
Sustainable BioEthanol modern ribbon flame burner.

You can also create a more traditional look with Ethanol using a fire basket and fake logs or coals.


🌿 Do not burn unseasoned firewood. The combustion process of burning a log is disrupted if the wood contains too much moisture. “Green” wood creates a lot of pollution and greatly increases the amount of creosote that is deposited in a chimney lining.

🌿 Always burn seasoned firewood. When you use dry firewood and use the most environmentally friendly burning practices, the amount of particulate matter that is released into the air is greatly minimized.

🌿 Burn hardwoods. Hardwood trees burn cleaner, longer, and hotter than softwoods. Some examples of hardwood trees are oak, maple, walnut, ash, cherry, poplar, and birch. Only use waste off-cuts of course!

🌿 Avoid a smoldering fire. Burn a hot but safe fire, since it will yield greater efficiency and achieve full combustion. A smoldering fire yields a lot of smoke and releases hazardous particulate matter into the air. The less smoke there is, the more heat is produced.

🌿 Keep your chimney clean and in good working condition. Have a professional chimney sweep do an annual cleaning and inspection. If a chimney is in a state of disrepair, it results in less efficient venting and more pollution.

🌿 If you don’t already have one, consider getting a fireplace insert for your open-hearth fireplace. The efficiency of a fireplace insert can be up to 80%, whereas a regular fireplace usually only has about a 10% efficiency, at most.

🌿 Install a BioEthanol burning fire.

My favourite maximalist decorated fireplaces for Christmas, you'll see my minimalist ones below.

Luxury maximalist christmas interior design
A 'wow' fireplace mantle, absolutely gorgeous

Amazing fireplace decoration for Christmas
Simple decorations but MASSIVE wreath.

Cosy, maximalist Christmas decoration
Love, love, love this festive decoration. The green velvet chair is perfect for this setting.

My minimalist favourites. Green and white are always effective, simple and crisp.

Minimalist Christmas decoration over a fireplace.
From @malmaoandmoss blog. Decorative simplicity.

Green Christmas wreath over a modern fireplace.
Green and white every time.

A luscious wreath draped over a simple fireplace mantle.
A more full bodied sustainable wreath. The candle backdrop sets this vignette off nicely.

Next, take a look at our Blog: We're Dreaming of a Green Christmas:


London based Sustainable Luxury Interior Design

🌿 Most images are sourced from Pinterest. Apologies if the original source has not been identified.


For exquisite interior design, eco-solutions and inspiring ideas join our Green & Glam community!


26 views0 comments


bottom of page