Stone fireplaces are the focal point of the room. It's also costly and difficult to remove so you want to make sure that you get it right the first time. Here are a few stone fireplace designs to make sure that your dream of a beautiful room doesn't go up in smoke.

Warm up to the idea of a country look. You might not be sold on the idea of ceramic chicken cookie jars but this is a more elegant way to do country. It's a subtle influence that adds a lot of warmth to your home. Of course cobblestone or river rocks are natural choices for this design style. You'll also want to pick a stone or faux stone that has different colors in it ranging from peach to brown to gray to get that authentic river stone look.

Don't be scared of natural stone. Not everyone loves the look of natural stone. They might think that it seems too heavy or even too busy. There are several ways to design around this and still use elements that both you and your spouse will love. You can find a stacked rock that mimics more of a brick pattern. It is a little softer looking and less conventional then brick because of the natural lines of each of the stones. Plus, cultured stone already comes put together in its own color palettes so you can be assured that you're getting all beige or peach colored rock instead of being surprised by Mother Nature.

Find a design that works for your wallet and your lifestyle. If you are on a budget then just try doing a stone fireplace surround and then go with a mantle on top. Newer homes often have an alcove for the TV on the top. With flat screens this really isn't as necessary but you want to make sure that your TV is at a comfortable height. Homes are often designed this way just so there won't be dueling focal points.

Find a balance. You can only add so much rock to the space before it seems oppressive and overbearing. You might want to go with a lower profile river rock with plenty of grout lines if you don't want the piece to stand out in your room. You can even add a mantle and a fireplace surround out of a coordinating material. This will make your rock fireplace different than all of your neighbors. It also gives you the opportunity to customize the piece to the scale of your space so it's a perfect fit.

Natural stone doesn't have to be rustic. You can find a lot of elegant pieces that can add substance to a more formal space. You can find large marble pieces. These often include the mantel and a piece on top. It almost has a Grecian or a French look to it so it adds instant architecture to any room.

Stone fireplaces can be a real asset to your space. You can work with your existing pieces or put one in on a budget. You want to choose a design style and a color that you can live with for along time because once you get it in it's not going anywhere.