If you're looking for a fireplace that gives you both efficiency and the pleasure of watching the flames dance, you might consider a gas model. You can't roast marshmallows in them, but you'll have the advantage of a clean and convenient source of heat.
A modern gas fireplace emits no smoke and vents its waste gases to the outside through a tube in the wall rather than up a chimney. It incorporates air-movement channels that maximize the warmth supplied to the house. The fireplace consists of incombustible "logs" covering gas vents, and the fire itself burns behind glass doors. It gives off both radiant and convected heat and provides an experience similar to an open fire
One benefit of a gas fireplace is that it may help lower heating bills. It lets you heat the room you are spending time in while you keep your thermostat low and the rest of the house cooler. You stay toasty and your furnace gets a rest. Most gas fireplaces take advantage of sealed combustion. Their doors have gaskets that block all air. The fire draws air outside air through a pipe to support combustion, so no warm room air is drawn out of the house.