The technology of electric fireplaces has improved greatly in recent years.
First of all, the flame image has been greatly improved. Although the flames of an electric fireplace are not real, they look very attractive. With some models you have to look really closely these days to see that it is just an atmospheric flame. Older types of fireplaces often used strips of fabric that refract the steady light of a few colored light bulbs. The current technique with a reflective mirror shaft gives a much nicer and calmer fire image. This technique makes less noise and requires hardly any maintenance. The use of LED lamps has also reduced the power consumption enormously. A modern electric fireplace is easily 80-90% more economical to use than a fireplace from a few years ago.
An electric fireplace can be operated with a remote control, but increasingly also with an app or a smart home system such as Google Home or Alexa from Amazon.
In addition to a decorative function, most electric fireplaces also have a heating function. Do not expect that you can heat your house with this, a smaller living room will work just fine, but in fact this function is more intended as additional heating. When using a wood or gas fireplace, heat is always released, so an electric fireplace can also be used without heating. This gives the electric fireplace a clear advantage over the wood or gas fireplace, because it can be used much more often.
There are no special requirements for installing an electric fireplace. A flue or chimney or the use of heat-resistant materials is not necessary. Choose a traditional fireplace with an electric fireplace insert, an electric wall fireplace, or go all out and design your own fireplace with an electric built-in fireplace.