Small Fire Pit Designs

You don’t need a large fire pit to enjoy cozy fireside events. Small fire pits squeeze a blaze into tiny outdoor living spaces.

Small Rustic Fire Pit

Small Rustic Fire Pit

A small fire pit embedded in a stone patio and circled by wooden chairs creates a rustic feel.

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Discover how to add a blazing fire to a tiny outdoor living area with a small fire pit. Small fire pits blend good looks with portability and, in some cases, versatility. Whether you want a mini fire pit for a balcony or one that fits a patio big enough for two, you can discover plenty of small fire pit ideas. The toughest part will be choosing which design is right for you. 

Fire pit safety is always important, but when you’re working with a small space, it’s even more vital. Make sure that a fire pit is legal in your community, and take care to site it a minimum of 10 feet from nearby structures (20 feet is better). Deck fire pits are illegal in many communities, but if they are permitted, they may require specific safety measures. Do your homework before building or buying a fire pit.

Most landscapers consider a three-foot-wide fire pit an intimate setting. That size is ideal for three to four people to cozy up to the blaze and easily converse around and over the fire. But you can find or make small fire pits in the 18- to 24-inch-wide range—or even smaller. The size you choose really depends on how you intend to use it. You might want a fire pit for marshmallow roasting and chasing the chill on an autumn evening. Or maybe you simply want to add a decorative evening accent to a patio or balcony. You can build or purchase small fire pits to suit any or all of those needs.

The easiest way to install a small campfire-type pit is by purchasing a steel fire pit ring. Many have decorative cut outs in the steel to create festive flickering designs. Place this ring on a non-combustible surface, add some logs, and you’re ready to have a fire. The steel does get hot during the fire, so use caution near that surface. Supervise any children or pets that are joining your fireside group.

Many manufactured small fire pits feature a variety of material options and eye-catching designs. Metals, including powder-coated steel, copper, stainless steel, and cast aluminum, are common choices for small fire pits. These materials may be molded into a variety of shapes, including bowls, squares, or pagoda-type forms.

Concrete fire pits frequently feature glass fiber-reinforced concrete, which helps reduce the weight. These types of fire pits are fire-resistant and remain cool to the touch. The glass fiber-concrete blend is most often used to form the base or top of a fire pit.

Small fire pits typically marry metal or concrete with other materials, such as granite, slate, or glass. The metal or concrete often forms a bowl, and the supplemental material creates a coping edge. The result is a finished look that boasts a high-end design feel. Most manufactured small fire pits include a screen or cover for the fire that enhances the decorative look.

When events don’t call for blazing flames, many of these small fire pits can also pull double duty as beverage holders. Simply fill the bowl with ice, add drinks, and you have a classy cooler upgrade.

Some small fire pits burn wood or pellets; others run on liquid propane. You can also purchase or build mini fire pits that burn gel fuel. Make sure you use the right kind of gel—the kind meant for use in fireplaces, which produces a flame. Gel fuel used for cooking only produces heat, not flame.

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