A DIY Fireplace makeover doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. It can significantly impact your space without a lot of disruption to your home.
One of the primary projects on my list for this year is making some updates to our living room. The space wasn’t cohesive, it lacked good traffic flow and felt too cluttered. Knowing these issues, there were a number of things we identified as wanting to do. It started with a fireplace makeover and that’s what I’m excited to share with you today.
Over the past couple of years B and I have been more clearly defining our style. We’ve been focussing less on trends and more on how we live, what we like, and the style of our home. I mentioned wanting to change the fireplace as part of our living room project, but B was really hesitant for a while. He was mostly trying to avoid a lot of added work, but as we got into it, I think he realized it was the right thing to do. Together we came up with a plan that didn’t take a lot of time or money to completely change the look of our entire fireplace.
Fireplace Makeover Before and After
B built our fireplace surround and added a ventless gas insert within the first few years that we lived here. Not wanting the space to feel too formal, we went with a more rustic, barn beam mantel and shiplap above – before shiplap was even a thing. I didn’t even know what shiplap was that long ago.
We did a stacked stone surround and used the same marble we put in our master bathroom for the hearth. The end result was really beautiful and for the longest time was my favorite thing in the house.
As we’ve gotten better at defining our style, the thing I loved so much early on suddenly became a detail that felt out of place and not a part of the overall vision for the direction of our home. Just like I mentioned above, B wasn’t on board at first, but once I started painting the living room, and we started finalizing our plans for the rest of the room, he started to see it was worth the extra work. I shared a few inspirational photos with B to make sure we were on the same page, and then we got to planning how to make it happen.
The end result is maybe even better than I’d envisioned. Requiring only a few materials, and a little planning, B was able to create a more traditional mantel that looks like it could have been here originally. With roughly $100 in materials and some paint, this weekend project completely updated the focal point of our living room, and finally feels like it belongs in this house. This beauty is maybe my favorite detail in the house again.
The Details of our Fireplace Update
The original mantel (the reclaimed wood barn beam) was held on with large bolts. That was easy to remove because he already opened up an area into the fireplace surround to feed the wires for the TV and other components.
Speaking of TV components, I had the idea to create a little alcove to house all those components on the side where they are out of sight and it’s been perfect! B simply built a plywood box, we painted it to match the wall color so it blends in, and mounted it in the hole. Some simple trim around the outside gives it a more finished look.
The mantel itself is nothing more than some crown molding, a piece of chair rail, some scrap wood to use as blocking, and 2 1×8 pine boards for the top.
The paint color we used for the fireplace and trim throughout the living room is Benjamin Moore Kennebunkport Green HC-123 and is a color I matched from the drapery fabric. The walls in the room are painted Benjamin Moore Navajo White.
How to Update a Fireplace – A Few Tips and Tricks
Every fireplace is different and we all have different styles. Here are a few of my top tips that will help you update your own fireplace mantel with little effort.
Add a Fresh Coat of Paint.
Paint is and will always be my biggest go-to way to update a space. It’s relatively inexpensive, it doesn’t require a ton of tools or materials and it doesn’t require a lot of time. Adding a pop of color can really create a bold focal point like we did.
Swap out the Mantel.
The only thing we changed on our fireplace was the mantel itself and the paint of course. Changing out just the mantel, give the fireplace an entirely new vibe and blends in with the rest of the house so much better.
Change out the surround.
Removing existing tile can take some elbow grease and get a little messy. Replacing tile can also be a little messy and requires the proper tools to get the job done but because surrounds are often small in square feet, you can often splurge a little more on some really great tile to add a major wow factor to your fireplace. Or, if you prefer a more classic look, brick veneer tiles are affordable and come in a range of colors. (We’re actually considering doing this to our fireplace.)
Change out the decor.
Sometimes, it’s not the fireplace at all. Sometimes your decor can look a little tired or bland and simply refreshing or styling your mantel in a new way can be enough to give your entire fireplace a new life for a while. Shop your house and it won’t even cost you anything!
Fireplace Design Ideas
Looking for more fireplace design ideas to inspire your own fireplace makeover? Here are a few of my favorites!
For all of our more recent projects, I’ve found that seeking out ideas from homes similar in age and style to our home can be really helpful. Our 1860s colonial can be challenging at times and this has helped. I suggest doing the same for your home.
This fireplace (and home) has been saved in my Pinterest boards for a while. While not exactly my personal taste, the timeless, livable feel is very much in keeping with what my goals are for our home.
This photo, inspired me both by the bold accent color and the details of the fireplace because the basic design is very similar to ours.
Similar to the above, the overall design of the fireplace was very similar to ours. The bold accent color against white walls helped give me the confidence to paint ours a bold color too.
Much like the first photo, this old house feels livable today even though many of the design details speak to the age of the house.
Even if my fireplace makeover isn’t your cup of tea, I hope I’ve given you some ideas. I also hope I’ve shown you that an update like this doesn’t have to be expensive or super complicated. Paint alone can make a huge difference in the look of a fireplace. We took it a step further. We replaced the mantel with a DIY version, using a few simple supplies and less than $100.
As always, my goal here isn’t to share my home for others to copy. Instead, my goal is to share ideas and projects that inspire through doable DIY projects that you can do.
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