Sunday, September 30, 2007

Get Your Fireplace Ready before the Holiday Rush


Many people avoid thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas before November. But if your entire family is coming to visit, you can save yourself some stress by preparing your home—and your hearth—ahead of time.

The holidays are about family, and the best place to gather your family together is around a cozy fire. A remodeled fireplace is a natural backdrop for photos. Be sure to get the stockings in the picture!

Here are some remodeling and decorating ideas for your fireplace that you can get done before the last-minute holiday rush:

  • Replace your mantel. A monumental undertaking? Something only a contractor could do? Actually, if you’re handy with tools, you can order a custom-crafted hardwood mantel on the internet, have it delivered, and install it yourself. You can get a factory finish to match your d├ęcor, or you can finish the wood yourself.
  • Replace your fireplace accessories. New fireplace accessories such as screens, hearth rugs, and tools make a world of difference. Don’t let filthy, sooty screens or tools detract from the appearance of your fireplace. You can choose from many different designs to find out that goes perfectly with your living area.
  • Replace your gas logs. Think about upgrading to designer ceramic and concrete log sets for your gas fireplace.
  • Paint over ugly brick. Painting fireplace brick is a popular and inexpensive alternative to replacing or rebuilding a fireplace. This is a great do-it-yourself project that can give you startling results for a very small investment of time and money.
  • Hang Christmas cards. Instead of lining up cards on your mantel, try hanging Christmas cards from garlands or tinsel draped below or across the front of your mantelpiece.
  • Use stocking hangars. Don’t want to hammer nails in your hardwood mantel or drill holes in your fireplace brick? Try these handy fireplace brick clips that attach to bricks without damaging them, allowing you to hang stockings right on the fireplace.
  • Digital photo frames. You can choose from a wide variety of digital picture frames to put on the mantel. Load the memory with digital photos of past holidays. Many frames allow you to create a slideshow of pictures—that’s like having your photo album displayed all the time on your mantel.

If you have an ugly or neglected fireplace that you are tired of seeing every year in your Christmas pictures and videos, give yourself an early Christmas present and remodel it before the holidays. Santa will thank you.

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