Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fireplace Decorating

Fireplace Decorating is a Great way to Spruce up an old Hearth

Do you want to have a fireplace that attracts attention and makes you look like an interior decorator? You can do it. The basic steps are to clean, paint, make additions and decorate. The result will be a showcase and focal point for the entire room. You can add items to the mantel, the wall above the fireplace or on the hearth and these items can be changed based upon the seasons and even holidays.
First, clean every part that’s dirty with soot and smoke including the firebox, hearth and mantel. Clean out those ashes and pieces of partially burned wood. You may have major accumulations of smoke, soot and grime from years of use. Some scouring powder with beach and a good stiff bristled brush may be enough to get the grime off the brick but a bottle of inexpensive fireplace cleaner that is specially formulated to clean brick will make the job much easier and make you more inclined to do it periodically.
Getting the soot off the inside also requires scrubbing with a brush and vinegar which will dissolve most of the stains. Something stronger may be required but try this first. The inside of your firebox can be painted with black fireplace paint to cover any stains. That will make the box appear to be new.
Add some fireplace glass doors if you don’t have them or consider upgrading if they’re in bad shape. The fireplace glass doors keep out small children and pets while making the fireplace more energy efficient. Put a hearth rug out if you burn wood as it helps protect the floor from stray, burning embers. Buy a screen in brass or black wrought iron if you want to burn wood with your glass doors open. It looks good and protects.
If the outside brick is older and covered with fireplace grime, a fireplace resurfacing kit can work miracles. It’s not the same as slapping some paint on the brick but makes it look new and professional. An amateur can do the job in a weekend. Kits come with all the tools, instructions and cans of stuff you need. Be sure to choose a fireplace paint as some types of paint cannot withstand the heat of a fireplace. Carefully chosen colors will complement your room d├ęcor.
Decorating the mantel and hearth is the fun part. The mantel can be the key to the entire look. It’s usually the first thing noticed since it’s at eye level. If you don’t have a mantel, one may be purchased with a wide variety of styles and costs. If you aren’t ready for the mantel or don’t have the budget, the wall above the fireplace can be adorned with hanging wreathes, clocks, pictures, or other art objects. You can do both wall and mantel but it’s easy to overdo.
Selecting the proper objects to decorate your fireplace is crucial. Use items that show off your personal tastes. Implements such as a toolset, andirons, and wood holder may vary widely in type and style. Cast iron, copper and pewter are some of the materials available. Add fireplace glass doors to provide extra security, energy efficiency and style.

Decorate your mantel as a separate but complementary showcase that enhances the fireplace and the surrounding area. Make this area personal but tasteful. This is a great location for portraits or landscape paintings on a small scale as well as art objects such as vases or sculptures. A mantel is a good home for family heirlooms and other things dear to the decorator personally. Vases or candles may be placed on both ends to provide a sense of balance if balance is what you’re seeking. Placing a plant on one side of the mantel or hearth with a different item on the other may suit you better. If it’s on the hearth, this could be the fireplace tools on one end.
Decorate your fireplace for the seasons to add a little variation and spice. Pumpkins and gourds make it feel like fall. Pinecones and greenery feels more like winter. Spring and summer seasons call for some floral additions. Candles can almost always be worked in. Lights may be placed on the mantel to enhance any of these ensembles. Don’t forget the stocking hung with care at Christmas or a Hanukkah menorah to celebrate your holiday.
Comfortable chairs near the fireplace invite family and guests to sit there after a meal. Add any items that entice you to the area. Fireplace decorating allows you to show your personality and gives you a place to display the objects you are proud of and want others to see. It’s not a onetime event. Keep changing things to refresh the room and the lovely centerpiece you’ve created. Keep it in good taste rather than gaudy.

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