Sunday, September 9, 2012

5 DIY Fireplace Makeover Ideas

Few things can bring down a room than an outdated fireplace. And because it’s such a permanent-looking feature, it can feel like there’s nothing to be done about it other than a major renovation. But you can substantially transform the look of just about any fireplace with some simple DIY projects. Here are a few ideas.

Cover-ups and Accessories

When your fireplace and mantle are passable, but just need some punching up, accessorizing can save you a lot of work. If the stone is attractive, but just overwhelming the space, cover some of it up with an art piece or a mirror that fits the shape of the chimney. The idea here is to use the existing brick or rock face as a backdrop for other visual elements. If you’re willing, you can install a few light fixtures, set some large vases or candlesticks on the mantle to take the focus off of the mediocre facing and onto those items.

Tile or Stone

Depending on what kind of fireplace you have, demolishing the existing stone or brick to replace it with something else could be a lot of work. But the effect of replacing that outdated surface with something attractive is truly transformational for the entire room.

A glass tile fireplace will offer sparkle that you won’t get with slate, a common choice for fireplace makeovers. Of course, you can always apply a new stone veneer that better matches your design plans. Smaller tiles and stones can make a tiny fireplace seem larger or create a mosaic pattern that’s more appealing than ugly old lava rock or boring stone.

Don’t Fear the Paint

Sometimes the ugly stone or brick surrounding your fireplace is beyond saving. If you don’t want to rip it out, you shouldn’t hesitate to try painting. One mistake a lot of people make is painting a fireplace neutral, blending colors, but that ends up sterilizing a space of color and texture. You’ll want to do all your prep work before interior painting, but just be sure to choose a color that doesn’t blend in with the color of your existing walls and floors.

Reclaimed Wood

One of my favorite looks for remodeling fireplaces, or just an accent wall, is wood. It’s such a rustic look to have the wood texture of reclaimed or aged hardwood surrounding a flickering fire. Horizontal beams are usually the best. The larger your fireplace, the wider your planks should be, I think. This rustic touch is just the thing to rough up an ultra-modern room makeover, and the contrast is just stunning.

Added Surround Bookshelves

Built-ins around the fireplace prevent the walls from appearing too bare. They also help fireplaces from appearing to extend too far into the room, just hanging there. Shelves and cabinets also draw visual attention away from the fireplace, diffusing it as a focal point; just what you need if the fireplace itself is a bit underwhelming.

Author bio: Robin Matthews isn’t always rearranging the furniture and hunting for paint swatches; sometimes, she blogs on home improvement, décor and style at

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