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How to update and refresh your fireplace

A makeover is often a good resale investment.

Give your unimaginative fireplace a new lease on

Give your unimaginative fireplace a new lease on life by adding colorful tiles and a bright mantel. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

When you have a fireplace, it should always be the focal point in the room, commanding attention when you enter. Too often, though, builder fireplaces seem small and soulless, or you may have a fireplace that is too overbearing (like a small fireplace in a giant wall of red brick). It could need a refresh.

Give your unimaginative fireplace a new lease on life in a few simple steps. In addition to giving a room new focus and personality, a fireplace makeover can be a good resale investment.

Flat and diminutive

When a fireplace is too small and the surround is overly large, it cries out for help. A quick way to help bring it back into proportion is to outline the fireplace with a mantel and create more volume around the opening.

The next step is to take some of the attention away from the oversized surround. An easy way to do this is to paint the surround so that it blends in with the rest of the walls. To further enhance the fireplace, try covering the wall of brick or stone with another type of texture. Look for other types of stone or wood, like shiplap. It will help distinguish the material around the fireplace opening and call more attention to it. This is especially helpful for flat wall fireplaces that lack a mantel.

Color rescue

Another method is to re-stain your brick a different color, such as from red to gray, for a more contemporary look. This can be achieved with stains used for brick or concrete. There are several steps to follow when changing the color of your brick, but if you choose to do so, try to find a spare brick to test first. Then talk with your paint store expert to walk you through the steps, or hire a painter with brick staining experience.

For something even easier than staining, try whitewashing your brick with paint. Working in a small section, paint with a white, gray or even beige shade, then wipe the paint off. You may need more than one layer to get the desired color. Be sure to do a test brick or area first.

Maybe it's not the brick that's the problem, but the wall that makes the fireplace fade into the background. Try painting your fireplace a contrasting color to make it grab everyone's attention.

Stone and texture

For a more formal look, cover up an old tile or brick surround with a piece of marble, granite or soapstone from your local stone store. Many times, the store will have odd and inexpensive pieces that will work perfectly for updating your surround.

Textural changes can also make a big difference in the way your fireplace looks. Textured wall panels can be applied easily and add instant and modern appeal. Tile is another option for creating a standout spot on your fireplace surround wall. Look for new geometric or colorful tiles to update your fireplace.


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