Summer is winding down, and though we won't be seeing cold temperatures in Charleston for a couple of months, we think this is the perfect time to start thinking about home projects for fall and winter. Today, we want to talk about fireplaces. More specifically, we want to talk about old, outdated, sooty, red brick, brass-trimmed fireplaces. Now is the perfect time to update that less-than-glamorous monster sitting in the middle of your living room. Take one or two of these ideas and run with them before the cooler weather hits.

  • Paint the bricks. A coat of paint over brick that isn't your taste is the simplest update we can think of. It's a cheap and easy way to make your fireplace match your decor and your tastes.
  • If you don't like the look of brick at all, replace it with a new facade of limestone, slate, tile, or river stones. Using faux versions of these materials makes things easier and guarantees that you won't have to add floor support.
  • Use plaster to cover over brick instead of removing it completely. Then paint the plaster as desired.
  • Builtins are certainly useful and can be lovely additions to any room, but sometimes a surrounding builtin can dwarf a fireplace, taking attention away from what could be a beautiful focal point. Consider removing builtings or minimizing them so your fireplace can stand front and center.
  • Build a new mantle. Make it modern crisp white, deep, sophisticated mahogany, or go rustic with reclaimed wood or driftwood.
  • Add a little color. You can do this with paint, tile, a new screen, or accessories.
  • For heaven's sake, remove that brass trim! This is one of the biggest culprits in making a fireplace look dated. You could also paint the trim for a completely different look.
  • Have an entire mantle, hearth, and surround built out of smooth marble or granite. This makes for a contemporary, smooth finish and accentuates clean lines in a minimalist space.
  • If your fireplace has beautiful brick or stone that simply looks old, dull, or dark, have them cleaned and etched to lighten the color.

What other ideas do you have for updating an outdated fireplace? Have you completed a project like this? Tell us in the comments below and send us some before and after photos.





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