Love the comfort of a crackling fire on a cold night, but hate how dated and boring your fireplace looks? There are a lot of ways to update it without calling in the professionals or breaking the bank.

Contemporary attice with a fireplace


It might be that your brick fireplace really doesn’t need any changes – it might just need a good cleaning to make it look fresh. Because you’ll probably need to do this before you tackle any of the other options, why not start here and see what you think?

For this project, you’ll need 120-grit sandpaper, a stiff brush, a spray bottle, a clean cloth, vinegar, and water. Start by gently sanding any loose mortar or crumbling bricks. Next, lightly scrub the fireplace with the stiff brush that you’ve dipped in a 50:50 vinegar-water solution. Finish by rinsing off the vinegar blend by spritzing the bricks with clean water and blotting them with a clean cloth. Let everything dry before proceeding with any other face-lifts.

While you clean, keep an eye out for cracks or drafts. These may be signs of more serious issues that should be addressed immediately.


Adding a coat of paint can give your fireplace – and the whole room – a dramatic new look. Pick a bold hue to add color to the whole room, or whitewash it to change the appearance without losing the charm of the original design. When choosing paint colors, keep in mind that light colors will make the fireplace look larger and stand out, while a darker color will make an over-sized style look smaller.

Check out this brick fireplace how-to guide on HomeAdvisor to transform it over the weekend.


Changing the face of your fireplace offers a plethora of options, from wood to metal to tiles to stones. The simplest update is to add a sealer to the existing bricks, wood, or stones. The subtle sheen of the sealer brings out a new depth of color that lifts tired finishes to new heights of charm.

One choice is faux marble panels that you just cut into squares and press onto the existing surface. They are lightweight, so there’s no need to reinforce the floor supports.

You could also add a tile surround. Choose iridescent tiles to give the room a delicate sparkle, or splurge on hand-painted tiles. For an inexpensive alternative, go for replicas of vintage or hand-painted patterns.

Stainless steel fireplace panels bring a sleek, contemporary appearance to a classic design. On the other hand, if you are tired of your brass surround, sand it with fine-grit sandpaper, then spray it with an even coat of heat-resistant primer, followed by an even coat or two of heat-resistant spray paint.


Sometimes, all you need to do to update the fireplace’s look is to add something above it. A large, bold piece of art can make a huge difference. If you already have a mantel, consider sanding, priming, and painting it. A white mantel on a dark fireplace or a dark one on white brick, wood, or stone adds a touch of sophistication. Use an oil-based primer to avoid raising the grain on a wooden shelf.

Don’t have a mantel? Head to a salvage or antique store to find a vintage mantelpiece. Often, you can find discarded pieces with beautifully carved details for a budget-friendly price. For a more modern style, add a concrete mantel. Draw eyes directly to the fireplace when you extend your mantel all the way to the ceiling before finishing it with a signature painting or wall sculpture.

Finally, go big when you add the mantel, and construct some built-in bookcases and display shelves to each side of the fireplace. Not only does this option highlight the beauty of your fireplace, it offers that treasured commodity – storage space.

Of course, now that you’ve given the focal point of the room a face-lift, you may find even more projects you can’t wait to tackle.

Published in: Smart home | Author: Pamela Martin


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