Fireplace Designs and Ideas for a Charming Makeover

When Santa comes down your chimney on Christmas Eve, does he wonder why you didn't put a grander fireplace at the top of your wish list? Or must he enter your home through a door because you don't even have one? Either way, you can expect to impress him next year by choosing one of these upgrade options for fireplaces.

Paint Over a Brick Fireplace

Make over a dated fireplace quickly and easily by painting over the brick. Choose a color that provides coverage and complements other decorative elements in the room, or simply go with white for a clean and basic look. Once you decide on a color, clean the brick with a wire brush and vacuum, then apply the recommended number of primer and paint coats. Allow to dry and enjoy your new fireplace.

Cover the Brick With Tile

If tile is more your style than brick, cover your existing fireplace with it. Because tile requires a smooth surface, though, and brick is anything but, you will need to use a cement backer board. This handy invention allows you to skip the torturous task of adding layers of mortar to create a level surface on which the tile can attach. Instead, you attach the tile to the board and the board to the fireplace. Covering brick with tile is a small job that has a big impact.

Cover the Brick With a Mantel

Many fireplaces use brick for the entire façade, sometimes including a mantel up top. This turns the fireplace into the focal point of the room, whether you want it to be so or not. To take it down a visual notch, add a wood mantel that covers the entire top. It blends the area into the rest of the room and reduces presence of the fireplace itself.

While the two projects above are DIY for the handy homeowner, this one requires the skills of a professional handyman for best results. It does involve construction and finish carpentry , after all. Your carpenter-skilled handyman will start by attaching strips of plywood around the sides of the fireplace to be used as the base. He or she will then use MDF or wood, depending on your budget, to create the mantel. Once done, the mantel attaches to the base, the trim goes on the mantel, and primer and paint covers it all. In terms of design, you can craft what you like to complement the architectural style of your home.

Create a Faux Fireplace

Adding a fireplace from scratch proves too costly for most homeowners-and simply not possible for some. You can create the next best thing, though: a faux fireplace. Again, this may involve carpentry and/or tile work above your skill level and require the use of a professional, but you will enjoy having such a statement piece in your living or family room. The mantel can hold family photos and other treasures, with the fireplace nook itself making an excellent place for candles. Changing the candle collection with the season also allows you to be regularly changing décor elements in the room.

No matter which of these ideas you use, keep in mind that as you change the colors of your home, so can you change the colors of your fireplace. Simply factor the fireplace in when coming up with new color palettes.

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