You’ve probably done your fair share of room updating over the years, coating walls with fresh paint and swapping worn or outdated furniture for new. But have you ever given thought to refreshing your fireplace?
The fireplace, whether working or not, is often a focal point. Given that it’s the first thing your eyes land on when you walk into the room, its aesthetics shouldn’t be an afterthought. Consider the following easy ways to punch up its style.
Upgrade your screen. A new screen is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to give your fireplace a makeover. No matter what your room’s style, there’s a decorative screen to complement it—while protecting your room from stray embers or sparks. (Please note that screens are just as important for gas fireplaces with glass doors as they are for standard wood burning fireplaces, as they prevent young children from touching the hot glass.)
Add a mantel (or swap out your current one). If you don’t have a mantel over your fireplace, consider adding one. A mantel does double duty, serving as an anchor in the room as well as a shelf where you can display things. The type of mantel you choose depends on your room’s aesthetics. You’ll find free-floating mantels in a variety of materials—everything from reclaimed or carved wood to welded metal and stone.
Remove the mantel. Of course, there’s no rule that says you have to have a fireplace mantel. If you don’t think the mantel adds to your room’s aesthetics, go ahead and take it down.
Hang a piece of artwork. If your fireplace is for visual effect only (i.e. non-working), then the space above your mantel is perfect for displaying a favorite piece of art. (If your fireplace is a working fireplace, however, you may want to avoid hanging art above it, as over time the heat could damage it.)
Paint or whitewash the surrounding brick. If you’re looking to make a significant change, considering painting or whitewashing the brick. If you choose to paint, lighten things up with white, or go darker for drama. Just make sure to use paint that’s specifically formulated for high-heat areas.
If you’d prefer to lighten the brick without losing its character, try whitewashing, to tint the brick to a lighter tone. Whitewashing uses a mixture of white latex paint and water to mute dark tones, while preserving the brick’s natural attributes.