Simple Ways To Update An Outdated Fireplace

An old fireplace can make a room look outdated. It can even bring down the value of your home. Fortunately, there are ways you can bring that old monstrosity of a fireplace into the modern era. Let these ideas inspire you.

Consider Paint

Painting over brick has long been a quick and cheap way to change the look of a fireplace, but a quick coat of white paint isn't really the most design savvy choice. If you are lucky enough to have a relatively neutral brick, such as tan or gray, consider using a light touch with the paint. Choose a paint a few shades lighter than the brick. Spread the paint in a shallow layer on a tray. Next, cut the sponge so it is the same size as the bricks. Lightly coat the sponge in the paint and dab it gently on the bricks. This will create a natural pattern that alters the brick color slightly so it looks newer. You can use this same trick on white-painted bricks to make them look more brick-like, simply opt for a medium gray paint.

Try a Veneer

If the brick can't be saved with paint, consider having it covered with a veneer. Both brick and stone fireplace veneers are available. These are installed over the old bricks. When done properly, you can't even tell that this is a veneer and not the built in fireplace. The fireplace contractor generally begins by building a false front over the old brick. This allows you to slightly alter the shape of the entire fireplace. The veneer is then affixed over this false front and anchored to the wall.

Switch Out the Mantle

If your fireplace is okay but the mantle leaves something to be desired, consider switching it out for something a bit more modern. Old brick mantles can disappear visually into the face of the fireplace. The answer to this is to have a hollow wooden mantle build to fit the dimensions of your old mantle. This slides over the brick shelf and provides a surface that you can paint or stain any color that you like. Another option is to tile over the mantle box. If you don't want to build a box, simply lay a board on top of the brick mantle and anchor it in place with masonry screws. The old mantle will serve as the support for the new wooden mantle.

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