By Nancy Mattia, CTW Features
When you walk into a room that has a fireplace, it’s often the first thing that you see. It centers the space, drawing attention whether it’s made of weathered wood or elegant porcelain or painted black or white. But some fireplaces need some love to look like their best self. Check out these seven ideas for inspiration:
Before you start to make any improvements, take a look at the area around the fireplace: Are there tables, chairs, or other pieces of furniture that get in the way of seeing the entire fireplace? If so, move those furnishings elsewhere.
Install a mantel
This architectural element, which sits on top of the fireplace surround (the frame that forms an upside down “u”), gives a fireplace more dimension. Mantels come in different materials, such as wood, metal, and stone, and styles like rustic and contemporary to match the room’s decor.
Paint the surround
Of all the changes you could make to update your fireplace, which gives the most bang for the buck? “Depending on the style of the fireplace, if there is a wood surround and/or mantel, I would suggest painting it,” says Lisa Kahn of Lisa Kahn Designs in Naples, Florida. “Have fun with it—paint it with a fresh coat of white paint or be dramatic and opt for a deep charcoal.” If you want to be more colorful, paint your surround a pretty shade of blue or green.
Redecorate the mantel
Some people decorate a mantel and leave it unchanged for years, except during the holiday season when they add a string of twinkling lights. Changing out what’s there for some new items is easy. “Start by hanging a new piece of art or mirror,” says Kahn, “and then add a pair of candlesticks or ginger jars flanking the art or mirror.” That symmetry, she says, will have a calming and balanced effect.
Add tiles to the surround
“Adding a fun, colored tile to the immediate firebox surround creates interest and a more modern look,” says Kahn. “We recently updated a traditional oak fireplace mantel with a fresh coat of white paint and covered the tired granite surround with dark green porcelain tiles laid in a chevron pattern. With relatively little effort and expense, it was reborn.”
Paint the back wall
This will add a pop of color that will draw the eye to the fireplace. Choose a color that complements the other hues in the room.
Pick modern shapes
If you love the mirror-over-the-mantel look, choose a shape that’s unexpected such as round. Another shapely way to give a fireplace new life: placing a metal decorative screen with a scrollwork pattern in front of it.