The fireplace is the focal point in many homes, naturally drawing people together to gather around its warmth and glow. But an outdated fireplace can make your home feel stale and tired. Fortunately, updating your fireplace is one of the easiest ways to modernize your home’s style and create an inviting space for relaxing and connecting.
With a few simple updates, you can transform your fireplace into a stunning centerpiece that feels fresh and brings out any design décor. In this blog, we will go over tips to breathe new life into your fireplace, from easy design tweaks like repainting the surround to more involved upgrades like tiling the hearth or installing built-in shelving. Whether you make minor changes or a major renovation, revamping your fireplace can give your whole home a stylish facelift. Read on for inspirational ideas to make this heart of your home feel current again.
Assessing Your Current Fireplace
Evaluating the existing design and functionality: The first step in updating your fireplace is to thoroughly assess the existing structure. Carefully examine the material it is constructed from, which is typically brick, stone, or a brick-and-stone combination. Look closely at the condition of the bricks or stones – are any cracked, damaged, or crumbling away? Tap on them with a hammer to identify any loose areas.
Check the stability and integrity of the entire fireplace structure. Are there any gaps or weak points? Is the chimney firmly connected to the fireplace? Try gently pushing on different areas to detect any movement. Using a flashlight, look inside the fireplace box and chimney for any cracks, gaps, or damage.
If the inspection reveals significant damage, deterioration, or structural instability, you may need to rebuild part or all of the existing fireplace. Rebuilding allows you to create the ideal structure and material for an updated fireplace. If the current structure is mainly intact and solid, you can move ahead with less invasive updates. Assessing the condition thoroughly first ensures any updates properly address weaknesses and enhance safety.
Style and aesthetics: One of the easiest ways to update the look of your existing fireplace is by refreshing the surfaces and finishes. Consider applying a fresh coat of whitewash or paint to existing brick. Not only will this brighten up the space, but it can also give an outdated fireplace a more modern, clean look.
For a more dramatic change, you may want to add new facing materials like stone, tile, or even metal around the firebox opening. This can range from relatively simple DIY projects to more extensive masonry work. Be sure to consult a professional if taking on major structural changes.
Beyond the fireplace itself, focus on ways to integrate the fireplace into the overall design of the room. Updating wall colors, adding trim details, and installing custom built-in cabinetry or shelving around the fireplace can help modernize the look. Paint the mantel a bold, contrasting color to make it a focal point.
Take time to think about the fireplace surroundings and how you can use paint, tile, millwork, and storage to create a cohesive, updated look. The goal is to make the fireplace feel like an intentional, integrated part of the room’s decor rather than an isolated eyesore. A few strategic updates to finishes and details can go a long way in improving the look and feel of your existing fireplace.
Choosing a Design Style
Exploring popular fireplace design trends
Modern and sleek: The modern and sleek look is all about clean lines, minimal decoration, and a contemporary style. This trend uses fireplace designs with a simple yet elegant aesthetic. Clean-faced fireplaces without ornamental doors or decorative features. The focus is on the fire itself.
Modern fireplaces are usually large format fireplaces to create a dramatic focal point. Built-in fireplaces with wall-to-wall installations. Many of these fireplaces consist of a frameless or recessed fireplace for a seamless look with flush finishes to remove visual distractions.
As far as colors, stick with neutral colors like black, white, gray, and beige. You can also add very minimal color accents. Modern and sleek fireplaces also can contain natural materials like stone, concrete, metal, and glass used in simple forms. You should avoid ornate materials but can add perhaps a simple metal border or trim with minimalist, geometric accessories in the same color scheme.
The modern style achieves an elegant and luxurious look through simplicity rather than ornamentation. It’s bold yet understated. This trend works well in contemporary homes and more modern interior design aesthetics. A sleek fireplace can make a strong visual statement.
Rustic and traditional: Many homeowners are drawn to the warmth and nostalgia of a rustic, traditional fireplace. Using natural materials like stone and exposed brick lends an earthy, organic feel. Consider an oversized hearth made from flagstone or slate for a grounded look. Exposed beams and reclaimed wood mantels complement the raw stone beautifully.
Wrought iron fireplace tools and accessories in black or antique brass convey the traditional aesthetic. For a truly cozy farmhouse vibe, incorporate touches like a hanging pot rack or pinecones in a vintage bucket near the hearth. Don’t be afraid to decorate the mantel with cherished family photos, dried floral arrangements, or candles for a welcoming, timeless style.
Lean into the craftsman charm of the farmhouse look by opting for an arched brick fireplace. Whitewashed or cream-colored bricks keep the palette light and airy. For a more cultured look, choose a carved limestone mantel and matching hearth. Design your cozy reading nook with vintage ladderback chairs, woven blankets, and antique table lamps. The overall effect is both elegant and inviting.
Eclectic and personalized: If you have an eclectic style or like to showcase your personality, an eclectic and personalized fireplace design is perfect for you. This approach embraces mixing different styles, textures, colors, and decorative accessories to create a one-of-a-kind look.
Some ideas for achieving an eclectic fireplace design include:
Combining modern materials like stone or tile with antique or rustic wood accents and detailing. This creates an interesting blend of old and new. Look to use multiple styles of tiles or stones to create an eclectic patterned fireplace surround. Moroccan, Spanish, and geometric patterns work well.
Painting or staining the mantel an unexpected accent color to make it pop. Try bold hues like emerald green or sapphire blue. Incorporating personalized memorabilia and cherished travel finds. Display family photos, antique mirrors, decorative plates, or artwork collected over the years.
You can also add woven textiles, colorful pillows, fresh flowers, and plants to make the fireplace area cozy and inviting. Using different materials like metal, brick, and wood together for texture interest, installing a unique fireplace screen or doors, like wrought iron or patterned metal.
The key is to not be afraid to mix and match your favorite pieces and decor. Allow your tastes and style to shine through. The eclectic look embraces imperfection. Make your fireplace as unique as you are.
Incorporating personal preferences into the design: A fireplace can be a wonderful focal point in a room to add personality and warmth. There are many ways to make your fireplace feel cozy, inviting, and reflective of your style. Some ideas for personalizing your fireplace include:
Photos: Displaying framed photos on the mantel or surrounding walls brings a personal element to the space. Choose special photos of family, friends, pets, vacations, or other meaningful moments. Go for a symmetrical arrangement or an asymmetrical style for a more organic look. Mix frames for variety.
Artwork: Hang artwork above the mantel to make it a striking focal point. Choose a painting, print, tapestry, or mixed media piece in colors and textures that appeal to you. Abstract art can add modern flair while landscape scenes evoke a serene ambiance. Framed mirrors also make beautiful art.
Candles: Clustering candles along the mantel provide a gorgeous ambiance and a cozy feel. Opt for pillars, votives, or candlesticks in coordinating colors and heights. Candlelight reflects beautifully off the fireplace surround. Leave them unlit when not in use for safe decoration.
Additional Décor: Shelves built into the fireplace surround are great spots to display cherished decorative objects. This could include vases, sculptures, bowls, baskets, and more. You can also place decor directly on the mantel, such as trays, urns, and seasonal decorations. Always avoid highly flammable materials.
Get creative and make the fireplace your own with personal touches that reflect your style and memories. The focal point will become a meaningful detail visitors admire.
Fireplace Surround and Mantel Makeover
The mantel is the top of the fireplace and one of the most visible elements of the design. The style and material of the mantel establish the overall look and feel of the fireplace. When updating your fireplace, consider refreshing your mantel as well.
Popular mantel design styles include:
Tile: Tile mantels allow you to add color, texture, and patterns through natural stones, ceramic tiles, or handmade tiles. Tile comes in countless styles to match any decor.
Stone: For traditional charm, a classic stone or brick mantel complements masonry fireplaces. Limestone, marble, granite, and other natural stones create an elegant focal point.
Wood: A natural wood mantel made from barn wood, reclaimed wood, or rough-hewn logs fits into a cozy, rustic, cabin-style decor. Distressed stains help bring out the wood’s natural grain and character.
Creative Ideas For Revamping The Mantel
Painting or wallpapering the wall above your mantel is an easy and affordable way to transform the look and feel of your fireplace. Opt for a neutral color that complements your existing décor, or make a bold statement with a vibrant, eye-catching shade. Matte finishes hide flaws and reflect less light. For pattern options, consider modern geometric designs, floral prints, or subtle textures. Measure carefully and prep the wall for best results.
Built-in shelving and cabinetry flanking the fireplace mantel provide ample opportunity for displaying treasured items and decorative objects. Floating shelves in different sizes and configurations work beautifully. Enclosed built-in cabinetry with adjustable shelves allows you to neatly tuck items out of sight. When installing shelving, be mindful of proper mounting, weight loads, and avoiding potential moisture damage. Proper lighting is key to highlighting your displayed treasures.
Upgrading the Hearth
A fireplace mantel serves both functional and decorative purposes in a home. Updating an outdated or boring mantel is one of the easiest ways to give your fireplace a fresh new look.
There are several options for upgrading your existing mantel to match your home’s updated style. One simple approach is to stain or paint the mantel in a color that complements your current decor. A neutral white or black mantel provides versatility to match any decor. For a bolder look, paint or stain the mantel a dynamic accent color that pops against your wall color.
You can also update the mantel by adding architectural details like trim work, corbels, or built-in shelving. Adding crown molding, dentil molding, columns, or other trim work accents along the mantel instantly gives it a custom, upgraded feel. Incorporating open shelving or cubbies built into the sides of the mantel provides both form and function. Built-ins allow you to stylishly display cherished photos, art, and decorative objects above the fireplace.
Whether you stain, paint, or add decorative woodwork to your mantel, updating this focal point is an easy way to give your fireplace an entirely new look. A new mantel design has an outsized visual impact, making the fireplace the centerpiece of your room’s refreshed look.
Summarizing key tips for updating a fireplace. Encouraging readers to embark on a fireplace makeover with IBT brands. Final thoughts on creating a cozy and stylish focal point in the home.
Beyond practical warmth and old-fashioned charm, a fireplace offers a mesmerizing escape. Watching the flickering flames induces a calm, meditative state. The fire captures our imagination and brings back fond memories of camping trips, bonfires, and s’mores.
Updating an outdated or neglected fireplace can completely transform a living space. A stylish new fireplace provides visual interest and becomes a source of pride. It’s worth investing time and money to turn this crucial space into an elegant showpiece that reflects your personal taste and style.
With proper care and maintenance, your fireplace makeover can stay fresh and prevent potential hazards like chimney fires or damage. Investing a little time into routine care is well worth it. Stop by our showroom at International Bath and Tile and we can help you pick out the materials you need to make your fireplace the place you want to spend your time.