Houses with working fireplaces
are fantastic - there's nothing quite like sitting by a warm fire on a cold night. However, an outdated fireplace can bring a room way down.
Updating a fireplace
can be an easy project, or a major one - it all depends on the fireplace and your expectations. Here are some ideas for updating your fireplace - from simple to, well, not-so-simple:
The easiest way to give your fireplace a new look is by adding to the mantle. Display a small collection, add flowers, or show off photos - they'll draw the eye away from the fireplace itself.
Sometimes all an older mantle needs is a bit of cleaning. This can be a time-consuming process, and you should take care to use appropriate cleaning products
, but you never know what treasures you'll find under layers of soot.
The next step after cleaning
, a new layer of paint on a wooden mantle can spruce up a whole room.
4. Simplify or add architectural details.
This is a big job, but if you're very detail-oriented (or have a talented friend or contractor), adding detail to a simple mantle (or subtracting it from something too busy) makes for a big change.
5. Completely revamp.
A new facade of stone, tile, marble or wood is a big job, but also makes a big difference, and can give the whole room a facelift. Reclaimed mantles are often available at architectural salvage houses. For bigger jobs, it makes sense to find a contractor with fireplace experience.
Add your own tips in the comments, or take the discussion over to the buzz board – each month, the best design
tip or story (related to this or any other home design project) will win a $50 gift card to a one of several home design stores (more details here
). September's contest is on until the 30th. Good luck!