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Another 70's rock fireplace

June 10, 2019

Our small ranch is not only native rock on the exterior but the large fireplace dominates the living space. I have struggled 9 years since we bought this house with how to arrange the furniture and how to lighten up the room. My husband is a large man and insists on his HUGE recliner placed by the fireplace and within easy view of the TV which complicates the decorating even more. I have considered a light whitewash of the rock and placing the TV above the mantel to open up the area a bit. Good idea or Bad idea?? We are retired and on a limited income, so scrapping all the furniture and starting over is not an option right now.

Comments (35)

  • jck910

    I would definitely lighten the rock then I would paint the walls a lighter color something like BM Edgecombe Gray or Balboa Mist. Also declutter. All the small pieces around the room make it seem smaller. One piece of art over the mantle. Look at art.com. A larger lamp. A wider TV console. Remove pillows and vase from the floor.

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  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Hi. I understand you are on a limited budget.

    Zero cost:

    1) Eliminate the white recliner and move the brown recliner to your husband's spot.

    2) Remove all of the stuff from the fireplace, the fake plant and the vase with sticks, and small art hung on the walls. Small items strewn about add visual clutter and make the space feel busy and small.

    3) Center tv on the wall.

    4) move small table by recliner to fireplace side.

    Minor cost (any of these will improve the situation. All of these will improve greatly)

    1) Paint walls a light color

    2) Whitewash stone on fp

    3) Buy a lower and wider console.

    4) Hang tv

    5) 2 lamps on either side of tv

    6) Replace fan with a ceiling light that gives off a lot of light. One example below.

    7) Add pillows in bright colors.

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  • nickel_kg

    I like all CDR's suggestions EXCEPT whitewashing the fireplace. Painted rocks are ugly, ugly, ugly. Bricks, sometime. Rocks, never. What about some uplighting on it instead. Or downlighting if that's easier.

    Does your husband like watching tv in a darkened room? Mine does. Sometimes you have to compromise -- but you can still make progress to a lighter look.

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  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    No painted rocks that is exactly what they look like and it is not good. You need to lower the TV on awider lower cabinet and get some good lighting both ceiling and floor and table lamps.

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  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie

    I love your fireplace!

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  • decoenthusiaste

    I'm guessing that the big beige recliner is hubby's. Where do you like to sit? How often do you need to seat others here, and how many? Do you like to shop second hand? Have you ever sold anything on Craig's List? Painting the walls is the cheapest and most high impact thing you can do, especially if you DIY. A lighter or more colorful rug would help (you might sell yours and buy another right on CL.) I assume that is a blower system underneath the mantel. Do you use it regularly to help heat the house? With your white woodwork elsewhere, you might get away with a white mantel on the FP. Yours is so skinny, it can't stand up to the visual weight of the stone (which I would not paint or stain.)

    Lake Home · More Info

    Indian Hills Living Room · More Info

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  • Patty

    Thanks so much for all the wonderful suggestions. All the comments are most helpful and I will definitely follow the advice. I understand whitewashing the rock is controversial and personally don't care for the painted rock look, either. I thought about applying a watered down whitewash that would still let the texture of the rock show through but hesitant to even do that since it's very difficult to remove if I don't like it.

    Paint, decluttering, new TV console and rug I can easily do. I do a little woodworking and can build a new wider mantel as well. Should the mantel extend the whole length of the fireplace of just the width of the hearth?? The fireplace is about 9-1/2 feet in length and the hearth is 7 ft.

    Thanks again!

  • redsilver

    They "limewash" brick with good results outside. I just wonder, if one can 'limewash" stone? It appears the stone maybe could just use a good scrubbing with some mild soap or TSP, and a soft brush. I wonder if that might lighten it a bit also? You might check into washing it first with the TSP and see if it changes it to brighten a bit. Let it dry well for a week or so and than.........well, Read this post from HOUZZ a while back....using a milkpaint on the stone really did make a big difference! https://www.houzz.com/discussions/5341532/limewash-or-whitewash-stone-fireplace

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  • redsilver

    Not certain a larger mantle would be an asset? And not sure you will want the tv that high above the natural view of vision. Just know that straining to look UP is not as much fun in the Senior decades of life, as it is in the "junior" years of life. There are alot of folks that have issues with pinched nerves or wear in the neck area, and sitting in a smaller square footage area, is not always good for watching television at such an unnatural neck position. If you lighten the fireplace and even the mantle, it will be such a change, you may not want a black television disrupting the new "eye candy" in the room. I like the shape of your mantle, especially if to make the fireplace less massive visually, is your goal. Just a different perspective. Very nice home!!

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  • lindahambleton

    You may want to wash the rock . I guess power washing in the house is out, but a brush and bucket will work.

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  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    Hi Patty. As you say, each person has his own opinion on whether a painted or whitewashed stone looks good. Here is a painted one. I think if you go with neutral tones in the room it looks great.

    This is a white wash.

    Can you take a photo with the shades open so we can see the color of the stone better?

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  • pammykb

    I like rock/stone fireplaces but if you really would like a change, take a look at Romabio Paints. Their website is romabio.com

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  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    I just painted a client's house with Romabio. High quality product. His house was pink brick and needless to say, he didn't like it. They have several different products, including limewash. We chose paint. You can mix it with standard paint colors to achieve the look you want. Available online or in some Benjamin Moore paint stores. Customer Service is very helpful.

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  • Patty

    Here is another photo of the rock. I have tried washing and sealing it a number of times so it is what it is. I just looked online at the Romabio products and like the idea of perhaps tinting it for a more "natural" look.

  • decoenthusiaste

    Since the fireplace appears to be wider on one side than on the other, I would match a new mantel to the width of the hearth.

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  • PRO
    CDR Design, LLC

    I am not sure what you mean by "natural" finish. I highly recommend you have a professional painter tackle this.

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  • PRO
    Sabrina Alfin Interiors

    I might suggest embracing the rock by getting "wall washer" lights to create a cool effect. The lights are recessed into the ceiling just in front of the fireplace and pointed down to bathe the wall in light. Here's an example:

    Hillside Home · More Info

    As for the furniture, there are plenty of options for upholstered pieces that can accommodate a large person that don't involve over-sized leather recliners. Any armchair and ottoman combination will serve the same comfort purpose without overtaking the room. The upholstered fabric will lighten the space--don't make everything brown.

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  • groveraxle

    I decluttered, painted the wall a lighter version of the current color, replaced the Tiffany lamp with a floor lamp, got you a longer, white-and-wood console and centered it on the wall, lowered the tv to a better viewing height and to connect it to the console, moved the framed print to connect it to both.

    Try these things first before tackling the fireplace. They may revive the room enough that you don't want to do anything else.

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  • Patty

    Wow! Love how you were able to edit my photo with your ideas. Thanks so much for taking the time to do that. You all have been a big help to me plus settled a few arguments at home. lol

  • groveraxle

    Build yourself a box beam mantel exactly as long as the hearth. Keep the stain light. Hang it directly on the current mantel. Use just a couple of light photos in light frames and a vase or a candle, keeping the whole vignette no taller than 3/4 the height to the ceiling.

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  • redsilver

    Visually, I really like having that Television at the height Grover placed it at. It matches the line of your current mantle, and brings a very aesthetically well planned order to your room with the recliners opposite the television, into the room space. Plus, 2 can now view the television with equal enjoyment. If there is a way to provide it, I would give each recliner it's own light bulb, with a 2 dual lamp of some creation, perhaps with a table included/attached, if you find one that suits your taste or your budget... I also found this TV Stand, that might blend well with your stone/room surfaces. It's on Clearance sale..https://www.livingspaces.com/pdp-caden-63-inch-tv-stand-243641

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  • Patty

    Thanks. The photos and links to furniture suggestions are a great help. I was anxious to try out some of your ideas this evening so did some decluttering and temporarily placed a single larger framed art piece over the mantel just to see how it looks. You all are spot on! I plan to repaint the walls and purchase a longer, shorter console and lighter rug later this summer. Now, I need to build a new shelf in my husband's office to display those dead ducks. They should look great there among his dead deer heads and such. We won't even talk about that room. He says it's off limits.

  • groveraxle

    Thanks for the laugh, Patty.

    Look for the longest TV stand you can find. It will ground the TV and help connect it to other pieces in the room at the same time.

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  • groveraxle

    Here's one that's 81" wide:

    Orren Ellis Quaniece TV Stand for TVs up to 78" & Reviews | Wayfair · More Info


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  • Seajaygerns

    Love all the ideas. And Patty you’re such a good sport and Grover will always give you great advice. The only suggestion I would make is if you were able to bring more lamps into the space, I.e., on the longer console beside the TV, would be to replace the fan without a light because of your low ceiling. Please keep us posted on your progress.

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  • Seajaygerns

    Here’s my suggestion just to give you a visual. The pictures over the TV might be too busy but I think it looks nice especially if you go with one larger art piece on the mantle. If you decided to do Grover’s idea and lean a couple smaller prints on the mantle then I would nix the prints over the TV.

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  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

    You definitely need better lighting. Floor lamps are a great way to go -- especially if you can find an adjustable multi-head, led using one that you think is attractive (some are too utilitarian) -- with that you can adjust the direction of light so it doesn't interfere with the TV but still light up the room. I think you need at least 2 more beyond the one Groveraxle suggested.

    I adore my ceiling fan, so wouldn't want to get rid of it.

    Over all the problem isn't the stone, it is that everything in the room is brown or tan. Bring in some light colors in a throw, pillows, new rug, a pot/vase, pictures -- I vote for light blue for one. Maybe even paint your little table. I agree with painting the walls a lighter shade too, a color or a neutral whichever you prefer.

  • katinparadise


  • darchersd

    Here is a pic that might be helpful. My artist friend touched up her stone with some paint to brighten it here and there unbeknownst to her hubby and father who would have had her hide for it - hehe.

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  • apple_pie_order

    It could be worth the time to get a professional chimney company to give an estimate for redoing the fireplace with new stone or tile. Even if the price is out of reach at the moment, you have been living with this fireplace for 9 years and you are still not happy. It could be worth the money later on.

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  • Seajaygerns

    I meant to replace the fan without a light kit. So have a fan but no overhead light attached.

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  • grapefruit1_ar

    I love your stone fireplace and would not alter it. I agree that more lamps are needed. Seajay has the same idea regarding ceiling lights....NO. They are harsh and make people and furnishings look bad. You have received great suggestions.

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  • tigereye

    I raise your deer and ducks with deer, fish, wild boar, squirrel, and snake skins. All in his room now, LOL.

    I like the fireplace a lot. I agree, move the TV to the center of the wall and paint the walls a lighter color. I like Sherwin Williams "Antique White". We started with it when they made Sears Easy Living. It is a soft off white with yellow undertones, not blue. With your colors, you don't want a blue undertone (ask me how I know), and gray just won't go with your browns. I just had it made up again in Behr Paint. We got it made up in Behr Premium PIus Ultra. (Home Depot) It turned out beautiful. I paint the walls and ceiling the same color.

    I would keep the ceiling fan light. We don't use ours a lot, but when we really need a very strong light we love it. We also use the fan quite a lot in the summer and sometimes reversed in the winter.

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  • Patty

    Thanks Tigereye. I'll raise you again. Deer, Antelope, Fish, Fox, Racoon, Coyote, and a Rattlesnake in a skull (his most prized trophy). I thought my husband was going to cry when our Realtor in Kansas City told him he was going to have to take them down before we put the house on the market.

    We sold our home in a golf course community in KC to my husband's dream property in the mountains of SE Oklahoma where all you hear at night is the sound of banjos playing. The house was not only 1/3 the size of what I had, it was a total disaster. To find a good interior decorator, I would have to go to Tulsa, OKC, or Dallas which are all 3 hours away. This has been my first time seeking advice on Houzz and I am impressed with all the great suggestions given. I just wish I had found this site 9 years ago, it would have saved me from making some pretty dumb and costly mistakes.

    Hope you all don't mind if I buzz you again down the road when I tackle my next project. Thanks again, everyone!

  • Emily Robinson

    "...the mountains of SE Oklahoma where all you hear at night is the sound of banjos playing" -- well, you've just described MY husband's dream property, as long as it comes with fishing. Too bad he's stranded in the wilds of Silicon Valley instead. :D

    One thing I noticed is that your fan blades look kinda puny. What if you swapped them out for some longer ones?

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