How to Makeover Your Fireplace on the Cheap

June 20, 2017

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I know it has been a little quiet around here the past week, but today I am back to share how I completely transformed my outdated, 1980’s fireplace for around $100.

So, I’ve played hooky from the blog for the past few days, but I have a relatively decent excuse. Excuse numero uno is that my one-year-old has really kicked my a$$ lately. You see, he is now a skilled biped who can no longer be contained (I really cannot turn my back on the kid for a second), and I am struggling to adjust to this new, busier stage in my work-from-home mother status. I think it will soon be time for my baby to go to mother’s-day-out, just as my three-year-old does, if I ever want to get anything accomplished. Hell…I don’t even want to post project pictures of my house anymore because it always looks like a tornado swiped through (contents of dressers or kitchen cabinets completely emptied on the floor 24/7). Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My other  excuse is that, being completely honest, I am a little burnt-out on projects. As most of my readers have heard my ranting, we recently finished an unexpected, nightmare project that took  4 months of our time and around $40,000 to complete. Needing a break from the real-world,  my husband and I bailed town for a few days last week to catch a concert. Live music and a little time away from our parental roles was just what the doctor ordered.

In a bit of a creative funk,  I am revisiting an old project that I never had the chance to share with you guys.

When we first moved into our 1980’s ranch home, this is what our fireplace looked like.

Before:

whitewashing brick fireplace
The hue of the brick was too red and “eighties” for my taste. However, I didn’t want to completely cover the brick, so I decided to whitewash it using a combination of water and white latex paint. We also removed the brass screen.  I left it that way for about a year, but was never fully sold on it as I still hated how the outdated brick color still surfaced through the diluted paint.

Progress (after white-washing brick fireplace):

fireplace makeover diy

For your convenience, I have included affiliate links to products used in this design. That simply means if you click on one of the links and buy something, I receive a small commission, but don’t worry… you won’t pay a dime more.

Craving some warmth,I had my husband build a wood-beam mantel using cheap common board for around $30. It only took around 2 hours to complete and it had such a dramatic impact on the space. I was able to give the wood a reclaimed effect by first staining it with this wood stain. After the stain application, I smeared a diluted, gray paint mixture on the mantel/beam, giving it a weathered effect. You can read about that entire DIY project here. 

Still unsatisfied with the color of the brick, I decided to take the plunge and fully commit to a white brick fireplace. You may be thinking I am crazy and that the whitewash effect seemed sufficient, but pictures cannot truly express the way the orange/red tone of the brick still reared its ugly head.  Using Behr’s Interior/Exterior Masonry, Stucco and Brick Paint, I completely covered the brick’s red tint with a true white. This type of paint only required one coat and was much less runny and messy than my previous white-wash mixture. I first applied paint to the grooves using a paintbrush. Then, using a paint roller, I applied paint to the flat surfaces.

Fall Mantel Decor

diy wood beam mantel

Once the cooler weather of fall arrived, I was ready for our first wood-burning fire. Not putting much thought into aesthetics (I was simply ready to get home to a glass of wine and a sexy fire), we purchased a cheap fireplace screen at Home Depot for around $40. Looking back, I would have put more thought into the design of the screen (choosing something fancier or more modern). Then again, I am not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a screen, so this more modest one will have to do for now.

So there you have it. To achieve this same look and transform your mantel on the cheap (for under $100), simply do the following.

Fireplace Makeover Steps

  1. Paint your brick or stone fireplace surround with Brick/Masonry Paint
  2. Build a wood-beam mantel for only $30 using common board (full tutorial here)
  3.  replace your screen.
  4. if desired, mount your flatscreen tv to brick fireplace using my tutorial here

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Don’t settle on an ugly, outdated fireplace when there is a simple, cost-effective solution. After all, in most room designs the fireplace serves as the main focal-point….don’t cheat yourself out of a gorgeous living room, babes.

Now get out there and design some good vibes and don’t forget to Pin…
diy fireplace makeover on the cheap

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9 Comments
    1. The fireplace looks amazing Erica and we have the exact same problem only ours is double sided and has a built in brick mantel that wraps around the entire thing which I detest! We want to mortar wash or paint it white but I am so stumped on what to do with the wrap around mantel. In the perfect world I would love to remove the brick from the sides so the mantel appears to be floating but I have no clue what the brick will look like underneath once its exposed so we have just done nothing… Maybe we will talk ourselves into it soon because I am really sick of the orangey red color that dominates our entire main area.

    1. Erica, this looks great! I’m always amazed at the power of paint and good design 🙂

    1. Do you have a beachfront property or a wall with floor to ceiling windows? Because the natural lighting within the room is amazing! It really brings the fireplace to life!

      1. I wished I lived on the beach ;). But yes, the room has great natural light and it was definitely one of the selling points when I purchased my fixer upper. It has two floor to ceiling windows on one wall and then on the opposite wall it has sky-light type windows. Thanks for stopping by!

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