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Create the Fireplace of Your Dreams

By Graham Hall
Share to PinterestCreate the Fireplace of Your Dreams

Fireplaces can be cozy and comforting, but dated designs and awkward floor plans can compete with your enjoyment of these classic features. A complete makeover may be the solution you're after, and you just need some inspiration. Give your vintage mantel a facelift, or build a brand new fireplace surround from scratch. Trade your wood-burning unit for an energy-efficient alternative and never deal with a dirty cleanup again. From pro custom designs to DIY makeovers, set the right mood with a dramatic new fireplace.


Create a blank canvas

A few coats of white fireplace paint instantly brightens up any room and creates a blank canvas for your interior design. Apply a thin layer to bricks for a weathered aesthetic, allowing the mortar to peek through. Paint the fireplace surround — the architecture that encases the firebox and chimney — a stark white, and the adjacent wall a contrasting shade. For a gallery effect, paint the entire wall stark white to showcase vibrant furniture, artwork, and houseplants.

Share to PinterestWhite walls make colors pop
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Make bold color choices

If your fireplace is competing with furniture or bookshelves for attention, give it some help with a bold makeover. Update a plain mantel with a brightly colored stain, or add drama to ornate woodwork with a dark shade. Attract eyes toward the hearth by painting the wall above in an eye-catching hue.

Share to PinterestDraw attention to the hearth
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Add rustic charm to your space

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A faux German smear mimics the classic, Old World style with an easy DIY treatment. To achieve the look, spread a layer of mortar over bricks or stones. Then scrape it off with a putty knife before it dries completely, revealing as much bare stone as you choose. A whitewash achieves a similar look: use a diluted, heat-safe paint like a stain. The technique is easy and customizable and adds a charming, rustic vibe to your room in no time.


A modern approach to comfort

Modern style interior design calls for clean lines and functional spaces. If your aesthetic doesn't favor oversized mantels and hearths, build a modest, unadorned fireplace surround with few details. Create a focal point with contrasting colors, or keep a minimalist vibe with a wash of color over the entire wall. If you're building a fireplace from scratch, install a sleek gas or electric firebox that blends into the decor.

Share to PinterestModern fireplaces have clean lines
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A kaleidoscope of colors

If tiles are your preference, you can browse contemporary and classic styles to fit your design goals. Build your hearth or fireplace surround with a stacked stone facade and a wooden mantel. For a more dramatic effect, lay faux marble or flagstone tiles from the hearth to the ceiling. Imported ceramic tiles incorporate rich tones and whimsical patterns into your decor. Use them to add a pop of color to the chimney breast — the part of the wall that covers the chimney.

Share to PinterestMosaic tiles are eyecatching
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Add some old school charm

Wood-burning stoves add a cozy charm to your space while lowering heating costs. They're also easy to install in an existing fireplace or as a free-standing unit. Browse online to find the right size stove for your square footage and to read up on the newest high-tech models. For a greener alternative, shop around for pellet stoves that burn compressed wood pellets, which produce less smoke than firewood-burning models.

Share to PinterestA charming wood-burning stove
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Flank a hearth with shelving

Whether your fireplace is in an awkward corner or at the center of a wall, add function to your design with bookend shelves. Install floating ledges for a contemporary vibe, or create a built-in look with floor to ceiling shelving edged with crown molding. Low cabinets add convenient storage and create symmetry.

Share to PinterestAdd shelves to open space
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Create a cozy outdoor oasis

An outdoor fireplace adds romantic allure to your patio or backyard landscaping. If you're renting or on a budget, look for a chiminea as a stylish and portable solution. You can also build a fire pit with a wide seating area for entertaining large groups long into the night. For higher price points or a DIY challenge, consider a permanent fireplace or a wood-fired pizza oven. These designs extend the outdoor season beyond the warmer months.

Share to PinterestExtend the outdoor season
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Repurpose a non-functional hearth

Just because your fireplace is out of commission doesn't mean it can't be stylish or useful. A firebox is instantly chic with an arrangement of candelabra or a short sculpture. A layer of black or white fireplace paint adds instant contrast to a selection of colorful artifacts or a potted plant. If you need a more functional solution, use decorative baskets or boxes for storing magazines or spare blankets.

Share to PinterestA fireplace filler adds charm
Andreas von Einsiedel / Getty Images


Fake it til you make it

Mimic the charm of a boarded-up fireplace with a faux mantel or fireplace surround. A reclaimed mantel adds vintage charm to an otherwise plain wall, even without a firebox. Create a custom feature wall with a false chimney breast and an electric fireplace insert. Though the flames aren't real, the warmth is pleasant enough to sell the illusion.

Share to PinterestA faux fireplace adds interest
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