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6 Ways to Update the Fireplace

If you have a less-than-attractive fireplace in your home, or simply want to make the one you have more trendy, you're in luck. Whether you're looking for a project that is inexpensive and easy, or one that requires a bit of DIY know-how, there are several ways to update the fireplace -- no matter your budget or skill level.

Cover the brick. If you have an outdated fireplace that goes overboard with the brick, assemble a mock front, or surround, made of wood to makeover the fireplace. Dated brick can often look dark and dingy, giving the entire space a closed-in appearance. If you are a DIYer, or know someone who is, a new fireplace surround can be assembled in as little as a weekend. Other fireplace surround ideas include those made of tile, marble, granite, stainless steel, and other materials.

Paint it. If the idea of recreating and rebuilding the fireplace is too much, consider repainting it instead. A fresh coat of paint will give the entire room, not just the fireplace, an updated look. If your fireplace is made of wood, consider repainting it with a faux finish. A faux finish is a paint technique that makes one material, such as wood, look like something different, such as brick or marble.

Add around the fireplace. Make an impressive statement by adding to the walls around the fireplace itself. Imagine how built-in bookcases would look stacked on either side of the fireplace. Modular storage cubes can also make a bold statement. Both of these ideas add storage space while helping to update the fireplace.

Add a screen. A quick way to update the fireplace is to add a pretty new screen to the front. A fireplace screen is not only a safety necessity, it is also a decorative fixture that helps set the tone of the room. They are available in various materials like pewter, metal, glass, cast iron, stained glass, aluminum, and so on, and can be as detailed or plain as you want them to be.

Update the mantel. An outdated fireplace mantel can be a real eyesore, and may be the only area that needs a facelift. If a new paint job won't suffice, consider replacing the mantel with something new. If you simply don't have a mantel, or have one that is exceptionally small, setting a shelved mantel in place will dramatically change the way your fireplace looks.

Decorate when not in use. Give your fireplace a decorative purpose when not in use. Thoroughly clean the hearth and accent it with candles, flowers, or potted plants during the off-season.

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