Fireplaces can offer both comfort and fantastic architectural detail. That said, some are definitely more aesthetically pleasing than others, and they can be hard (not to mention expensive!) to make over. That’s why we can’t help but get excited when we see a fireplace reno done right.
These 10 brick fireplace transformations, all from real homeowners who have upgraded or refurbished their dated hearths, show how they can become truly eye-catching focal points with some clever DIYs. Not only are the “afters” a beautiful reflection of each person’s individual style, some of them are ridiculously budget-friendly, too. Who knows, you may just walk away from this post with inspiration for a redo of your own.
Tired of his dingy 1960s fireplace sucking all the life from his living room, homeowner Jared Ashby decided to take matters into his own hands and convert the once-forgotten eyesore into something wow-worthy. He used fast-drying concrete to smooth out a portion of the brick surrounding the firebox, then painted the whole thing — nearby walls included — in Sherwin-Williams Greenblack.
Homeowner Sarah Nadarajah tried her hand at whitewashing the surround of her bland and sparse brick fireplace, only to determine that the change wasn’t enough to make the whole thing feel fresh and current. Her next attempt at creating a true centerpiece was more successful: Nadarajah added a chunky faux-beam mantel stained in a deep walnut tone and complementary shiplap wall detail for a more dynamic look. “I love how the fireplace is more of a focal point in the space,” Nadarajah told Apartment Therapy. “The faux beam mantel gives a rustic vibe while adding warmth, and the shiplap adds a height and brightness the space was lacking.”
When designer Leigh Savage and her family turned their attention to their living room’s aging brick fireplace, they decided to make a few significant changes to bring it into this decade. Leigh painted the brick fireplace surround an inky black hue, which helped it pop against the white walls and shiplap, another new addition installed above and below the mantel. Alongside her dad, Leigh then tackled the dated hearth, replacing the combination of brick and concrete with a graphic black and white tile to tie the whole scene together. “I love how modern the fireplace feels, but it still complements the older character of our home,” she told AT.
Homeowner Deborah Baldwin didn’t exactly jibe with the dull brick fireplace in her Manhattan apartment, so she chose to lighten it up at the suggestion of a friend, interior designer Craig Kellogg. The duo softened the appearance of the brick facade with a bit of joint compound before painting over the whole thing with a creamy white hue to offset a modern, Soapstone hearth at the front. The final look is sleek and sophisticated, but still warm and homey.
White paint came to the rescue of homeowner Kristyn Jackson, too. Jackson turned to a soft off-white hue, as well as plaster for the mortar lines and vertical reclaimed wood for detailing, to help her asymmetrical fireplace look taller. A reclaimed-wood mantel and a slim shelving unit for extra logs offers a hint of rustic charm (and disguises additional brick so the fireplace seems more centered).
Homeowner Jessie Ecker was looking for a way to make her fireplace feel a little less “farmhouse” and a little more modern. Enter: Sherwin-Williams Black Magic, which transformed the fireplace surround and paneled wall detail around it into a bold and daring statement. Ecker also used a reclaimed wood mantel (sourced from her grandfather’s old farm) to introduce a bit of natural interest and complement the vintage brick.
When it came time for Allison Elefante to put her stamp on her newly acquired home’s living room, she turned her attention to the fireplace and built-ins taking up one wall. Though she liked the brick, the all-white color palette lacked personality. By painting the walls on either side of the fireplace a rich black, and then outfitting them with streamlined wooden shelves, she created a neutral-but-interesting foundation for other exciting pieces, like the nearby navy velvet couch and red vintage rug.
For artist Coby Starck and her husband, the worn out “before” of their 1950s mid-century modern home brought with it a lot of potential. To uncover what a standout the old brick fireplace could be, the two turned to a fresh coat of white paint — but they didn’t stop there. Starck added a bit of her own artistic flair to the room, painting the slate tile beneath the hearth in pastel geometric shapes, which are mirrored by taupey-blush art hung above the fireplace.
Interior stylist Emma Jane Palin and her partner, Joshua Parker, relied on paint color alone to transform the brick fireplace in their rented home in Margate, U.K., coating it in a dusty mauve that offsets the other hues (blush, black, blue, and rust orange among them) in the living room. A collection of plants decorate the mantel and hearth for a playful pop of life.