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Remodel Your Old Fireplace
With Painted Illusions

Affordable Fireplace Makeover


In remodeling this fireplace, I had two main challenges to overcome. The top of the fireplace was covered in ugly wood, and the bricks were soot covered and ugly.

The solution... Plywood covered the ugly wood, and a painted illusion recreated the pattern that I have on my walls, virtually making it seem that the top of the fireplace is an extension of the walls. I then created another painted illusion over the old bricks, to keep them looking like bricks but to give them a completely different color scheme. (See the before and after pictures side-by-side, at the end of this article).

Ideas for Remodeling Your Old Fireplace with Painted Illusions

A fireplace is the focal point of a room. Hence a simple remodel of an old fireplace can change a room that feels old and drab into a modern, elegant setting. Whether you have a wood burning fireplace or a gas fireplace, a mantel made of bricks or stone or wood, the remodel of your fireplace need not be costly. Fireplace designs boil down to two important factors: color and texture. You can achieve both with a simple illusion that will give your old fireplace the look and feel of a remodeled fireplace, without the expense of an actual remodel.

Step #1. Fireplace Mantle Remodel

The first step in the remodel of your old fireplace is about proportions. Take a few steps back and look at your wood or gas hearth. Focus on its size only, disregarding the trim around it. Next, look at the mantel and the trim. Is the size of the mantel and trim appropriate to the size of the hearth?

Modern fireplaces are simple and elegant, but large. If your hearth looks too small by comparison with the wall and room, a larger mantel can change its appearance completely. If you cannot afford to change your mantel for a new one, simply using a strong accent color can help your existing fireplace mantel stand out without the costly remodeling.

Also, placing an inexpensive strip of base molding on top of the mantel can increase its height and beauty. You can also create a backsplash with the base molding, which will further increase the illusion of added height to your mantel.

Furthermore, some older wood burning fireplaces have wood trim rising to the ceiling. This rustic look is outdated, and you can easily remodel your old fireplace by removing this wood and painting the exposed wall to match the rest of the room.

If you have a plain wood slab posing as a mantel, go ahead and replace it with a modern mantel, which you can order at your home improvement store. If you have no mantel, only bricks surrounding your hearth, add a mantel around the bricks for that modern, finished look.

Step #2. The Color and Texture of Your Fireplace Remodel

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 © Inventive Home Improvement, 2011