Dramatic fireplace wall makeover!

October 02, 2019

Hey there! I'm back with a project I've been planning for years now! I've always known I wanted to add something to the wall over our fireplace, but it took me awhile to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. 

Remember my list of DIY projects I wanted to complete before the end of the year? Well this was one of them and I'm so thrilled it's done! It looks soooo good. 

Tall fireplace in dark blue paint

I LOVE the dark color. I knew I'd eventually add some trim -- you know how I love it! But it wasn't until I came across this photo from Clark and Co Homes that I found my inspiration:
Clark and Co Homes family room

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Isn't that a gorgeous space? I couldn't believe how similar it was to our room. I loved the simple grid pattern. I've done this look many times before (see how I did it in our old master bedroom here), but when I saw it on a fireplace so similar to ours that I knew for sure it was what I wanted to do.

This project cost me less than $45 in materials. I bought mdf boards in eight foot lengths and laid them out on our kitchen island to paint:
MDF boards for DIY wall grid

It's been super hot here lately so it was much more enjoyable to do it inside (and they dry quicker out of the humidity!).

Because I 1. don't have a ladder tall enough 2. needed two people to start this and 3. am terrified of heights -- I hired out the top of the wall. I had them install the painted boards vertically and then spanning the width at the top first.

I finished the bottom sections off myself at a safe distance from the ground. (Kinda. I still had to climb to the top of my ladder and was sweating.) After filling the seams and holes and doing another coat of paint on the boards, it was done!
Grid pattern with molding on wall

There wasn't much rhyme or reason to the design -- I started with the top piece and then went an equal distance from the bottom. Then I split the middle section that was left and added one more row horizontally:
Before and after -- simple trim and paint on fireplace

I wanted to be able to center that metal laurel piece inside the trim. 

As you can see, I repeated last year's fall mantel 100 percent! ;) I loved it that much:
Simple fall mantel with greenery and candles

Did you notice the mirrors are different? Unfortunately one of the wood ones broke a couple months ago when we were moving it. I've looked EVERYWHERE for an identical one and no dice. It took forever to even find a similar size -- thankfully I found these at HomeGoods this week:
Tall fireplace with mdf grid pattern

I noticed when I started putting the original decor back on the mantel that it looked too busy. The grid really finishes it off without needing a lot of accessories:
Dark blue fireplace Cyberspace

We absolutely LOVE it! It was just what this wall needed! My original plan was to finish off the sides of the boards with smaller, decorative trim -- but at least for now I'm going to wait. It doesn't need it and I don't want need to be climbing ladders again anytime soon. ;)

It looks like it should have always been this way, and that's always a sign of a successful DIY project:
Dark blue tall fireplace wall with molding

Let's look back at a before photo from two years ago, shall we? We had just moved in: 
How to decorate tall fireplace wall

And now, wow! What a difference!: 
Grid design on fireplace wall

And guess what? This whole transformation was only $100 for paint and mdf boards. That's it! I'm telling  you -- if you want a big impact for little money, those two are the way to go. :)

If you have any questions about this project feel free to ask! I'm so happy with how it turned out. Now onto to the rest of the projects on my list. I want them all done in the next six weeks. Wish me luck!

If you'd like to shop this space, click on any of the photos below for a link directly to the product:

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  1. That looks GREAT!! I've enjoyed following the transformation of this room - good job!

  2. Wow! Go, you! That looks like it cost a million bucks! Gorgeous.

  3. Looks sooo good!!! Just curious why you chose msg over wood?

    1. Thank you! It's way cheaper than select pine, easier to paint (no priming needed) and they are almost always perfectly straight and ready to go. :)

  4. Gosh, a fireplace adds so much character to a living room! It's beautiful! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  5. That makes a huge impact with little cost. Also, how has it been 2 years already?!

  6. hi sarah, this looks great! I just painted our entire wall hale navy in our family room. and, love it! i love mdf boards! laura

  7. I love the power of paint, MDF boards and elbow grease! I love this transformation!

  8. I have followed so many of your ideas over the years in my home. How exciting to see that this time I did something before you did! I put the same kind of molding on my fireplace wall last year and I love it!

  9. Love how it looks with the added trim!

  10. Wow! What a difference! It looked good before, but the trim really makes it pop! Love it!!!

  11. Looks so amazing!! I love how trim adds so much to a space!

  12. It really finishes that area off nicely but how did you hang the lanterns next to the TV?

    1. On nails -- they have little circles on the sides where there used to be handles.

  13. Beautiful!! What dimension mdf boards did you use? I am interested in doing something similar and love the scale

  14. Is there a reason you didn't use the underlayment here? I've been wondering if it would look cheap in a pattern that wasn't planking. Where you could see it didn't have much depth.

    1. Yes a few! I didn't want to mess with having it cut down for one. Also, when you have it cut at the store they aren't always perfect as far as the same measurements, and for this I needed them to be the exact same width throughout. Also, I wanted a bit more depth. But underlayment is always a great option -- I use it all the time!

  15. Looks great!! What color is your light color wall paint ?

  16. I absolutely LOVE this! You did such an amazing job! I saw someone asked what the lighter paint color was, but I was wondering what the blue color was? Did you already say what color it was, and I just missed it? I did see somebody mention hale navy. Thank you!

  17. Sorry, I just reread it again and noticed the dark color is Sherwin-Williams cyberspace.

  18. Hi there, is this a transitional living room?

  19. Do you glue the mdf boards or do you nail gun them?

  20. This turned out so well that I did the same type of thing to our fireplace & wall. It looks stunning. Thank you for the incredible inspiration!

  21. Where is this rug from? Have been lookin for something similar. Thanks!

    1. You can find a few links to it here! https://www.thriftydecorchick.com/2020/01/two-additions-that-upped-cozy-factor-in.html

  22. Love everything about this! What tile did you use?


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