How to add character to a boring fireplace

May 08, 2020

Spring and summer may not seem like the obvious time to consider a fireplace renovation, but if you're considering a makeover, this could be the perfect time! You won't be using it as the weather warms up, and it will be ready when you want it to really shine in the fall!

I've worked on many fireplace transformations over the years. They think they are a great way to update a space -- redoing that one focal point can change the whole room.

I've gathered some great fireplace DIY projects to share with you today, but first, let's look back at what I've done in our homes!

Our family room has a super tall fireplace that was calling out for something:
Adding character to fireplace wall

In the past couple of years I've painted it, built bookcases on both sides of the fireplace and added grid trimwork:
Dark blue tall fireplace updates

SO much more character! 

We added an electric fireplace to our basement in the old house: 
Adding an electric fireplace with mantel

How to install stacked stone tile
I hope to add another electric fireplace in our current basement someday. 

We had the fireplace at our old house placed in the corner -- which I immediately regretted:
Corner fireplace with open mantel

The deep mantel was awkward, and I tried all kinds of things over the years to make it work. 

Finally we added a wall above the corner fireplace and built a new surround -- it made a HUGE difference! 
Updating corner fireplace

I later added the shiplap wall above and it was the perfect finishing touch. 

A few years ago we took down a wall in that room and installed the fireplace against the wall instead: 
Dark gray fireplace with cabinets

I also added the planked wall on top for only $13! Now let's take a look at some other great fireplace redos. :)

If you don't like the tile on your fireplace surround, you can absolutely paint them! I love this faux ceramic tile look: 
How to paint fireplace tile

These next few are so beautiful, but you really need to check out the befores to see how far they've come! I love this classic white and marble design: 
Classic white and marble fireplace

This one was super basic to start, with no detail or mantel. Look at it now!:
Updating a builder basic fireplace

Check out this gorgeous before and after! Love that stacked stone: 
White fireplace with shiplap and stacked stone

This fireplace with the built ins is so classic -- it has come a long way!: 
White fireplace redo marble tile

This one has really become a beautiful focal point: 
Building a custom detailed fireplace

If you like your fireplace but just want to beef up the mantel a bit, this is a great tutorial: 
How to build a chunky wood mantel

I know so many of you have brick fireplaces you want to update, but don't know where to start! This painted outdoor fireplace is so crisp and clean now: 
White painted outdoor fireplace

If you don't want to completely paint the brick, you can always whitewash it to tone down red tones: 
How to whitewash brick

Or try the beautiful German schmear on brick instead:
How to do German schmear on brick

If you have a brick surround and want to tile over it, check out this tutorial:
How to tile over brick

You know how much I love a planked wall above a fireplace! It's such a simple and inexpensive way to add some character:
White fireplace shiplap above

And if you have a stone that is feeling a little heavy, try this tutorial to build a wood mantel and surround around it. It really brightens it up!:
Lighten up stone fireplace with white wood surround

Have you made any updates or changes to your fireplace? Have you dared to paint brick? I hope these projects inspired you if you're considering a fireplace makeover!

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  1. I love the look of fireplaces – wish I had one! Adds such a cosy factor! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Wow, so many fabulous options here! Thank you!

  3. Hi! I love the rectangular glass sconces above your fireplace. Do you remember where they are from?

    1. They are candle can see more about them here!

  4. Hey! I love your fireplace tile in your current home and would love to know where you got it from:)


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