Before & After: Fireplaces

If your fireplace is in need of a facelift, find inspiration to get started from these remarkable makeovers, complete with new mantels, fabulous surrounds, and cozy hearths.


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1/21
Before: Dark & Empty

    This living room was stuck in the 1950s with its yellowed plywood panel-lined walls. The combination of the outdated walls, the dark wood floors, and the burnt red brick fireplace made this space dark and uninviting.

After: Bright & Open

    The fireplace was spiced up with a new facade of faux stacked limestone. The material is ideal for an affordable fireplace revamp because it looks and feels like real stone but is less expensive, and because it's lightweight, it requires no additional floor support. The wall-length limestone fireplace complements the modern vibe and design of the room.

2/21
Before: Cramped Surroundings

    Open shelving is normally a great way to open up a space, but that is not the case with this fireplace. The mantel got lost in all the bulky shelves that surrounded it. And with no practical reason for the excessive number of shelves, something needed to be changed.

After: Open Quarters

    The homeowners removed the stones on the surround and added sleek, white pillars. Theses pillars transform the fireplace into an elegant focal point for the room and help the fireplace stand out in front of the shelves. This gives emphasis to the fireplace instead of the shelving. The white color adds to the coastal theme of the room, which was chosen to help play up the ocean view from this family room.

3/21
Before: Small & Dull

    This modest-size living room had plenty of potential in the beginning, except for one major problem: The focal point in the room was a giant, lackluster fireplace. When the room underwent a makeover, giving the fireplace a much-needed facelift was task No. 1.

After: Roomy & Darling

    With a fresh coat of white paint and colorful new tile, the fireplace became bright and welcoming. The seafoam-green tile on the surround accents the room?s color scheme. Using colored tile freshens up a fireplace and is a creative source of color for this cottage living room.

4/21
Before: A Neglected Space

    In this narrow room, the fireplace was in the perfect position to be a beautiful feature element for the space. However, the cream color of the fireplace blended into the cream walls, leaving the fireplace bland and overlooked.

After: A Gathering Space

    A crisp, white paint job for the fireplace against a rustic wall clad with salvaged wood made the fireplace pop out. Gray and green tiling on the surround adds a wonderful accent color to the natural color scheme of the design and helps unite it with the pillows and rugs used in the room.

5/21
Before: Washed Out & Plain

    The color combination of cream-on-white left the fireplace washed out and boring. Lacking any authority in the room, this fireplace was in dire need of some color.

After: Bold & Beautiful

    A fresh coat of black paint on the wood mantel brought focus to the fireplace. The black and stone combination gives the fireplace an upscale look and feel. Two chairs flanking the fireplace sets up a cozy seating area that's perfect for a two-person conversation or a date with a cup of tea and a good book.

6/21
Before: Unfinished Attic

    This big, bright attic space was unfinished but filled with unlimited possibilities. When the homeowners decided to finish the room, they thought installing a fireplace between the two large windows would be a perfect addition to the room.

After: Bright Family Room

    The finished attic-turned-family room is bright and cheery. The colorful tile on the fireplace surround provides the main source of color in the room. By using tile with fun square patterns, the fireplace gets a young, fun vibe that is perfect for a kid's hangout, but the earthy green and orange palette adds a level of sophistication that makes the space adult-friendly, as well.

7/21
Before: Dark Ages Fireplace

    This room's dreary decor carried over to its very boring fireplace. This room was in desperate need of a redesign and a fresh look.

After: Modern Fireplace

    By balancing a full wood-paneled wall with bright white walls, the room became open and airy. The wood and white combo creates an updated rustic look. The black of the fireplace door pops against the wood wall, while also working well with the color scheme of the black furniture in the room.

8/21
Before: Broken to Bits

    This entire living room was in shambles and at the top of the to-do list was to renovate the fireplace. The wood on the fireplace was in bad shape and the homeowners had to come up with a creative solution to turn something worn into something beautiful.

After: Beautifully Complete

    After cleaning up and renovating the entire room, the fireplace was restored to a stunning feature in this space. Using a distressed finish on the wooden fireplace, the damaged areas of the surround ended up being unique details for the beautiful design. The fireplace's style complements the rest of the space, which includes exposed wooden ceiling rafters and rustic doors and shelves.

9/21
Before: Bare & Basic Fireplace

    Without a bit of color or emphasis to it, this fireplace almost blended into the wall. A touch of color and texture is what the fireplace needed to be a standout feature in this living room.

After: Sweet & Simple Fireplace

    A few tweaks were all the fireplace needed to become a beautiful element in the room. The makeover was as simple as adding sleek, stone tiles on the surround of the fireplace and adding a few accessories to the mantel. The smooth stone pops against the white walls and molding because of the stark difference in texture and color between the two elements. Now that the fireplace is beautiful and appealing, the furniture surrounding it creates a cozy area to gather with family and friends.

10/21
Before: Bland and Bulky

    This living room was stuck in the 1970s thanks to dusty whites and tired brown tones. The bulky brown-brick fireplace did little to enhance the space, as it was placed asymmetrically on a long stretch of wall.

After: Light and Lively

    Painting the brick facade white started the process of bringing this fireplace back to life. A wood surround enhances the look. Classic-lined built-ins integrate the fireplace, bookshelves, and an entertainment unit. The surround, built-ins, and walls were also painted white to brighten the room and layer on the cottage charm.

11/21
Before: Muddled Media Room

    With its poor design, bad acoustics, and lack of storage, this media room was more dysfunctional than family-friendly.

After: Media Room Makeover

    The much-needed makeover consisted of adding a curved ceiling to balance the room and improve acoustics and relocating the fireplace to be the focal point of the room. Custom-built cabinetry flanks the fireplace, keeping media equipment organized and out of sight. Sandstone adorns the surround and blends beautifully with the built-in cabinets. The new fireplace can now be seen from the adjacent dining and living room.

12/21
Before: Lowly Lower Lever

    A huge, ugly brick hearth and a rarely used wood-burning stove cast a dark, dreary presence over this lower level. This unattractive area -- along with dated wood paneling and cement flooring -- restricted the basement to a storage space rather than a living space.

After: Lovely Lower Level

    In order to create a better, brighter basement, the wood-burning stove gave way to an efficient gas fireplace. Plaster was applied to the brick wall and painted white. A limestone hearth and rustic wooden mantel complete the transformation. The new fireplace warms the room while providing a sweet, subtle focal point.

13/21
Before: Boring Brick

    Nestled between large, long windows and lacking a mantel, this brick fireplace struggled to stand out.

After: Serene Stone

    The new honed-marble fireplace provides subtle elegance to the living room. The tone and texture of marble was carefully selected to match bamboo flooring, natural stone, and maple built-ins seen throughout the home. This repetition of color and clean-lined materials gives the home a consistent, peaceful flow.

14/21
Before: Stuck in the '80s

    In a home filled with vintage character, this fireplace was lost and out of place. The mirrored wall above and the brass fireplace look like they belonged in the 1980s. Also, a long oak shelf gave the area a low-slung, horizontal look.

After: Vintage Appeal

    The fresh fireplace area -- complete with built-in bookcases, trim, and an arched soffit -- give the room a been-there-forever look and feel to match the rest of the home. The old wood-burning fireplace was replaced with a convenient, energy-saving gas unit. Simple decorative moldings create the stately mantel and surround.

15/21
Before: Dark and Dominating

    This rustic faux-stone fireplace was undoubtedly handsome. However, it was completely out of scale with the room because it towered uninterrupted from the floor to the ceiling.

After: Light and Cheerful

    Instead of replacing the massive fireplace, the concrete stones were professionally cleaned and etched to lighten the color. With the lighter facade, the fireplace no longer dominates the room but instead sets the tone for a more cheerful family room. A wood mantel -- fashioned from an old decorative ceiling beam -- provides the perfect accent for the rustic surround.

16/21
Before: Much Too Busy

    This fireplace didn't quite fit in with the rest of the living room. The many colors and designs of brick made the facade look busy and behind the times.

After: Simple yet Chic

    The updated living room features clean, contemporary style. Because the fireplace and mantel were in good condition, all they needed was a fresh coat of white paint to blend with the style of the room. The brick on the fireplace provides subtle texture to the otherwise white room and furnishings.

    Expert Tip: The easiest (and most inexpensive) way to revive a boring brick fireplace is with paint.

17/21
Before: Dreary Facade

    Dark red brick, a black-screen firebox, and flanking wood shelves gave this fireplace a dark, dated appearance.

After: Fresh Facade

    A fresh coat of white paint on the shelves and a coat of subtle beige for the bricks lend this facade fresh, cottage appeal. The former uninspired mantel was replaced with a shapely full-surround composed of crown molding and fluted pilasters. Crackle-finish shutters make for a charming new screen. The flanking shelves also received crown molding and new doors, and the bottom shelves were converted into charming storage benches.

18/21
Before: Uninspiring Space

    This boring, brand-new family room and fireplace had no built-ins, mantels, or interesting textures to give the room character. As a result, the room felt cold and unfriendly.

After: Full of Character

    A new family-friendly character was achieved with warm tones, texture, and built-ins. The Craftsman-style custom hand-fired ceramic tile and squared-off concrete slab hearth for sitting lend much-needed texture, color, and character to the fireplace. Built-in cabinetry -- also made from maple with a dark walnut stain -- flanks the fireplace, housing media equipment, games, fireplace accessories, and more.

19/21
Before: Basic, Boring Design

    This square living room and uninspired fireplace lacked architectural interest and design pizzazz.

After: Charming, Classic Design

    The now-striking fireplace surround boasts beautifully carved, white-painted moldings that frame the dark-painted fireplace bricks. The fireplace, perfectly proportioned crown moldings, white oak flooring, and a fresh, calming color palette fill the living room with charming, Cape Cod style.

20/21
Before: Lackluster Performance

    With no mantel, texture, and too small scale, this fireplace doesn't command attention or contribute any design interest to the space.

After: Stunning in Slate

    A new, taller surround made of rugged slate pairs with a white-painted wood surround that allows the texture and color of the slate to stand out. The updated fireplace also brings a warm, cozy look and feel to the soaring sitting area.

21/21
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