21 Before-and-After Fireplace Makeovers with Cozy Charm

living room with blue chairs
Photo: Kimberly Gavin

A fireplace provides comforting warmth in the winter and eye-catching display space all year long. If yours is in need of a facelift, a few fireplace makeover ideas can transform a lackluster hearth into the centerpiece of a room. These remarkable fireplace makeovers and remodels feature new mantels, fabulous surrounds, cozy hearths, and more.

01 of 41

Before: Awkward Corner Fireplace

living room with wood floors and fireplace in corner
Courtesy of homeowner

Tucked into a corner, this fireplace didn't serve as the room's natural focal point. However, it received more attention than it deserved due to its dark brown marble and traditional white mantelpiece. A modern fireplace makeover streamlined the look and helped it blend in with the redesigned living room.

02 of 41

After: Modern Fireplace Update

updated gray marble fireplace in corner
Jeff Herr

This fireplace makeover created a fresh, modern look without altering the footprint. A new clean-lined mantel helps downplay the small corner fireplace instead of making it stand out. Gray-and-white Carrara marble tiles connect the fireplace surround with the room's crisp, mostly neutral palette.

03 of 41

Before: Dark and Dated Fireplace

wood paneled living room walls before renovation
Lisa Romerein

The fireplace in this 1907 Craftsman home featured charming details but lacked polish. The dark wood paneling and crumbling brick surround begged for a modern update. A fireplace makeover gave the room a fresh look while preserving the home's original leaded-glass windows.

04 of 41

After: Contemporary Fireplace Makeover

renovated neutral-colored living room with pink and blue accent pieces
Lisa Romerein

The old wood and brick fireplace was replaced with a modern, minimalistic fireplace surround. To make up for the room's lack of storage space, simple display shelves now line either side of the fireplace. The top shelf lines up with the mantel to create a seamless transition, and a new warm white paint color brightens the space.

05 of 41

Before: Plain White Fireplace

family room fireplace before

This bland fireplace design had no standout features. With a plain white surround and mantel, it faded in with the room's neutral walls. French doors on the left and a smaller set of windows on the right gave the room an off-balance look.

06 of 41

After: Beautiful Black Fireplace

white living room remodel black fireplace
Seth Smoot

The brick fireplace remodel features contemporary style and adds subtle texture to the otherwise white room and furnishings. Black tile now covers the hearth, while an MDF mantel provides a crisp border. The brass fire screen received a coat of black high-heat spray paint. Replacing the set of windows with French doors and adding more windows along the adjacent wall brought new brightness and functionality to the living room.

07 of 41

Before: Builder-Basic Fireplace

great room with fireplace and built-in shelves
Courtesy of homeowner

Covered in 12x12-inch tiles, this fireplace wall was unimpressive. The area also featured painted drywall and basic cabinets that lacked personality and gave the room a builder-grade appearance. Instead of tearing out the bookshelves and creating something new, these homeowners embraced their existing fireplace and cabinetry in a modern farmhouse-style makeover.

08 of 41

After: Rustic Fireplace Makeover

living room fireplace remodel wood paneling
Jason Donnelly

Rustic wood surfaces introduce new character to this living room fireplace. Reclaimed barnwood planks, installed vertically to accentuate the tall ceiling, cover the chimney wall with timeworn texture. Barn boards also replaced the standard-issues shelves, cabinet doors, and drawer fronts. A hand-hewn wood mantel completes the farmhouse look.

09 of 41

Before: Off-Balance Space

family room builtin fireplace
Ed Gohlich

With a large built-in entertainment center competing with the adjacent fireplace, this living room lacked balance and a true focal point. The white-washed mantel looked like an afterthought compared to the long expanses of wood bookshelves. Overhead, dark wood beams made the ceiling feel closed-in.

10 of 41

After: New Focal Point

family room white brick fireplace built in shelving
Anthony Masterson

Moving the gas-burning firebox to the left and adding matching built-ins on either side refocused the attention on the fireplace. A veneer of white brick gives the surround a crisp look, which matches the airy appearance of the white-painted ceiling beams. The richly stained wood mantel, crafted to look like a piece of antique furniture, now stands out prominently. A new wall of desks and storage replaced the old bookcases.

11 of 41

Before: Retro Living Room

living room before renovation
Jason Donnelly

An odd, undulating swath of dirty carpet immediately draws the attention in this room. The nondescript fireplace was an afterthought at best, another eyesore at worst. A full-scale renovation ditched the dingy carpet and created a true focal point fireplace.

12 of 41

After: Modern Fireplace Design

living room with white fireplace
David Patterson

The fireplace shed its wallflower past and now extends out into the room. The bump-out is clad in Inhabit Wall Flats, panels that install like tile but at a lower cost and can be painted any color. A simple wood beam mantel counters the streamlined tile, a balance found throughout the room's modern-meets-rustic decor.

13 of 41

Before: Plain Fireplace

fireplace makeover before living room furniture decor

Trapped in another decade and completely out of proportion, this hearth was in desperate need of a fireplace makeover. The purple tile clashed with the living room decor. Empty wall space surrounding the fireplace desperately needed design direction.

14 of 41

After: Perfect Balance

living room with blue chairs
Kimberly Gavin

Ditching the existing squat mantel led the way for a complete fireplace remodel. A simple white mantel sits directly atop the fireplace surround, now dressed in white marble subway tile. Shiplap, an of-this-decade style choice, crowns the fireplace. Basic IKEA shelves bookend the fireplace and were upgraded with molding to give the impression of custom built-ins for a fraction of the cost.

15 of 41

Before: Rustic Fireplace

living space brick fireplace before
Courtesy of homeowner

All-over pine paneling gave this living room a cramped and dated appearance. Topped with a clunky mantel, the red brick fireplace stood out, but not in a good way. The room's rustic cabin look did not fit with the California home's beachy location.

16 of 41

After: Modern Fireplace Makeover

remodel living room white brick fireplace
Edmund Barr

Along with the walls and ceiling, the brick fireplace was updated with a new coat of white paint for a cleaner look. A minimalistic mantel echoes the room's modern vibe. Contemporary armchairs and a slipcovered sofa now offer cozy seating around the hearth.

17 of 41

Before: Dark Brick Fireplace

brick fireplace living room before
Courtesy of homeowner

The tall, dingy fireplace in this 1980s living room needed an update to fit this decade. The red brick stood out sharply against white walls, serving as more of an eyesore than a focal point. Tearing out the brick provided space for a more modern fireplace that includes added storage and style.

18 of 41

After: Bright and Open Built-Ins

great room builtin shelving with fireplace
Paul Dyer

Taking advantage of the expansive wall space, custom bookcases and cabinetry brighten the area around the fireplace. The built-ins provide both open and closed storage, as well as a spot for the TV. A sleek gray fireplace surround and contemporary artwork above modernize the living space.

19 of 41

Before: Overlooked Corner

fireplace makeover in progress
Edmund Barr

An awkward drywall pop-out surrounding this firebox was a poor excuse for a mantel. Tucked into a corner with no eye-catching features, the fireplace seemed like a bit of a waste, especially given the natural light afforded by the adjacent window. With a plan for a new mantel and a few design tweaks, this fireplace makeover was ready to roll.

20 of 41

After: Glowing Fireplace Design

fireplace makeover after
Edmund Barr

With the drywall bump-out gone, this fireplace received a facelift starring Mediterranean-style ceramic tiles. High-temperature spray paint gave the dated firebox surround a fresh finish. A rustic wood beam mantel crowns the fireplace makeover and is ready to receive a display of beautiful accessories. Inside the fireplace, fire glass shimmers, enhancing the spark of the newly revived fireplace.

21 of 41

Before: Blank Canvas

fireplace with windows
Jeff Herr

A fireplace renovation was on the remodeling to-do list for this run-down cottage. An awkward design made it tricky to make use of the narrow living space on either side of the hearth. A dull color palette gave the fireplace little chance to stand out.

22 of 41

After: Charmingly Eclectic

white fireplace with windows
Jeff Herr

A new tile hearth and white paint refreshed the fireplace in this living room's makeover. The remodeled fireplace hosts a revolving collection of art prints and antique store finds. A nonworking hearth is a great place to splurge on tile that would be too costly for refacing an entire large fireplace.

23 of 41

Before: Empty Space

floor to ceiling fireplace
Edmund Barr

The empty walls next to this fireplace were begging for a purpose. They overshadowed the firebox and made it look awkwardly small. With no mantel and a lackluster surround, this hearth was in major need of a fireplace remodel.

24 of 41

After: Storage Central

living room fireplace media center
Edmund Barr

The walls around the fireplace were updated to use as much-needed storage space. New bookshelves provide opportunities to display collectibles and other decorative items. Cabinets below the shelves' built-in niches offer hideaway space for personal items.

25 of 41

Before: Dark, Uninviting Fireplace

dark corner fireplace
Edmund Barr

This living room was stuck in the 1950s with its yellowed plywood panel-lined walls. The combination of the outdated walls, dark wood floors, and red brick fireplace made this space dark and uninviting. Plus, the soot-covered firebox was in major need of a cleaning and some fireplace brick TLC.

26 of 41

After: Bright and Open

modern living room
Edmund Barr

Faux stacked limestone clads the now-updated fireplace. The material is a smart budget pick for this fireplace makeover because it looks and feels like real stone but is less expensive. Plus, because it's lightweight, it requires no additional floor support. The wall-to-ceiling limestone fireplace complements the modern vibe of the room.

27 of 41

Before: Cramped Surroundings

fireplace set in shelves
Michael Partenio

Open shelving is normally a great fireplace accompaniment, but it's possible to over-do it. This mantel got lost in all the bulky shelves surrounding it. And with no practical reason for the excessive number of shelves, some drastic fireplace makeover ideas were necessary.

28 of 41

After: Open Fireplace Design

living room green fireplace white columns
Michael Partenio

For this fireplace makeover, the homeowners removed the stones on the surround and added sleek white pillars. These pillars transform the fireplace into an elegant focal point for the room and help the fireplace stand out in front of the shelves. Painting the entire facade white adds to the coastal theme of the room, which was chosen to help play up the ocean view from this family room.

29 of 41

Before: Washed-Out and Plain

cream tiled fireplace
Jon Jensen

The color combination of cream-on-white left this fireplace washed-out and boring. Neutral walls and lackluster molding removed any charm. Devoid any personality, this space needed a drastic fireplace makeover.

30 of 41

After: Bold and Beautiful

master bedroom fireplace blue mantel accent walls
Jon Jensen

A fresh coat of black paint on the wood mantel brought focus to the fireplace. The black and stone combination gives the fireplace refacing 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 relaxing evening with a cup of tea and a good book.

31 of 41

Before: Dark Ages Fireplace

wood panel fireplace

This room's dreary decor carried over to its very boring fireplace. Wood panels and exposed brick were dark and dismal. The room was in desperate need of a redesign and fresh look, which was achieved via a complete fireplace remodel.

32 of 41

After: Modern Fireplace Update

living room fireplace wood panel wall
Michael Partenio

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 and unites the new fireplace facade to the black furnishings throughout the room.

33 of 41

Before: Broken to Bits

living room before renovation
Gordon Beall

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

34 of 41

After: Beautifully Complete

wood beam ceiling living room
Gordon Beall

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 makeover style complements the rest of the space, which includes exposed wooden ceiling rafters and rustic doors and shelves.

35 of 41

Before: Bare and Basic Fireplace

fireplace with statue
Tria Giovan

Without any accents of color, this fireplace almost blended into the wall. An ill-placed statue drew some attention to the space in an unattractive way. A touch of texture and fresh materials is what the fireplace needed to become a standout feature in this living room.

36 of 41

After: Sweet and Simple Fireplace

White paneling around fireplace and mantel
Tria Giovan

A few tweaks and fireplace remodeling ideas were all this feature needed to become a beautiful element in the room. The stone fireplace makeover was as simple as adding sleek, stone tiles on the surround of the fireplace and placing a few accessories on 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.

37 of 41

Watch: A Rustic Redo for a 1970s Fireplace

Covered in wood paneling and lacking a mantel, this fireplace needed a full makeover to shine. A new mantel and tile surround gave it a fresh face. See how this stuck-in-the-past fireplace became an up-to-date showstopper with a few smart updates.

38 of 41

Before: Bland and Bulky

brick fireplace crowded mantel
James Yochum

Held back by dusty whites and tired brown tones, this living room was stuck in the 1970s. The bulky brown-brick fireplace did little to enhance the space, as it was placed asymmetrically on a long stretch of wall. And to top it all off, the unfinished wood mantel looked completely out of place.

39 of 41

After: Light and Lively

white stone fireplace mantle and paneling
James Yochum

Using fireplace brick paint to turn the 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.

40 of 41

Before: Muddled Media Room

living room with slanted ceiling
Courtesy of Homeowner

With its poor design, bad acoustics, and lack of storage, this media room was more dysfunctional than family-friendly. Too much furniture and a missing focal point gave the room little purpose. Relocating the fireplace, along with a few fireplace makeover ideas, gave the room new life and function.

41 of 41

After: Media Room Makeover

Fireplace natural stone and wood
Emily Minton-Redfield

The much-needed fireplace makeover consisted of adding a curved ceiling to balance the room and improve acoustics, in addition to 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.

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