2 Ways To Give Your Old Fireplace A Makeover

If you have a dated fireplace, you might feel like you are sentenced to staring at that simple mantel or those ugly, bright-yellow brass grates until you can afford to completely overhaul the entire structure. However, you might be able to make your fireplace and mantel a special, customized focal point by making a few simple changes. Here are two ways to give your old fireplace a makeover, so that you can update your home:

1: Repaint the Metal

Nothing can date a fireplace faster than the presence of gaudy gold or brass metal work—especially when the rest of your home has a modern, minimalist feel. Although it might seem impossible to change the look of that metal, there are actually high heat spray paints available that can withstand temperatures up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are a few ways you might be able to use paint to update your fireplace metal surround:

  • Style It Stainless: If you want to make that fireplace look like it belongs with the rest of your stainless steel appliances, consider painting the metal stainless steel. Believe it or not, stainless steel paints have self-leveling properties, so that they cure in a shiny, natural-looking way.
  • Add A Pop of Color: Sometimes, the best way to deal with unique metal work is to paint it a bright color. Consider using heat resistant paints to color that metal surround bright teal, lime green, or even cherry red. In addition to making your fireplace more interesting, a pop of color might also act as a conversation piece for guests.

Before you paint your metal surround, make sure the entire area is free of dirt and loose paint flakes from previous refinishing jobs. Remove any rust with a wire brush or steel wool. By taking the time to prepare the area, you can help paint to adhere properly, so that you can avoid flaking in the future.  

2: Update Your Mantel

Mantel designs range from ultra-simple beams to intricately carved, Victorian-style surrounds. However, if that mantel doesn't match your design aesthetic, it might be easier to update than you might think. Here are a few options you should consider:

  • Add Some Molding: If your mantel is too plain for your taste, consider shopping for some wood molding. Although some molding is ornate enough to look great on its own, you can even layer molding to create a more unique design. After molding is trimmed and added to your existing mantel, you can stain it to match the older wood.  
  • Refinish the Wood: If your wooden mantel is in decent shape but you don't like the color of the stain, you can strip off the old varnish and refinish the wood. After you mask off the surrounding area, you can brush on paint stripper to break down the pigment. After the existing stain is scraped away, you can sand down the surface to prepare the wood for the stain of your choice.
  • Replace It With A Prefab Version: If you know that adding molding or refinishing your mantel won't help, don't despair. You can actually replace the entire structure with a prefabricated version. Although these pre-made mantels range in price depending on the materials and design you choose, they start at around $300. By simply prying your old mantel off of the wall and putting up a new version, you can give your fireplace a fresh look.  

If you are a little leery about adding crown molding, refinishing wood, or taking down a heavy mantel on your own, consider hiring a professional contractor to do the job; contact companies like Alpine Fireplaces to see if the can help. Although professional labor might cost a little money, a simple update will cost less than a complete overhaul. 

By investing a little time into updating your existing fireplace, you might be able to build a little home value without breaking the bank.