The classic traditional brick fireplace is a staple that gives your home a warm and cozy feeling. It becomes the focal point, a gathering place for family, and the best spot for decor. Sometimes though, this iconic feature needs an upgrade. If you need to spruce up the appearance of your old hearth, check out these ten ways to elevate the look of your brick fireplace.
#1 Repaint the Brick
Taking the paintbrush to your old fireplace is a sure-fire way to bring new life into your home. You may not even need to repaint the fireplace. Take a look at the walls in the room, maybe they need the touch-up.
When painting your fireplace, think about black. Painting your brick black gives your room a bold touch. Dark colors, in general, like navy blue, add a contemporary vibe to your hearth.
If black is too much of a statement, try going gray. This subtle shade is a versatile color that pairs well with many different hues and room tones.
- Woman holding painting roller with gloves and overalls
Curious about how to paint a brick fireplace? Let's go over the necessary steps.
- Clean the brick of your fireplace first. We'll go over how to clean the brick later in the article.
- Use a primer on the brick. A primer will protect the paint from soot stains the next time you use the fireplace.
- Paint! Be sure to use heat-resistant paint; this is a fireplace after all. Also, use a textured paint roller to apply the color.
Maybe your brick is perfect, but it's your room that's the problem. In that case, take the paintbrush to the walls. Find the right color to bring out your shade of brick and make your fireplace the stunning focal point it should be.
Painting the room will take more time and effort than painting the fireplace so do your homework. Take your time and do it right. Find the right color that will make your hearth pop. Or, go subtle and bring your room a tone that blends with your decor.
#2 Get a New Mantel
Painting can be a lot of work. It can be stressful finding the right color, and you have to move all the furniture, and get the right paintbrushes. It's a task you shouldn't take lightly. So if that job is too big for you, no worries. Think about a mantel. A mantel adds visual appeal and functionality to your hearth.
- White fireplace mantel
There are two main types of fireplace mantels out there.
- Full Mantel Surround - Mantel surrounds cover at least three sides of your fireplace. They come in a wide variety of styles and designs to fit your decor. A surround will anchor your fireplace more than a shelf will. These mantels are more costly and installation requires you to have clearances on the sides and above your fireplace.
- Mantel Shelf - Shelves sit above the fireplace and do not cover the sides. A mantel shelf will cost you less than a full-surround mantel, and they are easier to install.
The addition of a mantel will enhance your whole room. It will make the hearth even more eye-catching, and the new shelf space adds an extra dimension you can utilize to place pictures, paintings, or family heirlooms above your fireplace.
You can even paint or find the perfect color mantel to tie the whole room together under one unifying aesthetic. Need ideas? Check out our article on fireplace mantel decor and design.
#3 Add Some Accessories
Accessories are a great way to quickly and easily improve your fireplace. Most accessories don't cost an arm and a leg, and they are much less of a hassle to deal with rather than painting or installing a mantel.
- Brick fireplace with fireplace accessories
- Back Panel - These are also called decorative liners. These back panels sit inside the firebox to give your fireplace some appeal and protect your firebox. Liners come in ceramic, metal, or refractory cement.
- Fireplace Screen - A fireplace screen protects your home from embers, ash, and sparks. But it's not just a great shield; the right fireplace screen can enhance the vibe of your room. The designs, shape, and size of fireplace screens offer you no shortage of choice.
- Andirons - Andirons keep logs from rolling out of your fireplace. Today, many andirons are decorative, so finding the right pair can add a little bit of flair to the inside of your firebox.
- Fireplace Grate - Keep your logs sitting comfortably with a fireplace grate. While a grate isn't an aesthetic powerhouse, it can go a long way if you like the look of logs in your fireplace. The grate will keep those logs in place and looking neat, adding to the smart look of your home.
- Door - If the inside of your fireplace is a nightmare and no amount of scrubbing, poking, and scraping can save it, think about investing in a fireplace door. Doors close off your fireplace from the rest of your home. Doors come in many shapes, sizes, and designs, so you are sure to find something that will fit your decor.
- Light Kit - Accent lighting is a great cost-effective option to create a unique mood around your hearth. Many light kits are purpose-built, so you'll have to find one made for your fireplace, but they are small, unobtrusive, and easy to install.
#4 Add Art to the Wall Surrounding the Fireplace
Art! Photography, painting, sculpture, and more can not only elevate the look of your fireplace but the look of your home.
- Woman stitching custom artwork
Vintage photographs of family or a beautiful portrait above the mantel can make your fireplace stand out or tie the room together.
Adding art in any form gives your space limitless possibilities and it's easy. Think about what you love or what moves you. Take that thought and imagine it around your fireplace. If that idea brings you peace, that's all the more reason to look into art for your hearth.
#5 Incorporate Decorative Logs
Sometimes a natural look is best when the contemporary is out of the question. One way to give your brick fireplace an earthy tone is by leaving logs inside your firebox.
- Seasoned chopped wood in a studio fireplace
If you have a wood mantel or hardwood floors, a stack of logs inside your fireplace enhances your natural aesthetic. The brick reflects all the different shades of wood to give your room that natural look.
On the mantel or in the firebox, candles are a great way to liven up that old unused fireplace. Candles may feel very 19th century, and they are. But, if you've got an older home that resists the modern trends, then try leaning into that historical feel. Putting those long stick candles in your firebox or on the mantel gives your home that old world look.
- White studio interior fireplace
Candles come in a variety of colors so you can open the windows, let light in and give your home a heavenly feel.
Or close it off, light those candles, let the wax melt all over the mantel and bring that goth aesthetic to life!
#7 Go All the Way Every Holiday
One way to spruce up your brick fireplace is to decorate it for every major holiday.Never let a style get stale when you change it up every other month!
- White brick studio fireplace with wood logs and Christmas decor
While it is work to decorate for Valentines, St. Patricks, July 4, etc. it can save you money over an entire remodel. Plus, if you get your family involved, it can be a great bonding experience.
Holiday decoration is a fun way to refresh your look without breaking the bank.
#8 Go Minimal
If decorating isn't your thing, think about going minimal. Remove the clutter around your brick fireplace and stick to the essentials.
Look for furniture that compliments your fireplace and take away the accessories you don't use. Find yourself pieces of furniture that are more functional rather than aesthetic. Perhaps a retouch of paint on the walls can open up the room and give you the minimalist aesthetic you desire.
- White painted wall with white desk and minimal decor
Look to the artwork of Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, and Eva Hesse for inspiration. And take cues from Japanese traditional design and architecture. Architects like Richard Gluckman, Luis Barragan, and Peter Zumthor have created incredible minimalist structures that can guide you in the quest for space and peace.
#9 Clean It Up
Maybe what your old brick fireplace needs is a nice little once over with the scrubber. So, let's talk about how to clean a brick fireplace. There a few methods when it comes to making that brick look new-ish again. We will go over two of those methods.
Method 1: The hard way, but with a deeper clean.
- Vacuum the bricks as clean as possible.
- Scrub the firebox with dishwashing liquid.
- If you have tougher stains, use trisodium phosphate (TSP).
- Mix TSP with water and scrub the bricks clean.
- Use gloves and goggles.
- Don't get TSP on your skin; it's a heavy-duty cleaner.
- Vacuuming firebox with hose and brush attachment
Method 2: The easy way.
- Vacuum the bricks.
- Use an oven cleaner or bathroom cleaner. Follow the directions on your cleaner, and there you have it, a clean fireplace.
#10 Whitewash the Brick
Whitewashing is a type of painting, but it's so popular it requires its own section. Whitewashing lightens and brightens the surface of your brick fireplace. If you have a particularly intense shade of brick, a good whitewashing can tone that down. If you're unfamiliar with whitewashing, no worries. Let's go over how to whitewash a brick fireplace.
- White-washed studio brick fireplace with wood logs
- Clean the brick. Hey, we just covered how to do that! Lucky you.
- Remove any paint from the surface.
- Prepare the whitewash.
Whitewash is a 50/50 solution of water and white latex paint. If you want a whiter look, add more paint. If you want more of your brick to come through, add more water.
- Apply the whitewash.
- Use a clean paintbrush or a rag.
- Dip it into your solution and paint your brick in small manageable sections.
When you paint, be sure to blot or dab the whitewash and not wipe it on the brick. Blotting and dabbing create a more natural texture once it dries. And there you have it — a whitewashed fireplace.
Which Solution Will You Choose?
No doubt, one of these solutions will work to liven the look of your brick fireplace. Your hearth should reflect your taste, not be an eyesore to you or your guests. These tips give your brick fireplace personality that matches your own.
Make your home happy, and you'll be happy too! Take the time to spruce up your space in a way that you enjoy.
For more questions or concerns regarding your fireplace, feel free to call one of our NFI certified technicians at 1-800-203-1642.