Remodel Your Old Fireplace; Give it a Modern Look on a Budget

A fireplace is the focal point of a room. Hence a simple remodel of an old fireplace can change a room that feels old and drab into a modern, elegant setting. Whether you have a wood burning fireplace or a gas fireplace, a mantel made of bricks or stone or wood, the remodel of your fireplace need not be costly. Fireplace designs boil down to two important factors: color and texture. You can achieve both with a simple illusion that will give your old fireplace the look and feel of a remodeled fireplace, without the expense of an actual remodel.

Remodel an Old Fireplace, step 1: THE MANTLE

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The first step in the remodel of your old fireplace is about proportions. Take a few steps back and look at your wood or gas hearth. Focus on its size only, disregarding the trim around it. Next, look at the mantel and the trim. Is the size of the mantel and trim appropriate to the size of the hearth? Modern fireplaces are simple and elegant, but large. If your hearth looks too small by comparison with the wall and room, a larger mantel can change its appearance completely. If you cannot afford to change your mantel for a new one, simply using a strong accent color can help your existing fireplace mantel stand out without the costly remodeling. Also, placing an inexpensive strip of base molding on top of the mantel can increase its height and beauty. You can also create a backsplash with the base molding, which will further increase the illusion of added height to your mantel.

Also, some older wood burning fireplaces have wood trim rising to the ceiling. This rustic look is outdated, and you can easily remodel your old fireplace by removing this wood and painting the exposed wall to match the rest of the room. If you have a plain wood slab posing as a mantel, go ahead and replace it with a modern mantel, which you can order at your home improvement store. If you have no mantel, only bricks surrounding your hearth, add a mantel around the bricks for that modern, finished look.

Remodel an Old Fireplace, step 2: COLOR AND TEXTURE

The second step in the remodel of your old fireplace is visual. If your fireplace is made of wood trim, brick or metal, you can change the color tone and texture to give it a more modern feel. Not only will the remodeled surface look fresh and blend in with your room, but any old flaws or stains that exist in the fireplace surface will be concealed.

Begin by priming the surface of your old fireplace with paint primer, which you can find at your home improvement store. (This includes only areas outside the hearth, that is areas that are not exposed to fire.) The primer looks like white paint, and the primed surface will look white and glossy when you are done.

After the primer is dry, take a sea-sponge and the three cans of earth tone paints that you selected. Dip the sea-sponge in one color then dab the primed fireplace, leaving liberal spaces between the dabs. Next dip the sea-sponge in the next earth tone and dab the fireplace again, filling in the empty white spaces. Finally, dip the sea-sponge in the third color and fill in the remaining white spots. The area that you work on will now give the illusion of having a soft texture, like a brick. Repeat this painting technique until the remodeled design is uniform throughout.

Any flaws in the old surface will now be gone. Even if you have a brick hearth you can use this technique on it to change the color and appearance of the bricks, especially if there is any soot stains. Finally choose a contrast color or stain for the mantel. If the mantel is relatively small compared to your remodeled fireplace, then paint it a color that is very different from the wall, to help the mantel stand out. On the other hand, if the mantel is too large, help it blend with its surroundings by using a similar color to the furnishings in the room.

Hang an elegant mirror or a flat screen television above the remodeled fireplace, for that extra modern look. And always have logs inside the hearth, be it real wood or imitation.

Finally, if there are rooms in which you wish you had a fireplace, consider adding an electric fireplace, which will save you money in heating costs and add romance to your life.

And for more ideas on how to make your old home look modern, find out how to Change Your Old Windows into French Windows, or how A Plain Bathroom Mirror Can Look Modern Too. For what to do with that old ceiling, learn how to Remove Popcorn Ceilings With Paint Instead of Water, then how to Change Your Flat Ceiling into an Elegant Tray Ceiling