This Fireplace is Ugly.

I have a bad attitude about my living room right now…the color is getting on my nerves (it’s been the same color for 4+years; I’ve never loved it, but for some reason, now I can’t stand it).  I hate the window coverings, but we aren’t going to be changing those.  And the fireplace…

I planned to use the same paint that we’d used in the bathroom last year to just spruce up the walls a bit, but it turns out that though the color looks rich and warm in the bathroom, it looks cold and gray in the living room.  Which won’t do.  So I’m off to find a suitable paint color here in a bit.  Looking for a very neutral creamy color.

In the meantime, take a look at my ugly fireplace.  The mantle is ugly.  The brick is ugly (Bennett commented the other day that I should “wash the bird poop off the fireplace”…he’s referring to the white bricks on the hearth).  I do like the mirror we put up there and the sconces aren’t my favorite but I don’t hate them.

fireplace

mantle

There’s a Home Depot commercial that plays on HGTV right now where they tile the fireplace and it looks amazing.  If we were staying here forever, I’d consider doing something like that but it’s probably out of the question in this house.  I *may* have talked my dad into rebuilding our mantle to modernize it a bit with some crown molding and a new top.

I generally keep the mantle loaded with photos and such because I think that minimizes the draw of your eye to the mantle, but I’m wanting to change that if we get a new one.

What would you do to this fireplace if you were me and didn’t want to spend a ton of money on this?  I’m not 100% opposed to painting the brick, but I’m also not sure about that.  If this was a cool blog, I’d be like asking for design submissions, and then I’d pick a winner, and you’d get a great prize.  But this isn’t that blog.  So just leave me a comment with your brilliant ideas, k?

14 responses to “This Fireplace is Ugly.

  1. Is this a real wood – working fireplace or a gas one?

    I want a fireplace pretty badly – but i want a stone one – and i want it to be in a rustic like log cabin setting – and i want to see it from the living room and the kitchen – from both sides – and i want it to go up to the ceiling. So does that help you on this? – It doesn’t…. hmmmm…… strange…. I thought it might…. I guess I will have to keep thinking of ideas then….. :-)

  2. Oh, Nicole, I am so with you – not on your fireplace, but mine. I hope you get lots of great ideas – I may have to use one!!

    I don’t love the idea of painting the bricks – only because it really can’t be reversed. Could you find some stone or something on clearance?

  3. I’m sending before and after pics of my fireplace. Matt did ours. Its worth it!! (I’m still wanting to tile it!)

  4. pottery barn has a really cute crown molding shelf that can be used as a mantle.
    http://www.potterybarn.com/products/p3171/index.cfm?pkey=cbookcases%2Dshelves&cm_src=sch

  5. Let me start off by saying I don’t think your fireplace is all that ugly…..however since you asked and YOU think it’s ugly….

    Here are my two cents…..1. I would definitely put a new mantle on, especially if you have your dad talked into helping you out! 2. Have you ever thought of putting a cool looking fireplace screen in front of it? I ask this for a couple of reasons….one, I agree with Heather in that I get nervous to paint brick cause you can’t change it back and two, a screen might take away from the “ugliness”(to you) of your fireplace. In addition to the screen, you could also put two tall vases on either side or tall grasses or something like that. Lots of ways to try and hide most of it!

    If you are thinking of painting it…..here is my idea. Paint the room a very neutral color. Paint the wall of the fireplace an accent color and then paint the brick a neutral color also. In our old house our fireplace was a VERY ugly green tile. I painted the room neutral, the wall of the fireplace a deep red, and the fireplace tiles a dark brown…..always got compliments on it. That brings me to another point….if you find really cheap tiles (even ugly ones) you could tile it and then paint the tiles, very easy to do. Or, if you painted the fireplace wall a deep red or something like that even if the rest of the room was neutral the fireplace might not stand out as much as it does now.

    OK, think I’m finished with my ideas. Sorry for the long comment!

  6. If you seriously want to sell in a year or so I wouldn’t paint it! Buyers know that they can paint it if THEY want to…but you can’t take it off (or at least easily).

    I think a new mantle would make a huge impact…along with the right accessories…

    Hmmm…wanna go shopping!?!?

  7. I think a new mantle will go a long way… they sell whole sets of mantles and surround at Lowes and Home Depot and stuff. That alone would make a huge difference.
    BUT. Tiling it would go a long long way in updating the room, which might be a big plus in selling your house. We did my parents for them a few years ago (and have been meaning to do ours since we’ve been here but haven’t gotten around to it); covered the brick in tile and then added a surround. You would not believe the difference in the room. I have before and after pics if you’re interested :)
    We did 12″ tiles and so it was really quite easy and went really quick. Not very expensive either, even if you’re doing slate tiles or something more expensive.
    I would wholeheartedly recommend going the tile route.
    As for painting, I never thought I was a fan of painted brick, but then my friend Annie painted hers… they had a corner fireplace that went from floor to ceiling, classic red brick. She painted her walls a great taupe color and then basically white-washed the brick with the same wall color watered down. It looked amazing. I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. It looked so much better. I’d still be afraid to do it; I’d want her to, or ask her specific detailed step by step direction… because like everyone said, there’s no going back with paint on brick. But she converted me… I do believe in painting brick now!
    Good luck- can’t wait to hear (and see!) what you decide to do!

    p.s. we’ve had our living room painted Taupe (two different shades of the Laura Ashley Taupe at Lowes) in our last two houses, and have always gotten many compliments on it, if you’re looking for a color for the walls! I love it!

  8. so, you asked for it…your getting it.

    1) whatever you do DON’T paint it.

    2) the lighter you paint the room the more the dark brick is going to stand out. if you don’t want to mess with the fireplace itself but want to make it less noticeable until you do sell it think about painting the walls on the darker end of the color spectrum. you get enough light in that room that you won’t need to worry about it being too dark. you can then add white/light accents in the room. ie white lamp bases, white curtains (i know i know you have three boys), etc.

    3) i am going to email a few pictures to you for my next 2 ideas. the first is to cover the brick with something called backer board. this will allow you to easily cover the fireplace with tile. this can be done more inexpensively than you think.

    4) leave the dark brick and cover the outside edge of it with a white/light mantle. then on the wall the fireplace is one put decorative molding squares on it. hard to explain but you will understand once you see the picture.

  9. I love these ideas. Yes, don’t paint it. Rather make it all about the mantle with “columns” that come down to hide much of the side brick. THere would be very little brick exposed. Simple. Plus, it will ALL look better with a wall color you like better.

  10. Pingback: The Finished Product! « Here’s the Diehl

  11. Hi Nicole,
    I just took care of a fireplace in a rental property identical to this one. And paint is an option. You can buy an oil based paint at the Paint shop. Mine was the same couolour exactly. I painted the bricks a nice taupe coulour and the mantel in a chocolate mocha. The end results were astounding. I have had many compliments on it. People ask all the time “Did we put a new fireplace in”?

Talk to me!

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