Before and After: This Dark, Dim Living Room Fireplace Goes Light and Bright

published Oct 4, 2019
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Credit: Leigh Savage

Here’s some cozy inspiration now that fall temperatures are finally tiptoeing in: Designer Leigh Savage and her family loved the wide open layout of their home’s living room, but not the dim look, or the dated fireplace. Painting the whole room white, trim to ceiling, helped (she used All White by Farrow & Ball)—but the biggest impact came from a total fireplace redo.

Credit: Leigh Savage

“It’s the main focal point when you enter the living room, and the old wood paneling and trim made it look so outdated,” says Leigh. So she scrapped the ’70s-style paneling, and replaced it with horizontal shiplap painted white.

Credit: Leigh Savage

The brown brick hearth was in good shape, but a little dull. A couple coats of black paint made it look brand new, and helped it pop against the white walls.

Credit: Leigh Savage

The brown brick hearth, though, had to go. With the help of her dad, Leigh hammered out the old brick and concrete and installed a new cement tile hearth in a cool, graphic pattern. “I’m completely obsessed with it!” says Leigh. Final touch: swapping out the old faux-candle sconces with sleek new conical ones with major mid-century vibes.

All together—lighting, paneling, tile, and paint—the project cost Leigh about $850, and it’s money she would spend again in a heartbeat. “I love how modern the fireplace feels, but it still complements the older character of our home,” she says. The only thing missing? A toasty autumn fire!