Before and After: A $200 Farmhouse Modern Fireplace Update Done in a Weekend

published Sep 5, 2020
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Before: Fireplace with beige tile surround and oak mantle against white wall

If you’ve ever lived in a home built between 1980 and 2005, you probably recognize the fireplace that Teresa Feldmann (The Repainted House) had in her home: fluted oak mantel, beige tile surround, shiny brass accents on the fireplace screen. It’s all fine, but not particularly cozy and definitely not a stylish focal point.

Teresa was over it, and wanted to give the fireplace a new, updated look. But, as with many intrepid DIYers, she didn’t want to spend a fortune doing it. So she hit the home center for materials, relying heavily on one of the best tricks for the budget-savvy renovator: paint!

Gray for the walls and white for the trim instantly modernize the surrounding living room, and make it look a whole lot brighter. For the brass-accented firebox, Teresa reached for high-heat black paint so that the fireplace could still be safely used.

Then, for the surround, Teresa primed her ceramic tile with a high adhesion primer before painting it white. She first tried painting her pattern using a stiff, store-bought stencil and spray adhesive—”What a mess!” she says. She scrapped that and found that what worked better for her was a softer stencil she made using her own vinyl cutter. She painted the pattern black for chic contrast that matches the firebox.

Painting the oak mantel white made it way more modern, and makes the whole fireplace seem bigger, too. Teresa added shiplap above the mantel, also painted white, and trimmed the sides with 1×4 boards.

All told, the project cost between $150 and $200 and took just a weekend—but with the stunning results, you’d be hard pressed to guess that this was a budget project. Plus, it accentuates the room’s best feature: “Adding shiplap above the fireplace and painting it one cohesive color really makes it a focal point for the room and draws attention to the 10-foot ceiling,” Teresa says. Not bad for a few hours of work!

Inspired? Submit your own project here.