Before and After: A Nearly-New Fireplace for $100 (and a Day’s Work)

published Jan 31, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Post Image

Winter is peak crowding-around-the-fireplace time—but what if you don’t love the one you’ve got? “Ours was fine but overall very boring and blah,” says Sarah Nadarajah of the fireplace in her space, an experience that’s entirely relatable. When she moved in, the surround was an old red brick: “I whitewashed the brick in hopes it would update the space. And while it helped, the room still felt like something was missing,” Sarah says. “I needed the fireplace to be more of a focal point in the room.”

A new, chunkier mantel was just what the basically bare fireplace needed. Sarah made the new faux-beam mantel with reclaimed 1×10 boards stained in a deep walnut tone. To do it, she cut the boards to size and beveled the edges using a table saw; then, she fitted them together into a box shape before staining. Sarah placed the faux beam on top of the old mantel before screwing it into place.

But Sarah didn’t stop there: Above, she nailed up shiplap that’s framed by 1×6 boards and crown molding on top for an extra-finished look. All told, the project cost just $100 and only took about a day to complete.

Later additions—board-and-batten wainscoting and two rustic-looking sconces—complement the farmhouse-y vibe.

“I love how the fireplace is more of a focal point in the space,” Sarah says. “The faux beam mantle gives a rustic vibe while adding warmth to the space, and the shiplap adds a height and brightness the space was lacking.” Now, the living room fireplace is peak cozy—and the perfect place to curl up with a good book on blustery winter days.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.