Good Questions: Fake Fireplace Makover Suggestions?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Hello AT,

We moved into our place nearly a year ago and since then, we’ve been
struggling as to what to do about our fireplace.

It’s the focal point of the living room and everything about it is
fake. What was once a woodburning fireplace was converted to working
gas fireplace. The marble in the picture isn’t marble but someone’s
poor attempt at trompe l’oeil that isn’t fooling anyone. The molding
on the mantle is painted to look like carved ivory. Even the log in
the gas fireplace looks fake, fake, fake! The black around the
fireplace is some sort of granite-like material….

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

I’m looking for some suggestions on how to make this a beautiful
focal point instead of the eyesore it is. I have a shoestring budget
to work with and we’d have to be able to do it ourselves. So
unfortunately converting the fireplace back to woodburning isn’t an
option at this time. I’m hoping the creative readers of AT will be
able to provide some ideas or inspiration.

Thanks in advance, Rachel

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Dear Rachel,

Tough one. We observe the following:

1. The fireplace mantle is too high for the room, meaning the top is too thick
2. The trompe l’oeuil is not so nice
3. The brass touches are not so nice
4. The fireplace itself seems closed in

would try the following:

1. Paint the trim around the fireplace the same as the white window trim
2. Paint everything above that the same color as the walls to blend in
3. Remove all objects on mantle, except possible propping a painting on it instead of hanging it above
4. Remove as much of the metal fireplace housing as possible to open it up. We don’t have a problem with gas fireplaces, but it would be nice to make it less enclosed

Ideally, however, we would remove the top of the fireplace mantle, removing the big blank strip and put the mantle just above the opening to the fireplace, painting all a semi-gloss white. Perhaps this can be affordably done.

Anyone else??