Before and After: A Modern $300 Fireplace Redo Proves the Power of Small Tweaks

published Feb 5, 2021
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Before: Dated fireplace with dark mismatched stone

It’s amazing what a few quick little changes can do to transform a dark and dated space. This fireplace transformation from Jomana Siddiqui of A Happy Blog is proof that tiny tweaks can make a big difference in the look and feel of a space.

Jomana’s starting point was what she calls a “super ugly dark stone fireplace,” part of a 1980s addition to her family’s 1950s ranch-style house. “Since it was angled in the corner and went from the floor to the ceiling, it was quite the focal point and seemed to suck the life out the room,” Jomana says. “I looked into having it demolished as we were moving in, but it proved too costly at the time to demo that much rock. We were kind of left with it and I was itching to get rid of it.”

Ten years later, Jomana finally decided enough was enough. “I had thought my only option was to demolish the rock and start over considering how big the fireplace surround was,” she says, but she decided to try a much quicker, cheaper method: paint. “I figured I had nothing to lose since it really couldn’t get uglier,” Jomana says.

Jomana started by priming the wood mantel with Kilz primer, then using Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White — the same color she used on her trim throughout the house — to take it from dark brown to fresh white.

For the stone, Jomana used a warm white paint with a chalky finish (Jolie Paint’s Palace White), which she had applied by a pro with a paint sprayer. Because the matte paint dried so quickly, Jomana says it was ready for its second coat within just a few hours. The whole process took only a couple days from start to finish, and cost $300 including all the materials and labor.

Jomana finished the fresh new look with modern accessories, including a round mirror, matching globe table lamps, and plenty of plants. While she’s made a few scuffs in the paint in the time since while cleaning, she says they’ve been easy to touch up — and the dated fireplace has never looked better.

“I am so in love with the look,” she says. “Because the paint we used is so matte, it looks almost like the stone is Quartz and just bounces bright light back into the space. It immediately made such a huge difference in the room I only wish we did this sooner.”

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