Before and After: A Boring Fireplace Gets a Cozy $700 Redo Just in Time for the Holidays

published Oct 15, 2021
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: Fireplace with tan square tiles

Nothing says fall like sitting next to a crackling fireplace under a blanket with a coffee, cider, or cocoa in hand. But it’s hard to get in the fall spirit when your fireplace falls flat.

One major reason a fireplace might feel lackluster is that it’s missing a mantel, as was the case for Brooke Grasley of Restore Decor and More. Plus, the tan tiles on her living room fireplace felt builder-grade and blah. “It was dated with 12×12 tiles and was in need of a serious update,” Brooke says.

Step one of her DIY upgrade was cleaning the inside and painting it in a heat-protective black, which makes the firebox look cleaner and more defined. “It only took one coat and the difference it made was amazing,” Brooke wrote on her blog.

The change of trim also helps to make the fireplace more defined and more of a focal point. Brooke swapped the thin, chipping frame from before for a 5 1/2-inch-wide white frame. The thicker frame makes the whole thing look larger.

After upgrading the trim, Brooke tore up the old square tiles from around the fireplace and on the floor and replaced them with a more modern brick lookalike. “My design was based on a white brick look,” Brooke wrote on her blog. “When we finished our basement, I was able to create a fake brick wall using wall panels, but that wasn’t going to work here. So after searching high and low I was able to find a ‘faux’ brick fireplace tile.”

When she was finished with the surround, Brooke turned her attention to the top of the fireplace. For the mantel, she cut and stained pine boards to look like one solid chunk of wood. “I made sure to stain it beforehand so that when it was time to hang, it was ready,” she says. It’s her favorite part of the project.

Right now, her mantel is decked in fall decor, and she looks forward to decorating it for future holidays. “With Christmas approaching, I decided it was finally the year that we needed a mantel to hang up our Christmas stockings,” she says.

Her advice to anyone thinking of upgrading their fireplace? Don’t wait.

“This is a project you can do that will have a huge impact on your living room,” she says. In her own living room, she loves how modern, clean, and statement-making the upgraded fireplace is. “It changed the entire room,” she says.