Designers often say a fireplace is the focal point of a room. But if yours leaves you cold, take heart. Giving it a quick fireplace makeover facelift is easier and cheaper than you think.
Older homes often have stone fireplaces that a previous owner has painted. After several years of living with the painted stone, the homeowners removed the paint and revealed the original.
Then they learned this could be a messy, laborious, and expensive procedure. They found a more straightforward solution.
A simple glazing technique transformed the fireplace with a quart of glazing liquid and tubes of universal pigment from a paint store. The project took just a few hours and less than $25.
Brushing the glaze on and wiping it off gives an illusion of being the original stone.
If You are fortunate to find that the paint applied to the fireplace was cream. Beige, off-white, or other pale neutrals work well as base coats for a brown-to-gray finish.
If the stone on your fireplace has been painted a dark or bright color, you will need to paint over it with the same type of paint in a neutral color.
4 Steps For Quick Fireplace Makeover
1. Tape off the wall and surrounding areas of the stone. Put on gloves, and pour about one-third of the glaze into a container. Mix in about one tablespoon of lamp black tint, and stir thoroughly.
With a 2- or 3-inch brush, begin applying glaze with random strokes, covering the base coat completely. Use a smaller brush to cover all the cracks and crevices.
2. Crumple a clean cotton rag in one hand. Holding the rag firmly, dab and wipe the glazed surface, removing some of the glaze. Let the stone dry for two hours.
3. Pour another portion (about one-third) of the glaze into a separate container. Mix in about one tablespoon of raw umber and a teaspoon of raw sienna tint, and stir thoroughly. With a brush, begin applying glaze with random strokes, not covering the entire surface. Add additional tint as desired.
4. Crumple a clean cotton rag in one hand. Holding the rag firmly, dab and wipe the glaze from the surface. This step creates depth. Let dry for two hours.
Note: If the original paint on the stone is an oil base, you must use alkyd glazing liquid. You can use a latex glazing liquid if the base color is latex. The universal pigments work for both types.
Fireplace Makeovers Options If You Want More
Paint the existing brick and/or the interior of the firebox. (For the latter, use high-heat paint.)
Replace a worn or dated fire screen and tools to harmonize with other furnishings.
Replace a damaged or dated tile hearth with a slate, granite, or stone slab.
Add a new or vintage fireplace surround or mantel, or replace an outdated or poorly proportioned one.
Sources for ready-made surrounds and mantel shelves include Home Depot and fireplacemantels
Box in the existing brick or stone with drywall and paint.
Enlarge and reface the surround and/or mantel with custom carpentry, porcelain or limestone tiles, mirror, stone (real or fake), or poured concrete.
Face the entire fireplace with exotic stone or elaborate custom millwork.
Acquire an antique fireplace surround, preferably ornately carved marble or rare wood from a centuries-old French chateau, English manor house, or Italian villa.