Is it time to give your fireplace a makeover?

Fall is here and it won’t be long before we will be looking forward to coming home from work, pouring a glass of wine and relaxing in front of a warm cozy crackling fire in our outdated, tired looking fireplace … Wait, that doesn’t sound right!

For many of us, home renovation is a never ending process. We’ve installed new flooring, painted, updated our interior doors and trim, removed the old popcorn ceiling, enhanced our lighting, and added décor to make our home unique and personal. And that was just the family room.

The house has changed so much that it barely looks like the same home that we moved into many years ago… except for that fireplace. Often the fireplace is like a “time capsule” reminding us that we are not living in a new house.

Maybe it is time for a fireplace facelift?

But where do you start? There are so many great ideas and options available, it is hard to remember them all, much less find them again.

We suggest you start by opening a “Fireplace Project” in This will allow you to efficiently collect and organize all your inspiration… anywhere… anytime.

Once you have collected your ideas and options, will help you define your “Fireplace Project” by eliminating the ideas and options that are not right for your home. will even archive all the images, documents, and details of your “Fireplace Project,” so you have quick and easy access when you need them.

7 ways to enhance your fireplace:

We encourage you to always consider safety first. Not all materials are appropriate for fireplace applications. Ensure that the materials you select will not create a fire hazard.

1.  Update the brick or stone on your fireplace​

    Brick and stone are very common materials used for fireplaces. However, there are many different types and applications of stone and even more colors and quality of brick. Depending on your budget and whether you like your brick or stone, there are three common options for updating your fireplace.

    Option #1 - Seal your Brick or Stone:

    If you like the color and quality of the brick or stone used in your fireplace, applying a sealer will enhance the natural color and tone of the brick or stone, giving it a fresh, revitalized appearance. In most cases, the brick and stone was not sealed originally because they were indoors.

    painted brick - fireplace update-quinjucom

    Wetting your brick or stone will you help see what it will look like once the sealer is applied; however, should you apply a sealer and not like the results, you can still chose one of the other two options.

    Option #2 - Paint your brick or stone:

    If you like the brick or stone used in your fireplace but the color/tone does not compliment your home’s décor, painting it is a simple and inexpensive way to change the look of your fireplace.

    Option #3 - Installing a stone veneer:

    While installing stone veneer over your existing brick or stone fireplace requires a bigger budget, it is a great way to totally change and update the look of your fireplace and enhance the style of your home.

    The number of companies manufacturing stone veneers exploded in recent years, providing you more styles, colors and options than ever.

    Firepace update-stone

    Some stone veneers are made from natural stone, while others use manufactured stone. Make sure you research which products have been tested for fireplace applications.

    If you are installing the stone veneer yourself, you may want to select a product that offers corner pieces and does not require mortar between the stones.

    2. Update Your fireplace mantel

    fireplace mantel -custom carved-personal

    Updating your old wood mantel can be one of the easiest ways to make a dramatic change to your fireplace. It could be a simple change like painting the existing mantel or a more personal change like replacing your mantel with a piece of barn beam from the old barn on the family homestead.

    The mantel should either complement the room décor, or be a feature that stands out from the room’s décor. Some adventuresome designers encourage using the mantel to add color to your fireplace.

    3. Re-surface your hearth

    While I did not love the brick used on my fireplace, it was the brick hearth sticking out into the room that always seemed unfinished to me. The rough brick made it harder to sweep off and keep clean, but I think the fact that it is such a visible part of the fireplace, I felt if should be nicer.

    So we decided to re-surface the hearth with a natural slate called Banas Stone. We were surprised at how dramatic a change it made. It totally changed the look and feel of the fireplace. Suddenly, the color of the brick was not such a big issue.

    4. Upgrade your glass doors and screen

    Fireplaces are often dated by the brass surround on the glass door and screen. While brass was a popular finish 20 years ago, most newer homes have moved towards pewter, brushed nickel, antique bronze or black hardware.

    Fireplace update-brass doors painted

    Depending on your budget and the condition of your current fireplace doors, there are three main options:

    1. Paint your existing fireplace doors/screen black: With the right care and the right paint, it is surprising how nice painted doors can turn out.
    2. Purchase new fireplace doors/screen: Good quality fireplace doors not only enhance the overall appearance of your fireplace, but they also help prevent fires, improve the energy efficiency of your home, and reduce the fireplace smell when not in use.
    3. Upgrade to a fireplace insert: Installing a wood fireplace insert can significantly increase the energy efficiency of your fireplace, both when it is in use and when it is not. Inserts also reduce the risk of fires.

    5. Maybe your fireplace is lonely and needs company

    fireplace update-custom

    In many older houses and some newer ones, the fireplace was designed to be the focal point of the family room. Sitting all alone in the middle of a wall or in a corner, the design and materials were selected to dominate your attention.

    However, as styles change and home décor becomes more sophisticated, people are choosing to incorporate the fireplace into the room’s décor, rather than being the sole focal point. One way to do this is adding built-in book shelves or cabinets on each side of the fireplace, making the fireplace a feature of a fantastic room.

    Like the term implies, “built-ins” are custom designed and built to be a permanent part of the room, not a piece of furniture that can be moved. Built-ins should not only be carefully designed to fit the room, but should also complement the home décor and style, while meeting the storage and organization needs of the homeowners.


    6. Accessorize your fireplace décor

    Fireplaces are great spots to decorate. The following are some things to consider when decorating your fireplace:

    Your accessorizing should start with the basic fireplace essentials: fireplace tools, glass doors/screen, and a wood box.

    Next, consider some personal items, like pictures, candles and meaningful knick knacks

    fireplace decor-holiday

    If your flat screen television is not above the fireplace, you may want to display your favourite art work over the fire.

    Think seasonal. The décor of your fireplace can change with the seasons and include holiday themes like Christmas and Halloween.

    Think seasonal. The décor of your fireplace can change with the seasons and include holiday themes like Christmas and Halloween.


    7.  use lighting to emphasis your fireplace

    Accent lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. It can be used to draw attention to your fireplace while highlighting the texture of your brick or stone. Accent lighting is usually very soft lighting.

    Installing pot lights or track lighting on your ceiling, controlled by a dimmer switch and directed towards the fireplace, is the more common way to light up fireplaces. Installing hidden rope lights in the bottom of your mantel can be a subtle yet effective way to light up your fireplace hearth.


    Since does not have a specific “Fireplace Project Template,” I used the “Family Room Template.” Quinju’s amazing functionality for collecting, storing, organizing and archiving all my pictures, documents, videos, and links is the same no matter what the project is. So I adapted, using “wall coverings” for my brick refinishing; “flooring” for my hearth re-finishing; “custom millwork” for my built-in book shelves; “trim” for my mantel; and “décor” for my décor.


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