Giving Your Fireplace a Facelift
Inspiration, Enthusiasm, Energy, Creativity
Who doesn’t love a warm fire on a damp New England night?
I’ve always loved my fireplace, but the stone was too rustic and yellow for my taste—and what I really wanted was to upgrade from wood burning to a gas insert. The insert would require purchasing the unit and lining the chimney, plumbing gas, and adding electrical. It wasn’t an inexpensive project for a girl on a budget, so I set myself a goal: I would buy one cord of firewood, save some money, and when I finished burning the wood I would make the upgrade.
Fast forward three years. With just enough wood left for this summer’s fire pit, I finally have my gas insert!
(Cue the confetti! No more heat loss! No more carrying dirty, buggy logs in the house and up a flight of stairs! No more dogs chewing logs on my white couch!)
Update Ideas for the Stone
- Paint it. But what if I hate it? I won’t be able to undo it.
- Frame it out and install shiplap. Love, love, love the look—but this contemporary isn’t a coastal cottage nor is it a farmhouse. Shelf this idea.
- Frame the surround, add cement board, install amazing large format tile. Terrific idea, but a) I don’t know how to frame (yet!) and b) I’m on a budget. Save this for a future project.
Paint the stone, of course! It’s easy, it’s economical, and if I hate it? There is always Plan C.
I started by watering down the leftover Benjamin Moore “Simply White” paint I used for my kitchen cabinets. Using a wide, soft brush, I washed the stone down with color. End result? Bright and clean, but—one dimensional. And while it was an improvement, it still wasn’t the end result I was looking for. Moving on!
Wavering on color selection, I turned to social media and started polling friends for fresh ideas and opinions. I was leaning towards a monochromatic color scheme since this is the center of an open living area, but I couldn’t quite commit yet.
I received lots of great ideas from my friends—including trying a metallic paint! (Special thank you to my high school chemistry partner.) I’m not much for “bling” on my person, but I do love texture and shine, so this idea moved right to the top of my list.
If you haven’t tried Ralph Lauren Metallic, you should go find something to paint. RL paints go on beautifully—silky, smooth, and the finish is amazingly soft to touch! Despite the local paint guy’s best efforts to dissuade me from this choice, I love it. (I will be bringing him a photo this week).
Halfway through applying the paint I admittedly got nervous thinking I may have jumped the shark, (the look on my daughter’s face didn’t help). It was dark out by now and difficult to judge but in the daylight the final product really is pretty! Bling-y, yes—but I like it. The soft platinum pairs really well with the Behr “Sterling” on the living room walls.
Other Ideas for Metallic Paint
- Dip the legs of a wooden table or stool about one-third of the way into the paint
- Update a boring, old mirror
- Repaint an out-of-style lamp base
- Add some glam to an antique dresser or nightstand
- Paint your tiny bathroom ceiling
- Stripe an accent wall (with the same color in a flat finish) for a monochromatic look
There are a million ways to add some shine without going over the top. And the best part? If you don’t like it, you can always repaint.