Does anyone have any ideas for sprucing up my fireplace?

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We purchased an old farmhouse and I would like to redo the fireplace. Right now it is painted with a small mantle that doesn't seem to fit it. I am trying to keep the old character of the home so nothing modern. Thanks for any suggestions!
 33 answers
  • Lisa Schneider Lisa Schneider on Aug 14, 2014

    Just my opinion but the mantle and wood sides look too narrow and stick out too far.I would build a new mantle and sides that are wider and thinner and use slate or tile around the fire box.

  • Hope Williams Hope Williams on Aug 15, 2014

    Make the mantle more substantial and a different, darker contrasting color! Too much wall, not enough focus on the actual fireplace!

  • Urban Acreage Urban Acreage on Aug 15, 2014

    If replacing the mantle is an option, I think a rustic floating shelf in a medium stain would look great against the white brick. But I suppose it depends if what type of look you are going for. Good luck! http://www.pinterest.com/pin/306244843381700416/

  • Sherry. JUNKIN Sherry. JUNKIN on Aug 15, 2014

    Possible extent the mantle across the wall then and shelves up the wall for a bookcase for books or whatever

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Aug 15, 2014

    You have great bones to work with here! (1) it is already painted so putting on a different color would be so much easier than painting raw brick (2) you have a defined hearth (does not go all the way across that wall and (3) you can put in any style that suits you. Google "fireplace mantels" and pick a style you like. I would put in a pretty deep mantle so I could decorate for holidays and put an electrical outlet up there too for lamps and holiday lights! I want to redo mine but just can't get into it now! Be sure and post photos!

  • Paula Crook Paula Crook on Aug 15, 2014

    Add some built in book shelves on each side. Change out your mantle to a rough chunky wood mantle going almost all the way across the top & forget the mantle sides (their too close in anyway), then set a basket of wood on the fireplace at the side. Once done accessorize with items of various heights on the mantle

  • Tris Smith Tris Smith on Aug 15, 2014

    Remove the wood and just add one substantial dark wood shelve/ mantle across the spanse of brick.

  • Amy Kaminski Amy Kaminski on Aug 15, 2014

    This is really similar to my fireplace. We have a large beam style mantle that goes to both edges. I think it looks nice but wish it was a little deeper to hold larger lanterns etc. You might want to keep that in mind.

  • Cindi Holifield Pippen Cindi Holifield Pippen on Aug 15, 2014

    Depending on your budget, I would add a faux paint job to the brick to give it some depth - something dark, but subtle, then, depending on your style, replace the mantle piece with a rough cedar type OR if you can locate one, an antique (but not ornate) mantle.

  • Debbie Perkins Debbie Perkins on Aug 15, 2014

    Beefy, beefy beefy! Take your picture, enlarge it.and make changes on mylar or sheet protectors. Just draw it out or take photos enlarge them and lay it over your photo for an idea. I have a 7'x8' brick fireplace with a 2 1/2" slab or rough pine as a mantle. (hubby's doing, not mine.) We are in the process of beefing it up. Crown molding, edge molding, etc. It will be12" to 18" tall when we finish. Go for it. You have enough room to really make a focal point.

  • Vivian Parrish Vivian Parrish on Aug 15, 2014

    I agree with Hope, I would paint the brick to blend in with the walls so the fireplace would stand out.

  • Phyllis Phyllis on Aug 15, 2014

    i would do all wood behind and around fireplace w/moldings(etc. frames) w/wood; paint it all white; put some sconces on each end of mantle and mirror in center above.

  • Carol Carol on Aug 15, 2014

    Replace the wreath with a colorful painting. If budget is a concern, paintings can be bought at yard sales or thrift stores, just mahe it big and bold. Whole thing is too white (or cream) with only the tiny bit of gold and the huge dark green/black wreath. The textured ceiling should also be scraped, sanded or replastered for a smooth texture.

  • Thej Thej on Aug 15, 2014

    Go to pinterest, select country mantels and feast your eyes on all your choices! Sell or give away that white greek classical mantel first and the world is open to whatever you like!

  • Shari Shari on Aug 15, 2014

    Yep, I agree the mantle and side pieces are out of proportion. It looks like an afterthought add-on. Also, the style of it is more traditional than farmhouse. Check this out: http://www.beneathmyheart.net/2012/10/fireplace-makeover-reveal/ I think doing something like this would be more in proportion but still in keeping with the farmhouse look and feel.

  • Marschal Marschal on Aug 15, 2014

    Wow thank you all for the awesome ideas!

  • ColoradoUtah ColoradoUtah on Aug 15, 2014

    Depending on how old your place is, you might want to explore what it originally looked like. I am a big fan of seeing what was there before prior to jumping into a redo. Often one will be very surprised.

  • Tegma Tegma on Aug 15, 2014

    I agree with you that the mantle is far too small for all that brick. I would just start over and build a similar mantle, but have it extend all the way across the brick.... not just the top ledge, but the whole thing. It is way out of proportion as is. I'd get online and find some mantles which complement the style of your house, and copy one. it is very simple to build your own. Then take this mantle, and if you have room in a dining room, bedroom, or wherever, put this one there with an electric insert. Voila! You'll then have two fireplaces, and lots of ambiance!

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Aug 15, 2014

    Built-in bookshelves, definitely. You can never have enough shelves or places to display china, earthenware and what not. Extend the mantle and change the wreath with the seasons. Good luck. Post pictures when done.

  • Irish53 Irish53 on Aug 15, 2014

    I agree with Tris. Sell mantle. It is totally wrong size. One long dark wood shelf. Easy to clean and easy to decorate for the holidays.

  • Katrina Wylie Katrina Wylie on Aug 15, 2014

    I know that Phyllis (comment above) meant well but I have never understood the tradition of putting a mirror over a fireplace mantel. All you see reflected is either plain ceiling or if you are lucky maybe you will get to see the ceiling fan or light fixture. Not my choice of focal points. Sorry...just my observation.

  • Patty Swanson Patty Swanson on Aug 15, 2014

    Bookshelves on the side and something bright on the mantel like art work then add candles or lanterns or mix it up.....color, color, color

  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Aug 15, 2014

    I think its the scale of things that are throwing you.... take down the wreath...then look at the size of the mantle, it seems to tiny for the huge amount of brick.. you can go bigger mantle of the same style, or just a hefty wood beam style.. side to side. I'd add a grouping of some hefty candlesticks, and another grouping of photos or a decor item balanceI'd get a smaller wreath. I have several for various seasons..a bit smaller. Maybe pair of rustic sconces on each side of where the wreath is, I can't tell if it is gas or wood, and your first winter there,,I'd wait just a bit if you want to paint it,, you may have damper and drafting issues,,that could dictate some of your choices....sometimes they are painted to cover things a bit for the sale..It can be hard to keep the white clean if thats the case..if you choose to paint,, I'd go with the wall color with 1/4 the amount of color added..

  • Hanson Karen Leverett Hanson Karen Leverett on Aug 15, 2014

    A mirror or large picture over the mantel. Bookshelves on the sides.

  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Aug 16, 2014

    I would take away the wreath completely,The beam idea sounds great, I wonder if it would look ok with the beam added to the top of the mantle that you have, which would raise it by 4-6 inches. then either candles, or antique oil lamps with globe, paint the bricks to match the walls with the mantle white. A milk can to one side of the fireplace on the hearth, and Something else farm related on the other side. I like the idea of a mirror in the center sort of where the wreath is, not as big, but maybe in a barnwood frame or something antique-ish looking even a mahogany colored frame... There are tons of possibilities, combinations, ideas and choices take your time let your own design likes and or dislikes be the final deciding factor... Theres always room to change it....

  • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Aug 16, 2014

    I think bulking up the mantle would help a lot. Buy a 2x6 or 2x8 and add it to the top for a thicker mantle. Extending the length of the mantle too. Then paint all of the mantle a medium to dark brown to add more of a contrast to your brick. To me the darker color would add weight and depth to the mantle.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Aug 16, 2014

    Most of the problem is the brick and mantle are painted white. In my opinion, it looks cold and uninviting. I would rectify this. The original brick colour would add colour and warmth and made a great backdrop for the mantle. Think it is the brick colour that is key, not the mantle colour. Agree with ColoradoUtah that it might be good to do a little research. Also agree that the mantle needs to be "bulked up" . Like Liliana Wells suggestion to add bookshelves on either side of the existing mantle. Maybe not as high or wide as the existing so you can more easily add the same top finishing without disturbing the mantle proper. Then the whole mantle could be painted. (Pretty expensive to replace the whole thing and stain.) I, too, would replace the wreath with a colourful piece of artwork and possible some decorative sconces on either side of it to balance out the height dif of the bookcase additions with the mantle proper.

  • Lori Galloway Lori Galloway on Aug 16, 2014

    I agree,,,the mantle is way too small and it is bland. I saw a show where they painted the brick and then once it was dry, took a scraper and distressed the brick by scraping off some of the paint and letting some of the brick show through..NOT huge spots but enough to make it look distressed. That would be a VERY cheap fix to give the brick some OOMPH ( LOL for lack of a better word) and either adding to the existing mantle or making another/buying another would be great...depending on your decor, the sky really is the limit for what you can do. I will try and find a tutorial about distressing the brick...it may be labor intensive but the outcome is gorgeous~! Since your brick is already painted white-ish, you wouldn't have to paint it...just do some scraping....making the mantle larger to fit the fireplace could be a cheap fix as well...book shelves, etc to extend it and again...some OOMPH in color with a painting over it or in the decor you may add to the mantle. Good Luck~!

  • 153091 153091 on Aug 19, 2014

    Is it just me or does anyone else notice the mantle is crooked? Perhaps it's the photo angle but the bricks along the top of mantle don't appear to look straight...high on left, lower on right.

  • Cheryl Cheryl on Aug 20, 2014

    I think the distressing idea sounds interesting. The color of the brick bothers me, next to the white trim. Wonder if you could do whitewash then distress it or antique it w a dark wash. I would get rid of the wreath and the mantle. One too big, one too small. Maybe a chunky wood slab made with reclaimed wood and chunky brackets to hold it up. Picturing a rustic wire basket w birch logs on the hearth, and a large mirror w rustic candle sconces on either side. Try looking on Pinterest for antique fireplaces. It is a great source of inspiration!

  • Marcia Buroker Marcia Buroker on Aug 24, 2014

    For an inexpensive redo that you could always, well, redo, I would paint the mantel a fun color like light blue or lavender and find some glass mosaic tiles and do just the small area inside. I've found that even a little mosaic can make a big impact.