Can you give me suggestions for making over this fireplace (pic)?

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My fiance and I just bought a home and want to update the fireplace beyond a fresh coat of paint to the mantel, header, and pillars. The faux red brick trim panel and the hearth extension has to go, but what should we use to replace it? Tile, stone, slate, marble, metal, wood? The space on either side of the insert is less than an inch. Thoughts?

q suggestions to update a fireplace
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