How about a white wash on the brick. That will lighten the brick then the wood above will pop.
I would paint it all white to make it seem like 1 massive focal point instead of several elements.
First off, it is quite pretty already, so you could just leave it and add some decorations along with hanging a bright picture or a nice mirror in the large area to the left of the shelves and see how you like it for a while before doing any major changes. But maybe you have already lived with it a while and want something different? (Not sure if you are redecorating or if you just moved in or what.)
I am normally not a fan of painting nice wood, but since all the other wood in the area seems to be painted a nice, bright white color, painting the wood above the fireplace would tie it in better with the surrounding area and would lighten it up. I would not paint the mantle or the shelves themselves. Those bits of wood make nice accents.
I am not at all sure I would paint the brick - it's so hard to undo and is such a pain to do well. But I think I would cut some luaun to back the recessed shelves and paint it the same white as the rest of the wood in the room. I would definitely paint the wood and see how I liked it before tackling the brick if you do choose to paint or white wash the brick.
Adding something that reflects light or that has lights (like maybe fairy lights in branches or a tall vase or something) to the dark corner where they fireplace meets the wall would brighten up the space, too.
A few really attractive things with a bit of shine or sparkle or something (like colored glass or family photos or whatever) on the shelves would be pretty as long as it isn't crowded. Of course, nice looking books would be pretty there, too.
The fireplace screen seems quite attractive. You could, if you wanted, either paint a few of the birds? leaves? little shapes of some sort in a metallic paint to accent them or you could spray paint the whole thing to be a lighter color.
You have a lovely fireplace corner with beautiful beams and really attractive walls, so I think you could do about anything and have it be lovely as long as it doesn't get crowded with knick-knacks.
Your fireplace is beautiful but there's too much going on above the mantle. Only my opinion, but I would remove the shelves, paneling, paint all white. Install a more substantial mantle. Paint fireplace white. Hang large mirror with antique frame. Accessorize with tall candles and greenery.
Shelia, I would not paint the bricks. As others have said it is difficult to remove paint from bricks. I've never painted brick nor have I tried to remove paint from bricks but imagine those statements to be very accurate. I personally feel the painted/white washed fireplace trend will soon be a thing of the past and the new home owner will be stuck with it.
Although the wood panels are lovely, they do seem a bit overpowering the cornery of the room. Is there a cabinet behind the panels? More brick? If you don't know what is behind the panels you would be better off leaving it there and painting the wood or covering it with an attractive mirror. Realtors want everything bland, a "blank canvass". Too bland in my opinion.
I would remove wood from the
top area and white wash the brick. Install a more formal mantle that matches the rest of the moulding, add a mirror over the fireplace and you will have an amazing focal point.
Definitely remove those shelves right above the fireplace, it makes it too busy. Instead install a pretty mirror in that opening to give a focal point and some depth. I think there is too much wood but there may be a reason for that enclosure.
Thank you all for your suggestions. I have to do this as inexpensive as I can so I will prob paint the wood white and try to find a mirror to cover the shelves.
If you're selling, I wouldn't suggest painting the wood, the new owner can make that decision especially since you have wood beams too. I would just remove the shelves and put something that lights up in that area. Here are some tips on selling a house:
Go to open houses in your neighborhood and check out the competition.
Great curb appeal (bright flowers and grass cut and trimmed, shrubs trimmed, garden weeded) is very important. Power-wash the outside of the house, including trim, sidewalks and driveway and clean the windows. Clean and put out awnings and patio furniture to call attention to the outdoor spaces. If it looks bad from the outside, a lot of people won't waste their time walking inside, that makes everyone think the home was not taken care of and underlying issues could be present. Make sure your front door looks welcoming, maybe a fresh coat of paint, if it's a painted one. A new welcome mat is nice. Garages should be organized to show off the size available. An entryway offers the first impression of the homes interior and sets the mood for the rest of the home. Keep this clean, clutter free and welcoming. No shoes, coats and other debris should be seen. Put a basket in the closet to collect shoes and miscellaneous articles.
If the walls are dark, paint them a light color (it makes the rooms look bigger and brighter), especially walls that take a lot of abuse from children, pets and furniture. Other than some paint (neutral colors) to refresh the walls, it really isn't necessary to do a lot of updates as the new owners may have different tastes and could possibly change it anyhow. Only fix what needs to be fixed (you don't want it to look like you didn't take care of the home). Wires on the wall and floor are an eyesore, detangle and use a cord organizer to line them up neatly behind furniture.
Remove all personal things (pictures, stuff hanging on the refrigerator, knick knacks, etc). Also remove any furniture and stuff in closets and kitchen cabinets not needed and any other kind of clutter (put it storage if you want to keep it other wise donate or trash it). To many sofas, chairs tables and decorative items can make a room cluttered and feel closed in. Under the bed storage is good, but seeing the containers can make your bedrooms look cluttered and it looks like there aren't enough closets. Counters should be cleared of everything and run your dishwasher each night before you go to bed. Remember to empty it in the morning. Organize everything left into an orderly fashion and hang items evenly. Having piles neatly stacked up doesn’t mean it’s organized. Glass front cabinets or open shelves look messy if everything is stacked up randomly. If you have open shelves or floating shelves in your kitchen, keep them dust and grease free. Get a nice laundry hamper with a lid so people don’t see your dirty clothes. Scrub walls. Clean appliances and organize refrigerator. Throw away any unindentifiable objects in the refrigerator and freezer.
Make sure air filters are clean. Check ceilings for cobwebs. Stage your bedrooms to be warm and relaxing with a nice bedspread, and a few matching pillows. Laundry areas should be kept clean and orderly. For people that have children, your entire home can be a toy box, try to limit the toys and keep them neatly in one place on each floor of your home.
Keep everything clean so you're not running around before a showing. Making sure windows and mirrors are clean, beds are made when you get up, everything is dusted and flooring is vacuumed. Check bulbs in lighting fixtures and replace any that have burned out.
Before a showing, open all window coverings and let the sunshine in. Turn on all lights even on a bright sunny day, the more light, the better. If you are home during a showing, turn off the tv and computer and go outside so the buyer can explore your home comfortably. Be careful burning candles, the smell of a strong scented candle could trigger an allergy or asthma attack or appear to be covering something up. Flowers could also trigger allergies or asthma. A few potted plants could catch the eye and accent certain points in your home. Maybe add little white lights to a tree to show off the crown molding or other feature. The smell of clean or some freshly baked goods is much more enticing. And if necessary, spray an air neutralizer.
Keep pets clean and groomed to cut down on smells and messes. When your home is being shown, remove all animals and put away their paraphernalia if at all possible. Good luck.
I really think it is already very pretty! It just need to be spruced up. I would slightly white wash your brick and paint panels white or off white color. Decorate with seasonal accents