Seeing a photo of the whole room would make it easier to get ideas. Without knowing what the rest of the room looks like it's hard to give suggestions. My first thought would be to look for some decorative vent covers and enlarge the mantel though.
Thank you for letting me know that Becky. Here is the whole end of the living room its not very big. to the left is a 5 pane picture window and to the right is a wall. Is this better?
Not sure what you are looking to do but I know someone who painted her brick fireplace and it came out really great. She shares a tutorial here:http://www.thegirlcreative.com/2011/03/painting-bricks-is-easy.html
I think this is screaming out to be painted white! That would be pretty with the blue walls.
I agree about painting white. With white vent covers, it would kind of camouflage those. If you are not partial to your fish tank, there are some great ideas for candles in the fireplace (even if they are never lit because I see a little one) or I saw a white mantle with black fire pit and a decorate white piece set inside. I would think you could also use the inset above the mantle like a frame. Paint fireplace white and the back of the inset as an accent color. Place decorative pieces on the mantle and coordinate on the sides and sitting below (if little fingers won't touch).
Though the photo helps with placement it doesn't help with seeing your style of decor. I do see little ones things which can take over when they are young. It wasn't that long ago our grandson was young so I remember those days quite well.
What type of furniture do you have? What would call your decorating style?
As for painted brick, I'm a naturalist so I almost always shy away from painting. It's not an easy task either so you have to make sure you're up for it before you start. Is your brick smooth, have a sheen or is it rough and dull?
I agree with painting it white. Maybe add a mirror in the top opening too. It will give the impression of a larger room ;)
Painting this is an option. However if you are using this fireplace you need to get a chimney sweep in to determine why you have so much soot spillage in the front. This can be over sized opening in the front, Poorly designed smoke shelf, missing damper or chimney that is not high enough, Regardless of the issue if you do not correct this and you do paint the front white, it will soot up quite quickly as the white will hot hide the soot very well.
I agree that painting this white would make a huge difference!
I have many rentals as well as many houses I have lived in with ugly fireplaces. I have tried the white but highly recomend black paint. Even when properly venting black soot is inevitable. The black with black grills stands up to the test of time. I have also stuccoed over brick for a more modern look, but time consuming.
I think white painted brick will look dated in a few years. If you have to paint it, do several layers of variegated light colors so it doesn't look too flat. Some different sconces and a more interesting mantel might help, too.
The fireplace is lovely. If it were mine, I would paint it with white paint and then the concrete accents in the alcove and hearth I would paint a medium greyl Good luck!
I don't understand why you have 4 vents in your fireplace...It is most bizarre...I would replace the vent covers w/ some kind of Baroque or Victorian style black vent covers that way they pop. Then I would suggest a medium gray like Antique Pewter by Benjamin Moore or a little bit darker Peppercorn by Sherwin Williams. The trim on the shelf painted white. That's it.
@Sally For the vent covers I suggested Baroque or Victorian for the visual interest of the styles, plus they aren't something you would typically find in a house. Conversation pieces for anyone visiting.
I would paint the fireplace white. The cubby whole at the top I would paint the background the same color as the walls. A nice mantle clock to fill that space would make the cubby hole appear the clock was meant for it. The two top vents I would hang matching mirrors over them. The bottom ones I would leave them exposed. I would place in front of them some tall baskets. Not identical but similar in size.
@Fran McCarty Or a large round decorative clock. That will make this an impact wall with balance. The style of the clock could be any style that fits your taste.
Hi! I think I have to agree with everyone about painting the brick white. Paint the vents white as well and that will camouflage them. I would add a big chunky mantel above the horizontal brick row and below the alcove. You can do two things with the alcove- either make it a focal point with a contrast paint color or cover it up with some beadboard or shipload to the ceiling. Good luck!
Very curious what you did! I was going to suggest white washing the brick. We have the same color brick and that's what I plan to do.