Need help! Ideas on what to do with this 35 year old fireplace?

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Its the fireplace itself that I would like to change without a lot of cost. We have had the insert for a good many years, it still works, but we are on a burn day/ no burn day which leaves us unable to use it much. So I could without it (yes or no). I still want to keep the mirrors with wood trim and blue paint on each side. The mirrors open the room up and reflects light from the window. Molding and trim are all done in wood don't want to change any of that. There is still wallpaper over the fireplace from years ago, it could go? That is what I use to brings all the colors in the room from. Don't really use a TV in here, so no TV over fireplace. Its what to do with the fireplace and above it that has me stumped. Its also a vaulted sealing.
q fireplace mantel update improvement ideas, fireplaces mantels, This shows the fireplace with the insert Which is not necessary to keep
This shows the fireplace with the insert. Which is not necessary to keep.
q fireplace mantel update improvement ideas, fireplaces mantels, shows the whole look with mirrors and wood trim Also the colors of the walls are blue with a tan a valance of multi colors that match the old wallpaper
shows the whole look with mirrors and wood trim. Also the colors of the walls are blue with a tan, a valance of multi colors that match the old wallpaper.
q fireplace mantel update improvement ideas, fireplaces mantels
  20 answers
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Oct 12, 2014
    The fireplace is a feature and the paper is too pale to make the fireplace pop. Might paint the wall in the same blue or darker tone as the other walls. I'd remove the wreath above the pic., move the brown candle sticks in from the end. I'd also edit some of the things you have on the mantle. Think the tea pot would look better on the mantle. Think one of the brown candle sticks would look good on the other end for balance. I'd probably put the round clock with the 2 shorter candlesticks, and the larger clock? and teapot with the single candlestick on the left. See absolutely nothing wrong with the fireplace itself.

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    • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Oct 13, 2014
      @Jackie D Really like your picture - subject, colours, and frame. The wood frame is great as picks up the wood from the mantle. Think a matting in the same/similar silvery/grey that's on the fireplace or rug would look terrific. If you take the pic apart, you could paint the matting - less expensive than getting a new one!

  • Adrianne C Adrianne C on Oct 13, 2014
    Love the insert! Agree to change the paper.

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Oct 13, 2014
      @Adrianne C Thank you, my husband didn't want to get rid of the insert and as most of you said the fireplace looks good, I shall remove the wallpaper for sure.

  • I also like the blue walls! Replace the wallpaper with the same blue paint, maybe you could paint the mantle shelf white to really contrast with the blue walls, but the actual fireplace is nice. You could replace the picture with something that has a white surround as the blue isn't the same (if you do change it!) Good luck!

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    • Jackie D Jackie D on Mar 02, 2015
      @Hayley@ TheDesertNestDubai, No, I got it on line went under removable wall paper or decals. This way if I get tired of it I can take it down. Thank you, still thinking and making changes.

  • Dayle Dayle on Oct 13, 2014
    I'd take out the insert. You'll feel like the room is larger just from that. Also, I'd take off the wallpaper, and paint all the wood ~ and nearby walls ~ to match the brick....and place plants/flowers in the open hearth off-season.....

  • Jackie D Jackie D on Oct 13, 2014
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas. All of you gave me great thoughts, of what to do. I shall get rid of wall paper for sure and most likely paint that area blue. Most of you like the fireplace as is and so far keep the insert... ? The items on the mantle are always changing where the go or if they stay. They get re-araranged a lot.. Thanks for the ideas I shall use them. Just looking for input!

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    • Jackie D Jackie D on Oct 14, 2014
      @Hayley@ TheDesertNestDubai Thank you, about 1 yr. ago, its like the owls all came back from years ago. I bought a bunch painted and decorated with bling! Gave most away as gifts. Did sell a few and saved a few for me. I'm glad you noticed.

  • Rhonda Davis Rhonda Davis on Oct 13, 2014
    I would paint the fireplace wall a darker blue (almost navy? or like the teapot?) to contrast with the other blue and bring your eyes up from the fireplace insert. Right now, it dominates the whole wall and, perhaps, the whole room. Paint the mantle the same dark blue as the wall to continue the up, up, and away. Remove all the stuff from the mantle. I think the picture may look alright once the background wall is painted darker and it may just pop it out of the drab background it holds now. Remove the wreath piece. If you replace it with any other dried flowers, please consider a massive piece if same shape that goes across mantle width. If you don't like the picture, consider a very large wreath of all-seasons dried grasses that include some blue-greys, red berries or bird feathers (Peacock?) that will seem too much until you hang it. Bold, bright and even a metallic accent piece or two. You need weight and height to bring your eyes away from the insert. If I kept it, I would want it to anchor the room, not overwhelm it. Best of luck.

  • Marie Stallone Marie Stallone on Oct 16, 2014
    Have you thought about tile? The Dresden blue tiles would look great with that fireplace!

  • Jackie D Jackie D on Oct 17, 2014
    Marie Stailone, I was trying to stay away from tile, I don't want to get into major work! You would have to tear out the tile to re-tile yes / no ? Thats probably the best way but thats also expensive, Thanks Jackie.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Oct 17, 2014
    Fireplace and insert are nice. These are a focal point. Too expensive to retile, too much blue, and what if you decide to paint walls another colour down the road.

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    • Jackie D Jackie D on Feb 14, 2015
      @Marion Nesbitt Now Feb, and he room is done. Please take a look at what we did in just a couple of weeks. Put in your comments in, be nice but say what you think or I don.t really know.

  • Rosa cassidy Rosa cassidy on Jan 18, 2015
    i love the fire place , i would paint the wall paper a real pretty red , then paint the mantle a real pretty red . then i would some pretty flowers on the mantle ,i would the owl on there , i like owle's, i got them , would not take any thing for them , because i have have them for a long time

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Jan 21, 2015
      @Rosa cassidy Thank you Rosa, most people love the fireplace and not the wall paper. I have finally decided or have a start on what to do after reading all about peoples comments. I have taken down the wallpaper (went blue) I don't think red would go with the already blue walls on each side of the fireplace. So now all the walls are blue & tan. Were going to sell the insert, taking it out this weekend. I am also a lover of owls, we shall see what happens. In a couple of weeks I shall have it done watch to see what I have !

  • Diena Cameron Diena Cameron on Jan 21, 2015
    Hi Jackie, well get ready for my answer, you may not like it. :D I think the insert really dates your fireplace and inturn, the room. Also if those are artificial flowers, i would get rid of those also, they really date the room. I would remove wallpaper and paint the wall, fireplace mantal and fireplace a nice soft white. That will really brighten that room and freshen and update it. I am not a fan of those types of pictures (it's very hard to tell if it's a true painting ) it looks like ones are are for sale at Kmart or Walmart (sorry, i warned you ( : ) A mirror above the fireplace is what you need. You can find a mirror at Walmart, Kmart, Kohls, Homegoods, Homedepot, Lowes, flea markets, garage sales. Paint the frame a pretty warm grey. Replace candles with white ones. Right now there is way to much wood or wood tones in that room and it looks blah and tired, you could even paint those wood stripes on the right and left of fireplace ( don't know if they go all the way to the ceiling or not. Leave the tall slender clock in the middle of mantal and your candle sticks to right or left and some fresh flowers on the other side. There you have my fix. I know it sounds a little daunting but it will be so worth it. Hope you are not to affended, it certainly wasn't meant to be an insult. I'm sure you have a lovely home. Have a wonderful day, be sure and post pics as you go, would love to see what you do.

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Jan 22, 2015
      @Diena Cameron, Your right I asked for it, I am not offended for I have gotten many good and bad ideas. I must say your is the most outstanding and quite hallarious ! Its been quite awhile I posted this and thought hard and still trying to make up my mind. Doing baby steps... The insert is going, the wallpaper is down. I have painted the wall but a little lighter blue than the other walls. If you noticed there are wall to ceiling mirror's on each side of the fireplace with the darker wood through out the whole room.We also have a window seat which is all real wood, natural dark wood that I feel gives one a warm and cozy feeling. Whats funny is we have all white trim and doors through out the rest of the house. This is the only room with real wood and we love it, it stays. This would be a good reason for not putting a mirror over the mantel... with full length mirrors on both sides I think one over the mantel would be over kill. No offense taken, really ! Each to his own likes but the picture is real, framed and matted with quality. May or may not be able to use but I hope so! May have to change the border to white. What cracked me up the most was your comment about the picture looking like it came from Kmart or Walmart but yet you suggest I go get a mirror at Kmart, Walmart or a flea market. I also plan to do something with the candle holders and painting them white is a good idea. We have a couple of ideas in our heads that we are going to start with soon. Thanks for your suggestions, may use them or not. I shall post pictures when we have finished. Diena watch for it. I would love your feedback. Have a wonderful day.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 22, 2015
    Have to disagree with white fireplace idea. Too cold and contemporary to be cozy in my opinion.

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Jan 22, 2015
      @Marion Nesbitt I know its been a while from my first post, it takes time to decide what to do. Your right the white is too cold, I just like the warmth from all the brown wood look. There is a lot of wood work in that room and to paint some of it and the fireplace white just does not seem right. I could be wrong, until done I won't be sure if what I have chosen to do will be a for sure or not ! Now that the holidays are over we are going to get busy.... Will post when done or if I have questions during. Thanks

  • Diena Cameron Diena Cameron on Jan 22, 2015
    Hi Jackie, I am so glad that you're not affended. My sisters and I have always done alot of decorating in our lives and we are all very creative, albeit some more than others, lol. That means thet are all very creative and I am just a little creative :D The reason I said that about the mirror is because I thought you were on a tight budget, so I didn't want to suggest going out to Pottery Barn or Arhaus or Ballards. They do make some very nice mirrors for not alot of money ( Kmart, Kohls, Homegoods, Homedepot, Lowes or Walmart.) . Maybe take the mirrors and wood trim down !, no, just kidding. I really can't wait to see what you do. Have fun on your project and I am looking forward to seeing it all done and pretty. Take care, Diena

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Jan 22, 2015
      @Diena Cameron Thanks Diena, I just hope it turns out because I'm just winging it at the moment. When I said tight budget, I meant that I didn't want to tear out the brick and do a new fireplace just wanted to know simple ways... I will post !

  • Diena Cameron Diena Cameron on Jan 22, 2015
    O.k., I got ya Jackie. You know, no matter what anyone says, do what you're gut tells you. You're the one that matters and so if you love it that's all that counts. Do you like the fireplace now that you have taken the insert out ? You can always refresh the paint inside by using bbq or fireplace paint that is made for high temps. and if you don't really use the fireplace you can always stack candles in there. They give off a beautiful glow without the heat.

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    • Jackie D Jackie D on Jan 24, 2015
      @Diena Cameron Just a quick look, the wall above the fireplace no wall paper now painted. The picture you don't like.. hum, hum! Changed the matting to white as to give it more of a pop on the blue wall. You can notice in the fallowing pictures. I think I'm still going to do more to the painted wall yet. ???

  • Diena Cameron Diena Cameron on Jan 26, 2015
    Hi Jackie, wow, you have been busy ! I like the paint above the fireplace "and" the matting around the picture. It really does empathize the painting now and not the matting itself. I take it back (please forgive ). I knew once i hit send, i would regret it :D I can't wait to see the fireplace once it is all done, I don't think I have ever seen a insert that has changing lights like that. Don't work too hard. Oh, glad the flowers and wreath arn't coming back in, can't help it :D Maybe you don't have a green thumb, i personally don't ) : I try but nothing ever seems to grow to long for me, except i have one beautiful fern (maiden hair ) that I have managed to keep alive for about 20 years now. Take care. Anticipating your big reveal, Diena

  • Jackie D Jackie D on Jan 26, 2015
    Diena, you don't need to be forgiven for anything,I was not offended by your comments or any of your suggestions, I enjoyed your ideas and it is always a help to get others insight. Last night I worked on the wall some, not done yet but I can see its working out so far but the final project with the fireplace and all the work with it who knows ? I hope I have not offended you in anyway ! Its all good, if you have an idea or statement always let it be know.... hit send !

  • Jackie D Jackie D on Feb 09, 2015
    Have finished the re-do of the fireplace and wall above,but for now I shall post only the mantel and thats because I need some ideas on how to decorate the mantel. After that I shall post the final pictures of the whole re-do. Now I have birdhouses through out and sad to say a collection of owl's in bright colors. I do like color !

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Feb 15, 2015
    Really liked the original insert, but I really like the new one, too. It is less imposing, streamlined and pretty cool. Just me - get the idea, but probably would have kept the lower brick rather the wood replacement in front of the insert. (Maybe just eyesight, but pic looks like it's hung higher than originally?. If so, i'd lower it to original height so more of the artistry on the wall shows.) I like those candesticks and glass clocks you had on the mantel before. I'd play around splitting up the candle sticks (dark) and glass clocks to get a balance on each end of your mantle. (Eyes aren't so great so couldn't tell your other ornaments were owls!) Since they are small, you could cluster a few on each end with each candlestick(s)/clock display for pops of colour. There is now space on the bottom beside the insert. Maybe you could put one of your birdhouses here. Would go easy as can get cluttered looking. You posted a pic of a lamp - it's great with the blue and light tan, and looks like it cost big $! At any rate, all the work is done. Time for real fun - playing around with accessories!

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Feb 27, 2015
      @Marion Nesbitt Thank you for all your comments, suggestions and help.The original insert was a great thing to have once but it took up a lot of room and was getting to be way to much work for us as we have gotten older. So we did sell it to someone who could use it for they had no heat in there house. That paid for more than we spent for the redo. The other is so nice and I turn it on every morning and just enjoy it.... no work to it ! So beautiful, relaxing and calming. Your right the picture was to high on the wall. Took care of that problem, check out what I have done.... You are so right, now the real fun begins " the accessories" ! I have moved more stuff around and I'm still at it. Every other day I change it around again and just sit and look, think, then move around again. I'm trying not to clutter and use things that will not take away from my (new) picture. The owls have a lot of color so I'm thinking maybe on the hearth where the little people are for color down there ??? I placed flowers in the birdcage and a blue bird next to that for now. Not in the picture you will see, but then again don't want to over clutter the hearth either. I'm sorry you didn't care for the new hearth look, we did make it so if we get tired of it we can remove it. Its not wood ! Its tile, yes its distressed wood look but in tile. Just make your eyes look harder at the detail around the tile on the hearth, that is what makes the hearth stand out ! Such detail.We fell in love with the look and may do one of our floors in another room in it. Also we made the hearth about a foot larger so I could place accessories on it and the original brick was so stained and blackened we felt better covering it up. We are always thinking ahead so that is why it is removable if needed. I could go on for ever. I still need to do something with the candle sticks !! The new and important item is my new picture. This was handed down to me last week from my mom for she knows how much I have loved and wanted this painting sense I was a child. Its an original Keane painting from the early 60's. Its the one with the big eyes !!! Called " Alone." I just love this picture ! This changes things and how I'm still messing around with what to use and not use. Thanks again for your input its nice to have other suggestions.

  • Cheryl Richards Cheryl Richards on Mar 01, 2015
    I love the wood glad you kept it, I also loved the old fireplace but not necessarily the gold trim. I can understand wanting something less messy and more usable. The new one does look more stream lined and opens up the room. I'm glad you removed the wall paper it really dated the room. I would have thought the blue paint went better with the other picture to me this picture and your fireplace are in more earthy tones and probably gone with those for the wall. But over all most certainly a big improvement for your living room! Great work.

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Mar 01, 2015
      @Cheryl Richards Thanks for your input. I always like to hear others opinion so I can re-evaluate things. I do agree the other picture did look somewhat better for the wall was planed around it. But when I was given this original Keane painting. I new it was meant for that wall. It is old and the frame is outdated this is what makes the difference between the two. Another step in my process is to reframe it, to hopefully fit the look of the wall. It may not look it but the steps going up are in blue shades, there really is a lot of blue and darks but not earthly tones, only in the framing. I'm thinking the new frame will help. Thanks again this is the feed back I need to help me decide.

  • Kathleen Kathleen on Mar 01, 2015
    Diena Cameron, if I send you a picture will you help me with a redo. Maybe you should set yourself up As a consultant.

    • Jackie D Jackie D on Mar 02, 2015
      @Kathleen, I'm Jackie, this is my redo on the fireplace if your trying to reach Diena who already considers herself as a good decorator with a lot of experience. Would be more than happy to help you. If you just go to my comments dated Jan 22nd, you can reply to her " Diena Cameron" personally.