Help! Slate Fireplace, what can I do to change the checker board look

Any ideas on how to change this 'checker board' fireplace to look better - less orangey, less checker boardish? Please note: the fireplace is two-sided.
Any ideas, thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated.
  59 answers
  • Thrift Diving Thrift Diving on Aug 10, 2013
    Hey Nancy! Yes, looks like that fireplace needs a change. I painted mine last year, and did a tutorial of it. Hope this helps!

  • Daniel Starrett Daniel Starrett on Aug 10, 2013
    Very first thing I would do is lower it closer to the floor

  • Sue Johnson Sue Johnson on Aug 10, 2013
    Daniel's idea to lower it is great and I certainly can see why you want to change it. Very nice house!

  • Lynn Lawson Lynn Lawson on Aug 10, 2013
    Your salmon colored wall is reflecting orange to the slate. Paint it a different color.

  • Diane McFarland Diane McFarland on Aug 10, 2013
    Use dark reclaimed wood to cover the fireplace stone that has warm tones. It will compliment the Orange paint.

  • Bonnjohn Bonnjohn on Aug 10, 2013
    I'd knock it down and start over. It doesn't match the walls OR the flooring...Start from scratch.

  • Lori J Lori J on Aug 10, 2013
    It is at an odd height, but perhaps such an extensive makeover is not in the budget. I would start with paint--doesn't cost much and you can always do something differently later.

  • Mary Middleton Mary Middleton on Aug 10, 2013
    I like the fireplace. Don't like the orange wall. I would put a tall vase with something high in it so you would not be looking at just the fireplace. Change the orange wall.

  • Monica C Monica C on Aug 10, 2013
    Take the fireplace wall out. Very odd place for it. It will open up your rooms and bring more natural light in.

  • Cindy Magee Cindy Magee on Aug 10, 2013
    It is such a weird placement for that by the front door. I would remove it completely. Plus, is that a half wall for the fireplace? The whole setup seems odd. Maybe I just can't tell from the pictures. If removing it isn't an option, I'd say paint it for an inexpensive fix or like the reclaimed wood idea from above. :) If you really want to keep it, then maybe cover the entire fireplace and the wall next to it up to the height of the fireplace wall with some glass tiles that are long and narrow and top it with some finish pieces of tile molding or capstone. Would be a high impact wall for the dinning area and unite the space.

  • Nora Q Nora Q on Aug 10, 2013
    repaint the wall, it is a modern design it will not go cozy country.

  • Ellie Poole Ellie Poole on Aug 10, 2013
    off white or egg shell.. walls.. neutralize the room..cooler lighter color that compliments the fireplace color..and yes it is too high..but can be very expensive to remove since furnace exhaust is probly venting through it.. you can retile or stucco smooth..or texture and or just paint it..

  • Carol Allen Carol Allen on Aug 10, 2013
    It only looks orangey next to the orange paint. Repaint that wall. Lower it to the first row for the fireplace and not so high. Put in a mantle, Smaller tiles make a huge statement. makes a great divider just does not have to be so tall

  • Shellie Shellie on Aug 10, 2013
    It looks as if there is a closet on the carpet side. You could turn that closet into a walk through arch and then paint the wall on the hard wood floor side a neutral color. That would open it up and give it some character while removing the orange coloring that is reflecting off onto the fireplace. Maybe putting a mantle on is a good idea as well like Carol Allen said. This way you could put somethings up there to take the eye away from the checkerboard affect. It is a beautiful fireplace though.

  • Doris Doris on Aug 10, 2013
    i would paint the orange wall in a contrasting color to match wood floor---paint the fireplace a medium brown, the wall a light tan

  • Mke136057 Mke136057 on Aug 10, 2013
    I like the picture with the orange wall removed, really neat

  • Jennifer Pospichal Jennifer Pospichal on Aug 10, 2013
    The fireplace might be at an atypical height, but there are advantages to that. The height makes it visible from more vantage points, and allows you to arrange furniture freely without worrying about blocking the heat or the view. I personally like the color of the wall. The fireplace's checkerboard effect is a bit overwhelming, though. If it were me, I'd remove the grout and pop out the lighter tiles (since the entry is tiled with darker tiles). I'd do my best to match the dark tiles already there. Id probably leave the lighter (bullnose?) edging row, which would coordinate with the lighter tile outlining the entry. Admittedly, painting would be easier, but then you'd have painted fireplace tile right next to natural flooring tile.

  • Carol King-ricca Carol King-ricca on Aug 10, 2013
    Paint the wall cream or grey. Cover the lower half under the fireplace box with dark wood horizontally. Then hang a large print on the wall with geometric designs using the same colors as the fireplace stone that is still showing.

  • Nancy Bowman Nancy Bowman on Aug 10, 2013
    Lightly sand the squares and paint with a brush the same light shade of grey on the walls maybe a textured paint even? ... then on the living room side brush on some oil based stain maybe in a darker grey..(it settles in the cracks only)...did it before on z-brick and wood textured paneling...came out sharp! and just leave the kitchen side the light grey or stain it too but maybe with a burnt orange like the accent wall.

  • Patricia Cleveland Patricia Cleveland on Aug 10, 2013
    @Nancy T: are the pictures the same wall from different sides? I'm just a little confused...(-:

  • Sondra A Sondra A on Aug 10, 2013
    Since you already have gray trim in the room you can paint the wall the same color. Otherwise, use one of the brown tones that are in one of the fireplace tiles. The orange wall does not do any justice to the fireplace wall. Once the wall is painted, stand back and take a look to see how you like it or if you want to do more. Personally, I like the fireplace just the way it is. To liven it up you can add a tablecloth, vase (or flowers) and/or wall decor that has similar colors with a touch of torquoise or other color.

  • Jessica C Jessica C on Aug 10, 2013
    Now that is one ugly fireplace! What were they thinking? Paint the whole thing white!

  • Patricia Cleveland Patricia Cleveland on Aug 10, 2013
    @Nancy T : I think the fireplace is beautiful and distinctive. It deserves to be the focal point of the room, with paint, etc. that supports it and brings out its beauty.(-;

  • Carol King-ricca Carol King-ricca on Aug 10, 2013
    Glad you like the idea. Post pics with what ever you do. Nice home you have there. Good luck.

  • Shelby24019 Shelby24019 on Aug 10, 2013
    Is this a free standing fireplace? I like the way you opened up the whole thing. The gray is a little depressing, a warm buff would have have made it a little more cozy..

  • Uke210836 Uke210836 on Aug 11, 2013
    What if you were to use a blend of dark grey, dark brown and black stain on the square light tiles to match the dark tiles and leave the narrow strip around fireplace metal the light. shade. That would frame the fire and take away the busy look of the checker and look good with the tiled floor. Hope this helps...:)

  • Deborah McDaniel Deborah McDaniel on Aug 11, 2013
    Paint the walls a beige-like sandstone the room needs some color since the floor is light. Paint the fireplace a glossy dark red. My Mother had dark red vases setting on a mantle with beige walls and it was dramatically beautiful.

  • Uke210836 Uke210836 on Aug 11, 2013
    If you took a pencil and coloured over the light squares right on the pictures this would show you the effect I invision .

  • Ilene D Ilene D on Aug 11, 2013
    To begin with I like the idea of the sandstone color that Deborah McDaniel indicated, or preferably paint the top half of the orange wall with the same color paint of the lightest shade from the brick on the top half of the wall. On that part of the wall, you may want to add a floating book shelf with several pictures. The frames should all be identical, although sizes can vary. They should be the color of the darkest shade of the brick. for the bottom of the wall, paint it the color of the darker shade of the brick. add wainscoting in a beige tone. Your fireplace is full of identifiable character. I would leave it alone. If you want to tone it down, you may add a lengthy cabinet in front. Perhaps you can get one from Ikea with pull out rattan drawers. On one side of the cabinet, you can add a ceramic vase or a several thin ones of varying heights. On the other side, you ,ay want to add a tall green shrub. You may also want to consider adding a rattan rug under the table to tie it in. Whatever advice you choose, good luck, and post "renovation" pictures, good luck.

  • Deb P Deb P on Aug 11, 2013
    Paint the fireplace!

  • Laura S. Laura S. on Aug 11, 2013
    I was thinking you could apply secondary black tiles over the lighter ones to give it a textured 2d effect and leave the lighter framing around the fireplace but a lot of them are odd sized because of the cut in of the fireplace. I like the idea of this as a way to break up such an open space without closing it off but the placement of the fireplace seems high.

  • Laura S. Laura S. on Aug 11, 2013
    The more I look at this fireplace the more I hate it for you. The fact that it is pretty much in the face of visitors when they walk in the door gives an unwelcoming impression. I think if I had this I'd take it out. Replace it with something that gradually steps up like open shelving for decorative pieces would still serve the purpose of breaking up the space but with a more welcoming feel

  • Kim K Kim K on Aug 11, 2013
    There's nothing wrong with the burnt orange wall color for something to make that area pop it's the fire place tiles that need help with that checkerboard look. Cover the tile with some of the new stone products they have out that's really a popular look anywhere inside and out.

  • Nancy T Nancy T on Aug 11, 2013
    Wow, I can't thank everyone enough for the great ideas you've all shared with me. Pulling it out is not an option right now because we just bought the house and my husband won't here of it but you've all given me how that I can alter it opt change it enough to make it more appealing. Thank you all so very much. :)

  • Linda S Linda S on Aug 11, 2013
    you can knock the tiles off and redo with stone. don't know what they were thinking but that is one loud statement piece. I just redid our fireplace, myself. Lowes has stone look pieces in the tile dept. I love mine. and it only took 5 weekends. I built in cabinets and covered a small white mantel built it out and stone up to 14 ft barn ceiling. That is a easy do it yourself project.

  • Jo ann bonner Jo ann bonner on Aug 11, 2013
    love the grey, paint the fireplace, replace carpet with hardwoods!

  • Phyllis Smith Phyllis Smith on Aug 11, 2013
    If you can't paint over the slate or replace it then change the color on the accent wall. it will help to tone down the look of the fireplace. go to a gold or a brown color.

  • Betty Betty on Aug 11, 2013
    wow when you look at that wall you don't even see the fireplace first you see the tile. what if you had a solid black cabinet under the fireplace, that might take away from the business of the fireplace. it is very contemporary and large, whatever you put on the wall beside it must be as big or bigger.

    • Nancy T Nancy T on Aug 16, 2013
      @Betty Love this idea. I have already begun looking for one

  • Kimberly Barney Kimberly Barney on Aug 11, 2013
    I think I would remove the tile or cover the tile with a faux natural stone tile that will give depth and a mix of natural colors. This would take care of the checkerboard affect. However, the fireplace is placed high and needs something to balance the bottom half. As it is so close to the entry, I would build wrapping shelves that would be seen from all sides of the fireplace.

  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Aug 11, 2013
    This space if out of BALANCE.,,,,,,,.I'd PAINT,,its easy and cheap. I'd paint the wall a neutral darker color picked from the tiles...they are the focal point, making it look like one long area....Add 2 area rugs, finding something with the color of the chairs and tiles. It may help you pick the wall color. It maty also help you pick any other accent colors you want to add. I'd make the artwork bigger and bolder, light needs to be bigger and lower also.The wood stain also seems a bit off/light for the fireplace tiles the area rugs would help this also. If you want to give more seperation to the wall I'd use a HUGE vase in a slightly metalic finish or your accent color, or a huge plant-tree...This space isn't really bad,,, just overwelmingas it is now... it will be wonderful with a few tricks..

  • LandlightS LandlightS on Aug 11, 2013
    I would suggest you face the fireplace wall with faux stacked stone (about 1/2 inch thick) which would create an entirely new wall, and then you could paint any color you wanted. The stone is available at HD or Lowes. Following is a link from Lowes; Good luck.....Gary|1#!

    • Nancy T Nancy T on Aug 12, 2013
      @LandlightS I think this will definitely be my long term plan. Thanks

  • Colleen Colleen on Aug 11, 2013
    I agree with Laura S. I hate it for you. Resurface the fireplace wall,repaint the orange ("it's in your face") to compliment what ever you resurface the fireplace.

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Aug 11, 2013
    @Nancy T since replacing the tile is not an option at this time, I agree with those that say to paint around the fireplace to coincide with the colours of the fireplace. I also think that @Betty has a great suggestion in adding a solid black piece below the fireplace. There are some great posts on here about refinishing found furniture - on the curb or at second-hand stores. I have done a few pieces myself from both locations with great results. I think the biggest challenge is to convince you hubby that it might be better suited to both of your tastes to refinish the stone - good luck with that it may take a few years so in the mean time make it work for you. Do update us with your progress and thanks for posting. ;)

  • Therese C Therese C on Aug 12, 2013
    @ Nancy T. worked up this idea for your color issue in your room. I don't think the fireplace is the is easier to make it work for you than to fight it. I hope my drawing makes sense. The colors I spoke of really work well together although they sound like they would clash. This is a much cheaper fix than tearing things out. Good luck dear and post whatever you decide to do! Pictures!!.. :)

    • See 5 previous
    • Therese C Therese C on Aug 16, 2013
      @Nancy T I wanted to add too, that when you hang pictures on the gray wall (or whatever color :)..) be sure to avoid square or rectangular pictures as they tend to mimic the shape of the tiles and it all starts again. Large and round or oval down plays the fireplace to a level that it blends rather than takes over.

  • June June on Aug 12, 2013
    I think Therese C's idea fits the bill. Lovely.

  • Roberta Eagleston Roberta Eagleston on Aug 12, 2013
    looks like two different room. Which one in your house, the orange? Definitely get rid of orange wall. Gray is the "new" color for decorating. Use stone to cover the checkerboard tiles

    • Nancy T Nancy T on Aug 12, 2013
      @Roberta Eagleston Yes, two rooms. The fireplace is visible from two rooms.

  • Cindy Litt Cindy Litt on Aug 12, 2013
    easier to change painted wall. The fireplace will pop with different color. U can download program to take pic of the room and change wall color so u can see what it would look like finished.

  • Nancy T Nancy T on Aug 12, 2013
    Thanks everyone. So many amazing ideas. I will post follow-up pictures after I move in.

  • N. Susan Hart N. Susan Hart on Aug 12, 2013
    I might paint the black tiles more the color of the others or just a softer color. You could also use gel stain.

  • Therese C Therese C on Aug 12, 2013
    @Patricia Cleveland No I do not do interior design. I am a freelance artist and love to find beauty in things found ugly by most people. The fireplace can be a very beautiful/elegant addition to the space if the surrounding colors are set right. Thank you...:)

  • Cindy Litt Cindy Litt on Aug 13, 2013
    i also painted out the old brick around an old wood stove. We used high heat paint. I know that industrial or commercial paint stores carry the paint. We had silver, and black. Must be more colours by now. Good luck

  • Wanda sinnema Wanda sinnema on Aug 13, 2013
    @ Gail ,,I think the colors that Therese C showed are great to help balance the colors,,,,, You might consider something of a golden to the living room side.... I puazzles me as to why the finished the floor tiles where they did ? I would have finished them to the edge of the fireplce tiles..just sayin''.

    • Therese C Therese C on Aug 13, 2013
      @Wanda sinnema I have seen fireplace tiles stop at a weird spot on the floor like this before and the explanation to me was this: " It is a fine place to set the tools or wood holder." ??...really?? Would it not make more sense to take it all the way across the base as a hearth?

  • Phil Miller Phil Miller on Aug 13, 2013
    Beats me, why the fire place is so high on the wall. I like to back up to mine and warm my legs and behind. If it was a fake fire place, I would remove it and put a TV in it's place. Paint like Therese C. said. I also like the light grey pastell of the 1st picture. It does away with the wall and adds a window.

  • Flennike Flennike on Aug 15, 2013
    I agree with the idea of staining the slate, along with changing the wall color. Maybe using the type of stain they have for concrete would work best.

    • Lori J Lori J on Aug 15, 2013
      @Flennike Maybe you could find a tile or two of slate and experiment before tackling the fireplace surround with any product.

  • Flennike Flennike on Aug 16, 2013
    great idea! that way no surprises on the real thing :)

  • Sondra A Sondra A on Aug 16, 2013
    Besides painting the orange wall, I would be tempted to put in a larger chandelier/lighting fixture. This one is so small and boxy. It looks like it goes well with the dining table and chairs but a larger one would bring the room together better. Also, a long dark bench or table along the fireplace may add a lot as well.

    • See 4 previous
    • Sondra A Sondra A on Aug 17, 2013
      Oh yes! I really like those! That light will be much nicer and, as you said, hanging it lower will tie the room together better. The shelf looks like just the right color to go with your fireplace tiles and I agree, the blue door would be a better choice. Would love to see finished (or in progress) pictures.

  • Patricia Cleveland Patricia Cleveland on Aug 16, 2013
    @Sondra A: I couldn't agree more!

  • Charlotte Kent Charlotte Kent on Aug 17, 2013
    Sorry, but I love the fireplace just as it is! And just paint the orange wall something more neutral.