Outdated brick fireplace

Jan Vlassos
by Jan Vlassos
We have an older home with a beautiful brick fireplace. We have recently added shelving and cabinets on each side, but aren't quite sure what to do with the actual fire place. It's so dark it just sucks up any light in the room. Any helpful ideas are appreciated!!
  17 answers
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Jun 22, 2014
    the easiest thing to do would be to put a fireplace screen in front of it.
  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on Jun 22, 2014
    Paint the brick. My fireplace was not as dark as yours but dated also. I painted the bricks white. Much nicer. You can choose another neutral but try painting a cardboard first to see if u like it.
  • Darla Darla on Jun 24, 2014
    If you paint the brick, you will never get it off in case you change your mind. If you want more light there, you could mount a large mirror or light-colored painting over the fireplace. You could even frame a painted or wallpapered panel with molding and hang it there.
  • Jen Teach Jen Teach on Jun 24, 2014
    cover with drywall and cover that with textured wall paper if you don't want to paint the brick
  • Kim Smith Kim Smith on Aug 13, 2014
    Yours looks almost exactly like mine did. I painted it and have never regretted it. It brightened the whole room so much. Even had the bookcases on each side. Did mine a pale charcoal grey and with the white trim work, it looked awesome. Did it about 3 years ago, not one problem....Looking back at old pictures, I don't know why I waited so long!
  • Cat King Cat King on Aug 18, 2014
    cheapest and easiest paint .. Or cover it with heat resistant cement board and tile or use updated stone .. but must important paint the fireplace insert black.. the copper makes it very dated
  • Barbara Kennedy Barbara Kennedy on Aug 18, 2014
    I white washed mine and it instantly and completely transformed our room :)
  • Diane Arnold Diane Arnold on Aug 19, 2014
    Too bad of the placement of the built in brick shelves. I wish that highest one was down lower with the other low one for balance. Draws the eye to nowhere. I usually don't paint bricks, but with yours I think it might be a good option. I think I might use a different color than the shelves, too much white. It might be nice to make a stairstep mantle from the top shelf to the wall, over and down, across to the next shelf, across and down to the last shelf and to the wall. This shelf would be painted the same as the bookcases to tie it all together. A new fireplace screen and possibly tile the hearth. New black tools also. Total new modern look. Have fun.
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Aug 19, 2014
    I would create a mantle above the fireplace and paint it and the brick about it white, It will brighten the room and still have that cozy fire place feeling.
  • Mary Mary on Dec 31, 2014
    After Oklahoma's largest earthquake ever (we sat ON the epicenter!), an entire re-do was necessary. The 1967 built brick fireplace was dark and the paneling on the walls didn't help. As long as things were a mess anyway, we took down the paneling, painted the room "Interactive White", along with the brick fireplace. Then a chocolate glaze was painted over the fireplace brick, and wiped off, leaving an antique look. We LOVE it; it brightened the room a lot and also made it look larger.
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Jan 03, 2015
    Whitewashing the brick will definitely lighten up the room and tie the brick into the two bookcases. I you could remove those three little shelves that are staggered up the brick that would help, and then add a mantel instead that you can decorate. A large mirror over the mantel would help with the light in the room as well.
  • Joy Smith Joy Smith on Jan 04, 2015
    I pulled out the gold fireplace insert in my living room, cleaned it up and taped off the glass, then spray painted it with a dark brown primer. I loved the look of the primer so much I never painted over it.....8 years later it still looks great. I painted the bring a soft buttercup yellow and it still looks amazing. We did the shelving on both sides too. Prime the brick before you paint it, if you are going lighter, it saves a lot on paint!
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 05, 2015
    Paint the top part white, but leave it natural on the part under the fireplace I would replace the little shelves w/ a thick substantial mantle for decorative items & Christmas stockings. I would replace the brass/copper around the fireplace itself w/ black that way it kind of disappears. That's it Hope it helps
  • Renata Renata on Jan 05, 2015
    If it were me I would paint it a light soft grey and get rid of that gold! Put smoky soft black there. After that I would probably paint those shelves on the brick the smoky soft black too. Then I would put nice different shaped vases on the shelves .
  • Galen W. Yoder Galen W. Yoder on Jul 03, 2016
    About a year ago I did a project for a customer similar to this, except the fire place was 4 sided, but same basic vintage. I fur stripped it with 1x4 's 16" on center and sheetrocked and textured to match the walls near by. The area around the fireplace opening was trimmed with 9" x 12" tile, and the hearth also had new tile on it. It had previously been converted to a Gas fireplace and turned out very well. I even attached extra backing to the brick above the fireplace so she could hang a favorite painting she wanted to display.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jul 03, 2016
    Agree with removing those shelves - dates the fireplace. Like Galen W. Yoder's idea. If tastes change down the road, you could return to the brick.
  • D D on Oct 26, 2016
    It's not so much the bricks that are outdated, just lose the gold trim. Maybe move your floating shelves in a row rather than diagonal and paint them white (reflects light) or trade them out for a nice stone looking mantle surround.