Home Improvements

Fireplace Makeover: From Traditional to Contemporary

Mason Ward
Written by Mason Ward

If your fireplace has a traditional look and your style is more contemporary, it is possible to give the fireplace modern appeal without having to totally replace it. Traditional UK fireplaces may have a brick facade, classic wood mantle or tile surround. While there is nothing wrong with the look of a traditional fireplace, a contemporary facade may be a better match with your decorative style.

While you could hire a professional to makeover your fireplace, you could also opt to do the job yourself. There are several approaches you can take to complete a fireplace makeover and how you handle the project primarily depends on your skill level and budget. While you may think that a fireplace makeover is a job only for the very skilled, here are three ideas for a makeover with two geared toward those with beginner or intermediate DIY skills.

Beginner Level Makeover

If you have absolutely no experience is working with tile and words like “grout” and “mastic” are almost foreign to you, your best bet for a DIY makeover is a prefabricated fireplace facade. For less than 500 pounds, such a facade will give it a totally new, contemporary look. A pre-fab facade simply fits over the existing fireplace and is easy to install.

There are several online companies that sell pre-fabricated fireplace facades and you may also find them a local fireplace shops. In most cases, you’ll simply need to present the dimensions of the existing fireplace and choose your style and colors. From marble to tile, there are many selections and color choices to consider that will give your fireplace a sleek, bold look.

Another easy option is to simply paint over the brick with a clean light color like off-white or mocha. Change out traditional brass frame fireplace doors and screen with a more modern selection and hang a bold artwork, such as a contemporary metal wall decor, flanked with sleek wall sconces.

Intermediate Level Makeover

If you have some experience working with tile, covering a brick facade with trendy marble tile is a great way to modernize a traditional fireplace. Measure the entire fireplace – height, width and side walls – to determine how many tiles are needed. If your brick is fairly smooth, you may be able to install the tiles directly over them by applying a layer of thinset first and letting it dry. This will smooth out the surface. If the brick is very uneven, however, the best method is to apply drywall over the brick. The experts at a tile store or your local home improvement store can advise on the best adhesives to use for your particular situation. Tile, whether marble, glass or some other material, can also be applied over a wood facade as long as the surface is flat and even.

Skilled Level Makeover

If you have above average experience, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. You may decide to tile over brick or a wood facade, replace the mantle with something more streamlined and even build in bookcases on either side of the fireplace. Drawer-fronted cabinets on the lower half of the bookcases is a smart way to go because they will offer hidden storage; the open upper shelves can be used for attractive display.

About the author

Mason Ward

Mason Ward

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