Looking for ways to update a fireplace hearth and mantel? I’ve made some changes to ours over the years that made me fall in love with mine!
When we bought this house in 2003, changing up the fireplace face, hearth, and mantel were not at the top of my list.
Honestly, it really never even crossed my mind until about five years ago when I started a shiplap obsession 🤪.
Like every project we have ever done- this one was not done all at one time either.
It took me quite a few years to actually get a look I am finally happy with 😳.
What’s the saying- slow and steady wins the race? I think I lived that motto with this project!
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Ways to Update a Fireplace Hearth and Mantel
Replace the Fireplace Doors
Back in 2016, I had a handyman friend throwing shiplap up on multiple walls in my house.
While he was doing this – I suddenly got the idea to change up my very outdated fireplace face.
By this point I had actually already changed the cheap builder grade fireplace doors for these custom made wrought iron ones, painted the top with a textured suede paint, and added on to the original small builder grade mantel.
But even with those three previous changes, I still wasn’t happy with the way it looked… I knew it needed more changes!
Sadly, I wasn’t very good at taking before photos back then but here is a photo from 2016:
If you have read any of my previous decor posts (which I hope you have btw!) – you know this is not where my furniture is placed ;). My handyman friend was shiplapping the wall to the left when I FINALLY took a “before” photo of my next project (ahem – the hearth and mantel).
We had already hired someone to replace our fireplace doors about ten years earlier to be this more modern craftsman look ;).
For reference, we had the standard gold doors like the ones below before this change:
And replaced them with this:
My neighbor had replaced her fireplace doors with a local company so I didn’t have to do any research (isn’t that the best when that happens?!)
To be honest, I had never even realized simply replacing fireplace doors was possible.
The fireplace company we used now ships all over the US for free so I would totally suggest checking them out!
Replace the Mantel
After almost ten years with the above look, I finally realized I could pull that white mantel off the wall and replace it with a beautiful reclaimed wood mantel.
I have always loved the look of reclaimed wood and had been pinning inspo photos for quite a while on Pinterest.
So when it finally came time to go shopping for what I wanted- it was pretty easy.
We have a great reclaimed wood store here in North County San Diego close to our wine country even for any locals that want to make a day of this!
They had five ready to be hung mantels for me to choose from in their showroom. Thank goodness for that too because I do not do so good when I have too many options to choose from 😂.
They also sent me home with the correct wax to use on the mantel after it was hung so there was very little guesswork involved!
I used a floating mantel bracket from Etsy to make the heavy new mantel feel quite secure.
We let the kids write on the space where the new mantel was going to go. Lots of graffiti art going on here 😂.
This is the wax we used for our mantel.
Add Shiplap or Some Type of Millwork
After we changed out our old mantel, we added shiplap to the space above it – filling in that silly/hard to work with niche space.
We did that by putting pine wood boards in the space and covering it up with a drywall patch so that the shiplap could be attached to that material.
Again- since I wasn’t on Instagram or writing a blog yet, progress shots were not even a thought in my head… sorry about that 😜.
I learned how to install board and batten in 2020. And love the look I have seen on some of my friends’ fireplace hearths if you are not a fan of shiplap ;).
Paint the Fireplace Face
Painting and lightening up everything became my coping mechanism for the crazy pandemic year of 2020.
So once I finished painting every square inch of the master bathroom, I figured why not paint the fireplace surround??
I actually did NOT get the look I was going for here but luckily am still happy with my end result ;).
I was looking for a whitewash look that would keep the look of the rock but get rid of the orange/peach/yellow tints.
I googled this and found directions that seemed easy enough to me.
I am not sure if it was the paint I decided to use or if it just wasn’t in the cards for me to get the whitewashed look I was going for but here are the steps I took to get my end result:
- Paint a first coat of half water and half Rustoleum chalk paint in Aged Gray with a stiff bristle brush – this DID NOT give me the look I was going for though
- So I decided to do a second coat with a mixture of half water and half Rustoleum chalk paint in Linen White AND THIS MADE ME PANIC WITH HOW BLUE IT LOOKED!!! Like fluorescent blue!
- To get rid of this fluorescent look – I decided to use the paint I had used previously when I stenciled my bathroom floor to get the look back to be more of a white. This paint was the Sherwin Williams Ultra White Matte paint and I used three cups paint watered down with 1/2 cup water.
At this point, I could have attempted to smudge it a bit to not get the fully painted look it now had.
But I was so panicked about the fluorescent blue color, I wasn’t thinking super clearly.
All in all – it ended up okay because I do still like my end result.
Even if it isn’t the more natural whitewashed look I was going for 😂.
I had read once on another friend’s blog that sometimes you have to give projects a little bit of time to settle in in order to like your end result.
This was definitely one of those projects for me after I painted it.
For over a month, I sat on my couch in front of my fireplace thinking omg I do not like how bright white that looks!
But now I am completely used to the look and can say for sure it looks waaaayyy better to me than the original peach and orange look my rock surround had going for it.
Now when I go in to friends’ houses that still have that look, in my head I am thinking hmmm how do I convince my friend to paint this? 😂
I hope this post was helpful in finding ways to update a fireplace hearth and mantel in your home. No matter what you end up doing, as long as it is a look that YOU LOVE, I know you will be happy with your end result ;).
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