Modern design has made fireplaces a focal point with tile and minimalist surrounds growing in popularity. So what’s a homeowner to do with an old-fashioned brick fireplace. Here are several ideas, including the budget-friendly option of painting.
Painting a brick fireplace
Old red brick is so 20th century, and it can clash with your décor. Consider painting it a neutral color such as white or light grey. Painting your fireplace is low cost and quick. No need to hire anyone, and you’ll achieve a modern look in as little as an afternoon. Purchasing a pre-made mantel will complete your fireplace redesign.
Tiling your fireplace
Though requiring more time, cost, and effort, tile will modernize a fireplace in a few days. Customize your design with glass, ceramic, or stone in shiny, matte or metallic finishes. Tiling requires a wet tile saw, and attention to detail. Hiring a professional will ensure the job is done right the first time.
Drywall over a Brick Fireplace
Using either construction adhesive or drywall screws, attach drywall directly to the brick. Cover over the seams and screws with tape and joint compound, then paint one to two shades darker than your wall color. When paired with a mantel, you’ll completely transform your dated fireplace. Hire a professional to do the drywall work to avoid problems with seams cracking.
Stucco or Venetian Plaster
Other ways to modernize your fireplace design include covering over the brick with a stucco or Venetian plaster façade. Stucco is a cement-based product, and with primer, both will bond directly to unpainted brick, drywall, or concrete. The surface can be smooth or textured. Consult a professional before tackling this job. Once cured, finish with a DIY paint job.
Yes, concrete. With a little prep work and some cement backer-board (also used for installing bathroom tile), the wet concrete mix is applied directly over the brick. Use as many layers as needed to cover the seams. You can even tint it to get a slightly different color. For staging, think neutral colors and use a more traditional or rustic mantel. It’s inexpensive, quick, but messy. With just a little effort, you’ll achieve a dramatically modern fireplace style. Consult a professional before tackling this job.
What to do with that old brass fire screen
You now have a modern fireplace design, but what about the dated brass surround? Use stove paint, or paint made to withstand higher temperatures. Gently rough up the surface with fine grit sandpaper, then wipe clean with acetone. Use as many thin layers as needed, and check to see if the brand requires heat-setting.
Final thoughts on creating a modern fireplace design
Before doing any demolition, talk to an expert to ensure you will not damage the chimney structure. Regardless of the method you choose, finish only the bricks on the surround. Leave any that frame the inside of the firebox untouched. For staging, choose a style that complements the style of your home with a neutral look that will appeal to most buyers.