DIY Fireplace Update

Our fireplace has been on my list of things to change since we decided to buy the house 🙂 I was not a fan of the larger brick pieces, as I would have preferred the standard smaller brick sizes that were uniform. The mantle was just a slab of stained wood that seemed too cookie cutter, commercial grade for my liking. I wanted the fireplace to have more character and be a statement when sitting in our living space.

I knew I wanted to do something with it, but I wasn’t sure what. I toyed with painting it all white, but all of our walls are white, and I was not about to change that. Black has been all the craze recently, and the more I looked at pictures on Pinterest, the more fond I was of the color. It was a bold choice, but I had made up my mind. I knew I was going to also change the stain color of the mantle but I wasn’t exactly sure which color stain to do.

After a few trips to Home Depot, and a planned day off where my husband helped with the babies, I went to work. I bought my first sander, and that felt pretty legit.

Here is everything I bought and used for this project:

Here is what our fireplace looked like before the update. I cleared off all of the decor, and moved nearby items out of the way before I started sanding. I am not going to lie, there was dust EVERYWHERE. But, it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be vacuumed up afterwards.

Don’t forget your protective eyewear! Sunglasses— because I’m boujie like that. I sanded all sides of our wood mantle including the under side. This took me about an hour, and I had my husband help with the under side because I was struggling at that point. Once the wood looked like a light oak color, I was satisfied that we got rid of enough of the previous stain. I wiped down the mantle and I vacuumed everything— all of the crevices of the fireplace, the baseboards, the carpet, and the walls becasue as I said, there was dust everywhere.

For me, the scariest part of this project was staining the wood mantle. Going into this, I still didn’t know what I wanted the mantle color to be. I ended up buying five different stain colors. After some contemplation, I had narrrowed it down to two: Summer Oak and Weathered Oak.

I initially went with Summer Oak (in the picture above), but when I put the first coat on, it looked way to orange for the room. Unsure of what to do next, I decided to take the risk, and paint over the Summer Oak with the Weathered Oak. My hope was that the gray tones in the Weathered Oak would tone down the orange coming through in the Summer Oak. Lucky me, it worked! I did three coats of the Weathered Oak. I love how the color the wood turned out!

Somewhere in there, I taped up the fireplace in preparation to paint. I used the standard painters tape, and taped along the edges and along the carpet as well.

Then came the time to paint the fireplace black! While I had decided that this was the color I wanted, I was a bit nervous making that first brush stroke, because, well, it’s BLACK!

“That’s a very bold color choice for a fireplace. Are you sure you want to do this Emily?” I thought to myself. But, I decided there was no turning back, so without a second thought I slapped that roller covered in black paint onto the fireplace. I started with the roller and covered the larger parts of the fireplace. I waited to paint the big stones on the ground because I knew I would be stepping on them while I was up close and personal with the stones on the wall.

I set the roller aside and then used the paint brush to get in the grout and around the stones where the more intricate areas were. This was a bit more time consuming.

After I painted the entire fireplace, I had to go back in and dab all of the spots on the stone where the paint didn’t take. There are so many pores, divots, and grooves in the stone where you could still see the original stone color.

Once I finished the touchups on the main part of the fireplace, I used the roller to cover the stones on the floor. Then, I used the paint brush to paint the edges of these stones. I was very careful to not apply too much paint to my brush so that it wouldn’t leak under the tape to the carpet. It meant it took a bit longer, but was worth it because there was no black paint on the carpet!

I let everything dry for 24 hours, and then I got to decorate! I added in all the green to add contrast against the black. I used the same mirror we had before on the mantle. Then, I added a few other decor items to finish the space.

After I painted the first place, my favorite decor update was adding the large ZZ plant in the rope basket on the ground. I love the dimension and texture that it adds to the space especially against the black fireplace.

I absolutely LOVE that I decided to go with the color, black. I like the boldness of it, and it adds character to an otherwise cookie cutter space.

I couldn’t be more happy with how it all turned out! If you’re looking to update your space on a budget, this was a budget friendly DIY, costing me around $75 total. For $75, I think this was well worth the money for the design update that it gave me in return.



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