A new Style Solutions post for you today! Perhaps staying home is making you notice some little things that drive you crazy about your house? If so, email your problem to email@example.com to be considered for the next installment! Today we’re talking about outdated, awkward fireplace mantels. It’s amazing how wrong these can go, and hard to imagine just WHAT builders were thinking sometimes! There were a bunch different ones, so I chose a few examples to discuss!
These two fireplaces are almost identical in their bizarre separation of trim around the fireplace and floating mantel! To fix something like this, you could try to add some millwork in between to connect the two pieces and paint it to match, or you could take everything off and order a new wood mantel and surround, which aren’t very expensive.
Here are two great looking ones- you’ll just need to measure your firebox and brick/stone surround to get the right size. I like getting unfinished ones so that you can paint to exactly match your trim.
This floating mantel below is TOTALLY the wrong style and material for this application on a pretty, rustic stone wall.
I’d want it to be more of a reclaimed, rough hewn raw wood mantel, ideally with corbels underneath to balance it: more like this one below by W Design.
You can find makers of mantels like these on Etsy! Two options I found below (click images for links):
I’d also add a pair of baskets flanking either side of the fireplace:
This one is tough to fix… it’s just an unattractive cast mantel. There isn’t much you can do to fix this without getting rid of it. That said, I do have suggestions for replacement options for something like this…
You’d want to get a cast stone mantel that would sit on top of the already raised hearth. In an ideal world, I’d make this raised hearth deeper (it looks a little oddly shallow here). Here are two great example of more classic looking styles.
Lastly, this one is more about dealing with an entire dated fireplace wall. To update this space I’d replace the fireplace surround with a remnant of honed marble (Carrara, Danby or similar). You could either leave the fireplace doors, replace them with new custom doors or a freestanding screen with a more modern look.
To avoid redoing the cabinetry I’d remove this center rolling panel on this section shown here, and paint all the cabinetry white to match the trim. Since the cabinets sit on top of the counter, the easiest remedy would be to replace the tile instead of trying to put in a new countertop. A patterned porcelain “cement look” would look interesting and be durable. Then I’d do the backsplash in a separate tile and replace the knobs with some classic matte brass pulls.
Here’s a roundup of materials:
backsplash // counter tile // screen // knobs
I LOVE this series!!! Thank you, Erin, for your wealth of knowledge.
This is so helpful–thank you! Hope your family is doing well!
I’m so glad mine was one of the ones the got picked!! It’s the terrible nautical themed one and I cannot wait to use your advice and get rid of it! I’ll send in a picture once we update it. Thanks again! Your Style Solution features are so great and helpful!
How would rework a floor to ceiling brick fireplace with brick mantle and brick hearth? It is soooo awful!
Oof this is so timely, as we are putting in built-in bookcases around our very pink/orange 90’s fireplace. Still working out the tweaks on how to reface/recover the pink brick and make it more classic and timeless, but we are leaning towards wood panels/molding over most of it and black slate tile around the heart and floor.
Thank you! Ours is. . . I don’t even know . . . This is really helpful!
Link for the Etsy fireplace mantles is not working- can you please lmk what the source of second one is?
Sorry, just fixed!
I love these posts on how to tackle design problems. Your suggestions are often clever and creative! BUT I disagree about the green stone surround in the last pic: that’s a nice, classic stone used often in historic French or English interiors. The removal of the brass screens and a fresh coat of paint would do the trick, (plus the changes to the cabinetry you recommended) in my view.
This post brought me back to what you did with our awful white mantle on stone that you replaced with natural wood – we love it now!
Great solutions! Quick question – I love the fire screen you suggested but that kind isn’t very practical for a working fireplace – any suggestions for a nice looking fire screen with doors to access the fire rather than moving the whole screen? Thanks!!
Love these ideas. I also love your current fireplace. Would you mind sharing the details for the maker/manufacturer of your new gas fireplace? Thanks!
Oh man ours is SO bad so I’m glad you posted about this!!!
Great ideas! We had an ugly green stone surround in our new house and replacing it wasn’t a priority (lots of other uglier stuff to tackle first). My painter was able to paint the green marble with black matte epoxy paint and now it looks like black leathered granite – so much more modern and it just disappears!
I painted my red brick surround and 1950s flagstone hearth with heat-resistant black spray paint, which totally updated the look on a budget. The wood mantle was already fine. (I thought Erin did something similar when she first moved into her house too…)
I did! When I moved into this house I did that before we covered it with marble. A good, easy fix!
I couldn’t click on the link for the fireplace surround/hearth. Thank you!
Love this post!! It is so fun to have you point out things to change for a new look!