Ideas for making over a fireplace

I wish you guys could be in my house right now. It is so quiet that thoughts are running full throttle through my mind and all of them are actually being heard. My kids are at Grannie camp for 5 glorious days while my husband and I are back in Colorado enjoying some kid-free time. And with all this silence, my brain is on hyperdrive thinking about house projects that I’d love to start on. One project we jumped into while we took a little vacation to Nebraska to drop the kids off at Grannie camp is our fireplace. I figured while we were out of the house why not start on the fireplace makeover, with very little planned for what I actually wanted the new fireplace to look like. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the fireplace pre-demolition and I’ll make the case for why a makeover is needed.

stone fireplace | suburban bitches

There it is. Large and slightly cumbersome in my opinion. But to understand the scale of this thing let’s look at it in the whole room.

stone fireplace with built-ins | suburban bitches


midcentury style living room | Suburban BitchesThe fireplace isn’t terrible. In many houses it would be the perfect focal point in a living room. And it fit the whole vibe of the house until we started making changes and now, it’s just too rustic. And with the reclaimed wood wall right next to it, there’s too many things yelling “look at me” in the room. If money was no object I would take out the fireplace, replace it with a more modern insert like this:

modern fireplace from Hayneedle | suburban bitches

Unfortunately, the price tag on a new fireplace insert is too much for me to justify spending that kind of money to my husband. Instead, we are tackling this makeover one stone at a time. Like I said earlier, we were out of town for a few days over the weekend and I made the call that we should have someone take all the rock off the fireplace while we were gone.That way I wouldn’t have to deal with all the dust kicked up and once the rock was off there would be no going back. And here’s what the fireplace looked like upon our return:


Problem is, I kind of don’t know what I want to do with the wall and the hearth. I’m pondering some ideas and would love input from all of you. Here are some options:

1. Add a wood mantel and be done

My original plan was to take the rock off and then just drywall the space where the rock was before. Add a wood mantel, paint the drywall, and call it a day. I really want the fireplace wall to be simple and quiet, since the reclaimed wood wall is doing all the talking in the room. And a mantel could break up the big visual space left by removing the rock. But this plan might be too simple.

2. Add a metal surround to the fireplace

Eclectic Living Room by Dallas Media & Bloggers Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

I found this picture on Houzz and loved the look of this metal fireplace surround. Metal brings in the industrial element that I love along with a smooth texture. If I went this route the question would be what to do with the stone hearth.

3. Create a metal fireplace screen and add a wood mantel

metal screen fireplace found on Porch | suburban bitchesHow great is this fireplace screen? Taking a cue from the barn doors we all love, and I don’t have a spot for in my house. If I did something like this the screen would have to split in the middle, with each side rolling out to the right and left of the fireplace box. I would also add a wood mantel above the screen and leave the rest of the wall just painted drywall. Not a lot of drama, but those screens would certainly add some visual interest.

4. Concrete over the hearth and surround for the fireplace

Modern Living Room by New York Interior Designers & Decorators Amy Lau Design

I did get a quote for creating a concrete overlay that would have gone over the stone and hearth before we demo’d the rock. The quote was much more than I thought (4K+!!!). I love the look of a concrete fireplace. So sleek and simple. I still am going to explore covering the hearth with concrete as I’m just not sure what else I can do to make the natural stone hearth fit in with my aesthetic. I could DIY a concrete overlay on the hearth using the Ardex Feather Finish like I did in my laundry room. I’m just not sure that I can make it look good enough to pass off as a professional job. Are there ever things in your house that you think you need to hire a professional for instead of attempting a semi-pro DIY job yourself?

I’d love if you could vote for your favorite option for my fireplace. Or if I’m missing some idea that would be great for this space there’s an option for your to write in your own idea. Surveys are fun, right?!

Create your own user feedback survey



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A countertop decision made- and installed! {Kitchen Update #5}
Visualizing the fireplace makeover
All I want for Christmas is....a new light fixture
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4 Responses to Ideas for making over a fireplace

  1. Elaine says:

    Start over…demo the current wall…side cabinets, bottom drawers and all. Spend the cash for new modern insert, all modern mantle and drywall.

  2. Elise Pringle says:

    I am in LOVE with that rolling screen. I say most definitely do that with the mantel. Not so sure about the plain drywall behind- maybe the same white reclaimed wood that’s pictured? I’m sure whatever you decide will be amazing just like the rest of your gorgeous house!! Good luck- can’t wait to see the after!

    • Erin says:

      Thanks for the input Elise! I too love that rolling screen and really want to incorporate it somehow. Perhaps not the best idea of mine to move forward without a plan- right now its looking pretty ugly so anything we do will be a drastic improvement!