My $82 Fireplace Makeover

What do you do with an outdated-looking fireplace, that has crazy proportions, for around eighty bucks?

Here’s what we did!

First, we bulked up our mantel by attaching wider wood to it. We used a  1”x 8” piece of plain pine lumber (that we distressed and stained dark walnut), to create a “slipcover” on top of our existing mantel…

We used screws and nails to attach it to all three sides, but here’s a shot of what it looked like after the first board was attached…

Here’s a shot that show’s it when all three pieces were attached…

Next, we removed the cast iron firebox the previous owners left us…

…and then we painted the brick around, and inside, the opening with black, heat resistant paint…

After that, we used Liquid Nails to attach pieces of wood and thin, luan plywood to the facade to create dimension…

Next, we added even more dimension by gluing on various 1×4’s, and 1/4”x4”s…

Don’t ask me what that weird pinkish spot on the back wall of our fireplace is. Every time I saw it, I thought about Wilson, from “Cast Away”…


Anywho, the next thing we did was tape off the brick so that we could caulk all the seams and paint all the wood…

Here’s how it looks today…


I’ve had fun decorating for all the other seasons, too!



Ours is a non-working fireplace, so if you’re thinking about doing this project on a working fireplace, you should check building regulations to see what’s allowed as far as adding wood and paint before you begin. Safety first!

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  1. Joanna says

    Hi Layla!

    I’m on the final steps of my own fireplace makeover using your tutorial :) question though- did you use a semi gloss paint??? That’s what I bought, but right now I’m looking at it with just the primer and having trouble envisioning it all shiny! Not sure what to do! I would appreciate your help :)

    I hope you see this comment!

    • Layla says

      Hi Joanna!

      I think I used satin finish on the fireplace makeover. We are about to redo our new fireplace and we will be using a satin finish on this one for sure. Thanks for the comment! :)

      • Joanna says

        Thank you so much!!! Can’t wait to see your new redo in the new house!

        I would love to send you photos when I’m done!

  2. Krystal says

    I am absolutely in love with this fireplace.. So much that I’m in the process of updating ours. I am having a hard time picking a crisp white for the trim, What shade and brand of white did you go with? Thank you for inspiring me!

  3. says

    Hi Layla, I have admired this fireplace since you redid it years ago. Can you tell me what you did to the side? Did you glue strips of wood and attach there as well? I am going to tackle this by myself, hope it works!

  4. Irina says

    This looks so beautiful, and unbelievable reasonable! My only question, if it is a non working fireplace, why would you use fire resistant paint painting inside???

  5. kim says

    I’ve done a similar project but don’t know what to do with the fireplace insert. What did you do with yours?

  6. Amanda says

    Hi Layla,

    What is the depth of your mantel? We are looking to implement this project on our own fireplace, we love it so much!


    • Layla says

      Hmmm, I can’t remember how deep that mantel was, Amanda. ? We moved out of that house in October of 2011. I’m sorry! :-(

  7. Kaitlin Farmer says

    Love your fireplace re-do!
    I have a very similarly placed fireplace (off-center to the right)..
    Just curious what the left side of the wall looks like? Did you do shelving? or just a cute chair?
    Having a hard time thinking of how to balance the wall.

    Thanks for your share, we will definitely be doing this project!

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