Do you have an old fireplace in your home that’s been left in a neglected state for a while? Then it’s high time you get that hearth renovation you’ve always wanted!

Not only could a refinished fireplace look beautiful, but a complete restoration to your fireplace makes it safer to operate, and work like new again.

Plus, professional remodeling can also increase the resale value of the home if you ever decide to sell.  When you think about it, an updated fireplace is an investment that comes with many benefits. 

Ideas to Restore the Hearth

The most satisfying fireplace remodel is one that removes the facade. (fa·cade /fəˈsäd/: the show, front appearance, the face or exterior of your fireplace.) Think mantle, facing and any surrounding trim.

Complete rebuilding is an option, using all new components. It would be similar to getting all new cabinets, as opposed to cabinet re-facing during a kitchen remodel. But, that could be expensive and sometimes we want to produce a stunning change in a hurry or on a budget.

That’s where a more minimal approach is used. Solutions like adjusting the patina, without the muss and fuss of a costly remodeling project would be considered.

Stone Fireplace Surround with Wooden Mantel and horse painting

Design Your Dream Fireplace

Most homeowners never even consider reconstructing their fireplace, because they didn’t know it was an option! That’s because the hearth seems like a permanent part of home construction. We can assure you redesigning the entire hearth and fireplace surround is possible, with a bit of help from the professionals.

If you’re looking to do a fireplace remodel, then now’s the time to get creative and let your mind run free. Start with these 10 beautiful fireplace restoration ideas:

1. Exposed Brick

This is an incredibly easy idea, considering the exposed brick fireplace won’t need much work done besides the remodeling itself. If you’re into simple aesthetics, then this might be ideal for you.

Plus, exposed brick is plain, which means it won’t become dated at any time. If you’re worried about picking a style that’s bold but might fall out of fashion quickly, then exposed brick may be the best idea for when you restore fireplaces.

See more examples of exposed brick at the Real Homes website.

The exposed brick style became popular with the appeal of exposing the support features of a structure, that were formally concealed behind drywall or plaster. Think of exposed roof trusses, floor joist, iron window lintels and exposed duct work. All of these are examples of elevating the industrial features of a structure, to a level of artistic design.

Exposed Brick Fireplace

Source: Real Homes  (Image credit: Katie Lee © Future)

2. German Smear

Maybe you like the look of exposed brick, but want something a step above that when you restore a fireplace. But you don’t want to commit to completely painting over your bricks.

In that case, then consider the German smear. We’ve also seen it spelled “Schmear”… not sure which is correct!  Either way, this gives your fireplace a cake-like appearance. (Almost frosted!)

German smear is a faux antiquing technique that gives your fireplace more of an irregular look. So if you’re not a fan of the uniform look of exposed brick, then this might be a better option for you.

Bob Vila has a great article that gives more in-depth information on the process of How to Do a German Smear.  If you’re considering a DIY approach, it’s best to really think it over before attempting a permanent change to your brickwork. Some things cannot be undone!

 3. Lime Wash Finish

A lime wash finish gives a similar look to the German smear, but covers more of your bricks’ natural color. However, it doesn’t completely obstruct it, so you’ll still get peeks of it coming through.

With this type of finish, you’ll need a lime wash that’s made from limestone. Once you’ve cleaned your fireplace, you can apply a coat of this wash directly on top of your bricks. The result is a chalky look that sits on top of your fireplace bricks.

Painted and “white wash” styles all appear very similar but are none-the-less different and do follow the same process (despite what some DIY information may lead us all to believe).

See the clear difference between Paint, German Smear and Limewash brick in this article by Becki Owens. While the examples are not fireplaces, you can get a good idea of what these styles look like on these home exteriors. 

White Brick Painted Fireplace

Brick Surround Painted White © Full Service Chimney

White Washed Fireplace

White Washed Fireplace © Full Service Chimney

4. Interior Tiles

Who says you have to keep your fireplace all bricks? You can spice things up by adding tiles on the inside for your fireplace restoration. In fact, you can get rid of the entire brick look. When people peer inside your fireplace, all they’ll see is whatever tiles you’ve chosen. The choices are endless, with different colors and patterns.

Many of us at Full Service Chimney are fans of the simplistic, but timeless look of firebricks like the Herringbone style shown in our image or you can find some classic examples at Firerock.

Herringbone Firebrick Installation Image © Full Service Chimney 

Just as with a bath or kitchen remodel, so to with a hearth remodeling project.  Many contractors and DIYers are expanding their consideration of materials to decorative tiles.

We found some very bold and attention grabbing (and hand painted) fireplace tiles on Earnest Home Co.

5. Antique Brick Finish

This is for those of you who don’t like the natural brick-red color but still want to enjoy the look of brick. Add some white elements to your living room to really make your fireplace pop out.

Paint over your bricks with gray paint and then seal it immediately with a stain. You’ll get an antique-looking fireplace that is different in color and not the traditional red.

We’ve seen tons of tutorials online showing different ways of achieving this effect, and they’re all unique in the end. There’s all sorts of stain colors to choose from, including a nice ebony that could make for a darker brick. 

Antique Looking Brickwork with Black Firebox

6. Bold Blue

When you think of fireplaces, most likely, you imagine a brick-red color. But for many, that’s boring. Do you want to pick something bold and dashing? Then go with a bold blue.

You may have heard of Staffordshire Blue Brick, which is a stunning brick that originates from Staffordshire, England. You can recreate that look in your own home by painting your fireplace bricks in a matte blue.

This will give your fireplace a unique look that probably no one else in your neighborhood has.

7. Pure Black

On that note, if you’re looking to really make an impression with your fireplace, why not paint it pure black? You can bring the inner goth out of you with this striking look. But a black fireplace certainly doesn’t have to make you think of the gothic “Adam’s Family” style.

If after adjusting the patina, you realize this look is for you, a more substantial remold would be to install an ebony, coal or midnight style slate or tile facade .

You can carefully contrast a dark fireplace with elegance. Add touches of gold, white or even pastels around the room. For example, you can have a gold-colored chandelier or a mirror on top of the mantel. The possibilities are truly endless! Whatever you do, make it your own.

Simple Black and White Fireplace Design

Black and White Fireplace Image © Full Service Chimney

Check Pinterest for black fireplace ideas. Another idea we love is a white and black hearth design!  

8. Black and Blue

Why not combine the ideas from the last two sections into one beautifully themed living room?

Give your space a modern touch by using these two cool colors for your fireplace restoration. It’s best if you use a darker blue like navy instead of pastel. That way, you set a nice mood in your living room.

Consider painting your walls blue and your fireplace black. If you do it the other way around, it’ll probably shrink how your space looks, as black swallows up all light. Minimize that effect by keeping it to your fireplace.

9. New Mantle

You’re going through a remodel, but that doesn’t mean you only need to focus on the fireplace itself. Why not install a new mantel? It is one of the most important visual parts of a fireplace after all.

There’s so much potential when designing  mantels. It’s the centerpiece that can change with the seasons.

You can mix the old with the new by keeping your old fireplace intact and putting in an updated, modern mantel around it. This can create a striking look that’ll be unique to your home.


Fancy Surround Mantel with fire burning

Stone Fireplace with Wooden Mantel Image © Full Service Chimney

See more mantel ideas on HGTV or if you already know a mantel is what you need, then invite one of our Certified Technicians out to do a remodeling evaluation. They can show you some options that work for your particular hearth.

10. Display Your Logs

Usually, you’d keep your firewood out of sight in a box, probably outside. But why not make use of your indoor space and show off these logs?

When you restore a fireplace, knock out the top bit and create some storage room for your firewood. Not only does this make it a lot easier to stoke the fire, but it’ll also create a dramatic and special look in your living room.

Get a Gas Log Fireplace Installation in Johnson County and the Greater Kansas City area. Call 913-642-6171 for an evaluation today.

firewood stack sits next to brick fireplace hearth

Gas Log Fireplace Image © Full Service Chimney

Use These Fireplace Remodel Ideas as Inspiration

If you’re thinking of doing a fireplace remodel soon, then hopefully, these fireplace renovation ideas have inspired you.

The next step is to contact remodeling professionals so you can ensure your fireplace is redone in a safe and sturdy way. For example, we at Full Service Chimney can not only rebuild and restore your fireplace from the inside, but we can also perform complete chimney rebuilding services on the outside of your home.

The look and feel of a fireplace is important for your home interior design, but it’s most critical to the safety of your family to understand that the fireplace and chimney system (as a whole) cannot work properly without each other. Let one of our Certified Chimney Technicians help you see how this happens, they’re happy to help and show you how your fireplace system works.

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