The fireplace is one of those features in a home that either gets, well, featured, or forgotten about. If you’re lucky enough to have one — whether gas, electric or wood-burning — give it the attention it deserves. Paint, plaster and other easy-to-access materials are incredibly transformative, as these stylish fireplaces prove. Psst… If you don’t have a fireplace, the budget-friendly DIY special on this list is just for you! It just involves a trip to the hardware store for basic wood trim.
Once a 1990s special, designer Jamie Pryde revamped his client’s condo fireplace with a leaner and longer gas insert. He then boxed it in with warm concrete tile that mimics travertine. Jamie mitred the corners (details, details) for a knife edge to add to the fireplace’s monolithic feel.
Paint is Your Bestie
Faced with unsightly red brick, designer Amy Konarzycki of Studio AK reached for every creative person’s best friend: paint. Three coats of Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace later and the fireplace felt refreshed. For a more rustic look, Amy recommends applying only one coat of paint to let the brick bleed through.
Believe it or not, this contemporary charmer of a fireplace was once basic and bulky. Designer Mary-Catherine Telemaque of Ink Interiors turned it into a bombshell by replacing the surround and mantel with a seamless wall of porcelain, all while retaining the gas insert. A bespoke shelving unit with ridged detailing completes the upgrade, displaying the client’s mementos.
This is a room meant for nibbling on scones. It’s charming now, but the wood-burning fireplace was once old and unusable. Designer Karl Lohnes popped in a slim gas fireplace that emulates the cast-iron versions found in Victorian homes. He finished off his scintillating space by creating a mantel out of Dekton cladding that creates a dramatic focal point. Up top, a heavily filigreed mirror is the chef’s kiss.
In this artful living room, designers Clare Forndran and Danielle De Francesco of Forward Interiors deployed subtle but powerful elements to create a serene ambience: the team added beautiful marble to the back of the existing shelves, a reeded-wood treatment behind the fireplace and switched out the glass doors to charming old-timey versions.
Ok, full disclosure: There wasn’t a fireplace here before — it was a bare wall. But the interior stylist Sophie Leger was determined to create one. She popped in an electric fireplace, then surrounded it with basic white trim from Home Hardware that she didn’t even paint. Awesome styling rounds out the look.
From side tables to coffee tables, and yes, even fireplaces, everywhere you turn you’ll find a rippled surface. And we’re not complaining. Ripples create textural punch in a quiet and unassuming way, as seen in this gorgeous bedroom — complete with coffee station and electric fireplace — by Andrea Grbic of Andrea Grbic Home. PS: The wall treatment and the ripples are both plaster.
Old houses are full of surprises. Toronto DIY enthusiast John Richardson discovered just such a one, hidden behind a wall in his house: a full-fledged fireplace covered in plaster. After determining that it was too laborious to chip away the plaster, he nailed in 80-year-old barn board to beef up the wall as a (decorative only) focal point.
In The Pink
The 1800s mantel on this wood-burning fireplace was too good to demolish, so the team behind North & Madison got into Barbie mode, opting for a monochromatic treatment. The walls are bright and saturated — they’re In the Pink by Sherwin-Williams. Meanwhile, expert styling — from the brass sconces to the bust — make this space extra swoon-worthy.
Add black marble and warm custom millwork into a project and you can’t go wrong. That’s exactly what happened in this gorgeous makeover built by Alair Homes’ Ratcliffe and Black and conceived by interior designer Michelle Hurley. She transformed a boring fireplace into this cozy focal point that’s rich in contrast. Shelves on either side of the fireplace offer lots of opportunity to show off nice things.
Miles of Tile
Jessica Russell of the Sunday Stroll specializes in upcycling furniture, so it’s no surprise the handy designer employed the same treatment to her own fireplace. She used fresh white paint and glitzy octagonal tile to revive this once-drab fireplace.
This fireplace was once a dated job flanked by blank walls. To zhuzh up the living room, Laurie Sprague of Sprague Interiors replaced the gas fireplace with a high-quality electric linear model by Valor Fireplaces — key, since she was mounting a TV above it and she didn’t want issues with heat and clearance. Built-in storage and floating shelves beautifully fill out the room.