Before and After: Fireplace Makeover

My latest fireplace makeover! And it didn’t cost me a dime.

painted white fireplace with many plants and books, iim a living room space

Today’s fireplace makeover is making me super happy because it not only brightened up this space, it also didn’t cost me any money whatsoever! Let me go back to the beginning for a second though…

So! The fireplace was probably the very first thing I noticed when we walked through our house for the first time (before we owned it, for a showing). It seemed gigantic, especially for the size of the room. But I loved that it made a statement. I didn’t, however, love the look of all the grey stone. Especially in combination with the grayish-toned flooring.

Fast forward past first impressions, to actually making an offer on the house and then buying it, and I knew I’d want to make some changes to this front room pretty quickly. And since the fireplace was one of the first things you see when you walk in the front door, it was even more important (to me) for it to feel more like something I would have chosen(ish).

In the future, we plan to actually resurface the fireplace, make it all very smooth, and bump out the mantle to accommodate big plants, stacked artwork, books, etc.

But for now, we were able to achieve almost everything I want in that future renovation with a gallon of paint and a full day of painting. AND (bonus) once all the painting was finished, I figured out a way to add a bunch of plants, books, and artwork anyway. Even without a deeper mantle. So, this before and after fireplace makeover feels like a big win for me.

Fireplace Makeover (The Before)

Before we get too far along here, let me show you what it looked like before (this was a few days before we moved in)…

giant ledger rock fireplace in empty house with white walls

empty house with ledger rock fireplace

And the ‘after’ images…

painted white stone fireplace with large plants and books

Why I Painted Our Stone Fireplace

I know some people won’t love that I painted over the stone. And that’s totally fine. I don’t love every choice I see in other people’s homes either. The important thing is that you love the choices in your own home.

I personally love how the fireplace looks now. It adds texture, while remaining neutral and most importantly (to me), it adds a lot of light to the space by reflecting white throughout.

Before the dark stone felt like it was sucking up all the natural light in the room, if that makes sense. Now, with the paint paint on both the fireplace and the walls, the entire room feels lighter and brighter to me. Which makes me smile.

halfway painted stacked stone fireplace in white, with text overlay

How do you paint a stone fireplace?

Disclaimer: I’m sharing how I painted my fireplace and I hope it helps you, but I am not a fireplace expert. I’m a DIYer. Do your research before painting a working fireplace, since there is extreme heat involved when it’s in use.

Materials

  • interior paint (latex)
  • 3 inch paint brush (or 2 inch if you can’t find anything larger)
  • paint roller and paint cover (if you have any flat surfaces to cover, like a mantle or hearth)
  • painters tape
  • rag for cleaning
  • putty knife (optional)

Fireplace Makeover How To

Use a rag to throughly clean any dust or debris that may be on the surface of your fireplace.

Then, tape off any areas with painters tape that need it. In my case, I only need to tape off the bottom of the hearth, where it meets the floor, since the walls were being painted the same color as the fireplace.

From there, painting is pretty straight forward. I started in the middle, just randomly. No reason to do that really. If you want to get the hang of painting the stone / rock first, I’d recommend practicing on the side of the fireplace or a small area first, if needed.

It is very easy though. Just takes some elbow grease to get a paint brush into the crevices. With some stone fireplaces there aren’t any cracks or crevices to get into, but with mine (which is ledger rock), there were many, MANY areas like that.

I used a 3 inch paint brush for almost the entire project. You could also use a two inch brush, but I probably wouldn’t go in smaller than that because it’s time consuming.

For the hearth and mantle, which had larger, flat stone, I used a paint roller (3/8 inch nap for smooth surfaces). Painted one coat, waited for it to fully dry (overnight) and then painted a second coat after scraping away all the paint drips that had accumulated with a putty knife.

scraping paint drips off of white fireplace hearth, with a putty knife

painted stacked stone fireplace with ladder in front of it

What type of paint should I use?

I read a bunch of how-tos from various sites before starting this project to make sure I was doing things ‘the right way’. Based on what I’ve read, interior paint is fine for a fireplace makeover, as long as it’s latex paint (not oil based). Latex paint is breathable.

*Note that latex paint is only okay for the exterior area of the fireplace. If you are painting the interior / firebox itself, you must use a high heat or high temp paint.

It is also recommended that you use a masonry primer first, before painting the fireplace the color that you want. I skipped that step because I didn’t have it on hand and so far, so good. BUT I’m mentioning it here so you know that others have recommended it.

Paint color: I picked Chantilly Lace in a flat finish by Benjamin Moore as the paint, which I was already using for the rest of the interior. And is why this project didn’t cost me anything. I already had the paint and all the supplies from other painting projects.

painted white stone fireplace with plants and large neutral artwork

Is this room complete now?

I wouldn’t say the space is ‘complete’ by any means. We still need to add lighting in here (overhead and scones flanking the television), I have to finish painting the original window frames black, and I’m hoping to get new floors in here soonish as well.

But the fireplace itself is done for now. Until we move onto phase two, which likely won’t be for a year or two. Not a top priority at the moment. 

We have additional plans in here too, depending on budget and some structural things. In an ideal world, I would LOVE to eventually add giant bi-fold glass doors where the windows currently are. The ones that fold open and closed kind of like an accordion. You know what I’m talking about?

And I also would love to vault the ceilings in here. We’ve actually spoken to a contractor about it already though and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be possible in here because of the roof and the supports.

But I haven’t fully given up hope yet. It would truly make this space feel so much bigger and it made such a drastic difference in our dining room. So, I would just LOVE to do that in here as well.

stacked stone fireplace, painted white with plants and organic modern decor

Aside From Painting, What Else Has Been Done?

Painting the Walls

In addition to painting the fireplace, all of the walls in this room were painted as well (same color as fireplace). To me, this helped tone down the fireplace, so it doesn’t visually overwhelm the room. I still think it feels like a focal point, but it’s just a little softer now, which I personally enjoy.

Skylights

Another thing that has really helped this space look and feel ‘better’ for me is the extra natural light! You can’t see any skylights in this room, but there are 5 fixed skylights (all from Velux, which I highly, highly recommend) on our front porch, directly out of the big windows to the left. We added these around the same time we had our roof redone and it has really helped to add additional light in here.

You might be wondering why we wouldn’t have just added skylight into the living room ceiling, as opposed to the porch. And that’s a good question. Believe me! I wanted to! I WANTED TO SO BAD.

BUT our roof is unique in the fact that it has a ‘hat’ on it (like a Mansard style roof, but also kind of not like a Mansard roof). And that ‘hat’ sits right over our living room, which means there isn’t a way for the skylights to go on the roof that would bring them through this room.

I brainstormed every which way I could with the contractor to get skylights into this space. But it just wasn’t in the cards.

SO we did the next best thing, which was adding skylights to the porch. Our windows are pretty large in here and we have very elongated eaves on our front porch, so having the skylights has brought a lot of light into this space that we otherwise would never have had.

The eaves block a surprising amount of sun. But now, with the skylights installed, so much light is able to come in through the window. It’s been awesome.

painted white stone fireplace in boho modern living room, with text overlay

large plants on painted white fireplace hearth of stacked stone

white painted fireplace made of stone with modern rocking chair and large plants throughout the room

Have any other questions I can answer? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to respond.

6 comments | Click here to reply

Brilliant!! Thank you for the information.

Nippon

Thank you for such an inspiring blog.

Nippon

I love green… I love everything about green. I have lots of plant in my living room and my backyard this plants makes more beautiful this fireplace…

Cemre

So cool!

West Kiss

Love the hardwood floors in the living room! We used to have carpet and the carpet cleaning was a nightmare!

Sara Henderson

It turned out great. The painted brick is pretty.

CV
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