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How to Make a Fireplace Hearth (for non working fireplaces)

You might remember seeing a glimpse of this project back when I did the reader room makeover. It was one of my favorite projects I completed for the space, and one of those things that I would totally do again, in another home.It's very easy to do (with very limited materials) AND extremely budget-friendly. Bonus! It utilizes materials that you can find at most home improvement stores (both Lowes and Home Depot had a variation of the same material I used), so it's accessible as well.SO! If you're looking for a DIY fireplace project, specifically an idea for updating the fireplace hearth, this tutorial is for you. Just keep in mind it's for non-working fireplaces only.
IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE GETTING STARTED: As I said before, it's important to mention that the fireplace I decorated for this project is a NON WORKING fireplace. This project is intended for NON WORKING fireplaces ONLY. Do not try this project on a working fireplace. You don't want anything flammable near a working fireplace.
Total Time3 hrs
Keyword: diy, fireplace, fireplace hearth, home improvement, painting, tile
Yield: 1 fireplace hearth
Author: Brittni
Cost: $7


  • cut to length vinyl sheet flooring available in rolls at home improvement stores
  • desired base color use paint and primer in one I used a flat finish interior paint.
  • desired accent / detail color paint For the accent paint color, I actually used a high quality acrylic paint (that I already had), instead of an interior paint.
  • paint brushes I used a 2 inch brush for the larger areas and a small detail brush for the design
  • sealant for vinyl flooring optional
  • adhesive The type of adhesive you use will depend on whether you want something temporary or more permanent. See step 5 in the instructions for a list of possible adhesives.


Step 1: Cut the vinyl sheet down to size.

  • With the vinyl sheet, I ended up getting a little more than I needed. This particular fireplace hearth is pretty small, which really helped cut down on the cost of materials.
  • I had to cut around certain details in the fireplace that weren't exactly squared off, level, or even. It's an old, quirky fireplace. I found that cutting the larger piece down to the approximate size (slightly larger) and then cutting it to exact size from there made it easier for me. I did some tracing around a couple of areas that weren't movable (like a pipe and the uneven bricks, etc) and then made my final cuts from there.

Step 2: Paint the vinyl surface the base color of the faux tile.

  • Next step is to paint the surface the base color of the faux tile (in my case, white). Because the pattern on the vinyl sheet is light and already in a tile shape, I'm using those faux grout lines as the grout lines for my tile as well and just not painting that part. See photo.
  • Wait for the first coat of paint to fully dry and then add a second coat of paint if needed. You'll most likely need two coats of paint for the base color. I did two coats for mine and it made a big difference to do the second coat - the color was brighter and overall much more even after the second coat.
  • I used a flat finish interior paint (paint and primer in one) for the base tile color and it worked great.

Step 3: Paint the tile design in a new color.

  • Once the final layer of base coat is dry, you can start painting your final tile design. For this part of the design, I used an acrylic paint (and mixed two colors together to get the final color I was hoping for, to match one of the colors in the rug).
  • But you can use interior wall paint instead, if you prefer. I just happen to have the acrylic paint already and didn't want to spend an additional money.
  • And because so one will be walking on this faux tile for the most part, since it's on a fireplace hearth, the acrylic shouldn't be an issue.
  • For the design, I just free-handed a geometric pattern with a small brush, being careful to avoid the 'grout' lines. I did have to do two coats of this as well for each shape in the design. So just do one coat, wait for it to dry fully and then apply a second coat if needed.

Step 4: (Optional) Apply sealant.

  • If desired, apply a vinyl sealant (I prefer matte sealants, but you can use whatever you like) to the entire 'tile' surface. I am writing this step as optional because it's not going to be getting walked on much (if at all), so the sealant doesn't seem as important to add for this particular project.

Step 5: Install finished vinyl sheet on fireplace hearth.

  • Once dry, it's ready to install. The vinyl sheet can be attached in a variety of ways - from a releasable, pressure-sensitive adhesive (permanent) to a more temporary solution, like double sided tape, sticky foam tabs, etc.
  • Because this was a rental, I opted for a temporary solution for sticking the vinyl down (using sticky painter's tape underneath, on the sides and corners that could possibly curl up).


Can you recreate this project in a working fireplace?

NO! Vinyl is not fireproof, so you would not want to try this project on a working fireplace. Non working fireplaces only.

Could you try this DIY fireplace hearth with vinyl tiles instead of vinyl sheeting?

Yes! On a non working fireplace, you can. In the case of the reader room makeover, the hearth was not level, so tiles would have looked messy and uneven. The vinyl sheet in this case was great because it has some flexibility and looks clean / minimal on the uneven hearth.
But if you have a level hearth that just needs an update, you can try vinyl tiles instead. I actually have two tutorials for painting vinyl tile. I've used it as flooring AND as a backsplash option. See big post above for links.

Is the vinyl hearth easily removable if you're renting?

Yes! As long as you use a temporary adhesive (like tape, foam stickys, etc), it's super easy to remove. Very renter-friendly!

Are the books hard to find when you want to pull one out to read it?

Yes and no. The books in the fireplace are mainly there as decorative storage. Many of those books have already been read, so they don't need to be accessed on a daily basis.  That said, I would recommend that you store you're go-to books toward the top of the pile, if this will be your only book storage. This makes things much easier to find and put back as well. Much more difficult to grab a book from the very bottom and put it back in that same spot when you're done reading. Haha.
Also, if you keep the spines facing out, the books will be very easy to find. I just personally prefer the look of the pages facing out, rather than the spines. It's a decorative decision, not a practical one.