7 Ideas to Take Your Fireplace from Blah to So Hot Right Now

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Sara Watson

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Published on September 29, 2021

If fall and winter had a defining sound, it would be the gentle crackle of a cozy fireplace. While not all of us are lucky enough to have a fireplace, for those of us who do, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves (mine, for the record, has a TV perched on top). Fortunately, a fireplace makeover is incredibly easy to pull off, and incredibly impactful. Since fireplaces are already a major focal point of a room, why not polish them up a bit? Here are a few ideas, straight from the Havenly design team.

For the commitment-phobe: Peel-and-stick tile

white tile fireplace

Getting a dramatic, on-trend aesthetic without any major reno sounds impossible. But hear us out: peel-and-stick tile is the way to go. Opt for a more traditional aesthetic, like subway “tile,” or embrace the opportunity for a fun, dynamic pattern — the geometric motif pictured above is one of our favorites. The benefit of peel-and-stick tile is twofold: you can test out what you like before the work and expense of real tile, or you can swap it out for another easily removable pattern if trends (or your personal tastes) change.

For the farmhouse fan: Shiplap paneling

shiplap fireplace

We know we predicted that limewash is the new shiplap, but that’s not to say shiplap won’t maintain a steady place in a well-designed home. In particular, shiplap is a fantastic, affordable option for fireplace makeover moments. It’s relatively easy to install and radiates warmth and timeless style, particularly in farmhouse and Cali Cool spaces. To make sure your shiplap is in ship-shape, we suggest going for one of two colors: reach for simple, classic white for a clean and minimalist look, or add dramatic contrast by painting the fireplace shiplap a moody shade, like slate black or Hale Navy.

For the luxe enthusiast: Marble threshold

marble fireplace threshold

If a fully marble fireplace isn’t in the cards (or budget), enter the marble threshold. This gives a totally luxe look at a more reasonable price point while creating an undeniably chic look. Choose a dark slab paired with a creamy white fireplace for a study in contrast. You can also choose marble alternatives like quartzite, a natural stone with the sturdiness of granite, or quartz, a man-made material.

For a fresh 'shelfie': DIY mantle

diy fireplace mantle

Adding a mantle is the best way to make space for a styling moment. Whether you choose natural wood or a painted ledge, style it up with artwork, candles, and other decor and mementos to draw the eye upward and complete the vignette. Bonus: this look is highly personalized, adding a tangible touch of you.

For the easiest upgrade ever: A decorative grate

decorative grate

Like the perfect shade of lipstick, a decorative grate ups the style in an instant. For a tonal look, try an iron grate with decorative flourishes. For something more modern, look for a brass grate with geometric pattern. If you’re after a minimalist look, try a tonal, black grate with simple lines.

For the artistic bunch: Two-tone fireplaces

fireplace design

If you’ve got an eye for color, put it to good use by color blocking your fireplace. Paint the mantle and outer edge a contrasting shade to the interior to add depth and dimension to the scene. You can go subtle — such as a taupe and ivory pairing — or choose a more bold pairing. The options are practically endless.

For extra style points: Adjacent shelving

fireplace shelves

Turn a ‘meh’ mantle into a fully styled moment by installing simple shelving on either side. This creates the illusion of built-ins without the fuss or fee of construction work. Plus, you’ll be able to layer in artwork, plants, and decor to elevate your fireplace visual. 

Cozy up to personalized designs of all kinds with a custom floor plan and shopping list tailored to your space. Ready to get started?

Words by Sara Watson