A fireplace can be the focal point of any room. As the heart of your home, keeping your fireplace in good condition and up-to-date with the latest trends is important. Whether you want to give your existing fireplace a quick makeover or do a full-on facelift, there are many inexpensive and simple ways to refresh and modernize this space.

Give it a Cleaning

A thorough cleaning can sometimes be all a fireplace needs to look like new again. Soot, smoke damage, and built-up grime can make any fireplace look dirtier and dated. Here are some tips for cleaning a fireplace:

  • Use a wire brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean out loose debris in the firebox.
  • Mix a solution of mild dish soap and warm water and scrub the firebox walls, hearth, mantel and surrounding brick/stone with a soft cloth or brush.
  • For polished metal surfaces on doors or screens, use a metal polish and buff until shiny.
  • Clean glass doors using a spray glass cleaner or mixture of warm water and vinegar.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down the mantel and surrounding decor.

A good deep cleaning can reveal natural textures and colors that have been hidden under years of use.

Whitewash the Brick

Whitewashing a brick fireplace is an easy facelift to make the mantel and hearth look fresh and new again. All it takes is white paint diluted with water for a wash over the existing brick. This removes some of the darker mortar colors and gives the entire space a cohesive refreshed look. Use a limewash so the brick can still breathe.

Install New Doors

One of the fastest ways to give a fireplace an upgraded look is by installing new fireplace doors. New doors can modernize the space and add visual appeal. Try doors in black, nickel, antique brass or bronze finishes for a contemporary style, or natural iron finishes for a more classic look. Clear glass doors also add views of the fire while closed.

Update the Mantel

An outdated mantel can really age the look of a fireplace. Whether you want to stain, paint or replace the mantel, this can make a huge impact. Try staining in a lighter whitewashed or grey washed finish for a weathered modern appearance. Use molding and trim accents on the mantel to add architectural detail. Or replace it entirely with a chunky reclaimed wood mantel beam for a rustic design.

Change the Tile

Replacing the fireplace tile is a straightforward upgrade that instantly modernizes the space. New tile around the firebox opening adds fresh color, shine and design. Opt for neutral colors like white or gray for a current look. Use natural stone tile like marble or travertine for texture. Or go bold with patterned tile or mixed materials and shapes for a trendy style statement.

Install Stone Veneer

Stone veneer panels install right over an existing brick fireplace for a quick and dramatic transformation. Faux stone veneer comes in lightweight panels with realistic textures and colors for a fraction of the cost of real stone. This instant facelift refreshes the look with natural style. Use manufactured stone veneer for a contemporary rustic vibe.

Use High-Heat Paint

High-heat spray paint formulated specifically for fireplaces enables you to change the color of your existing fireplace bricks. This high-temperature paint adheres to firebrick, metal and ceramic surfaces. Simply cleaning and painting the firebox interior and existing brick or stone will provide a quick, inexpensive facelift. Opt for muted blacks, browns, grays, navy or olive greens for an earthy, organic look.

Add Wood Planks

For a cozy cabin vibe, wood planks can be easily applied over an existing fireplace. Using salvaged wood or faux reclaimed wood panels creates texture and warmth. Distressed, whitewashed wood also keeps the space light and airy. The organic, natural look of wood softens hard surfaces and adds rustic character.

Update the Screen

A new fireplace screen can instantly help freshen the look as well. Update an existing one with new paint or metal finishes like bronze, pewter, black or stainless steel. Choose a new screen material like woven mesh or ironwork patterns for contemporary appeal. Go for an industrial metal screen with clean lines and angles to contrast with existing traditional decor.

Add New Decor

Sometimes just updating the decor around the fireplace is all that’s needed for a new look. Remove any clutter or outdated accessories and let the fireplace stand out. Lean large natural wood logs on the side for organic texture. Hang a simple garland across the mantel or add a few carefully placed candlesticks, vases and greenery for a classic arrangement. Use colors like black, gray, tan and brown to complement existing fireplace colors for a pulled together appearance.

With some creativity and elbow grease, any outdated fireplace can be transformed into the stunning focal point it deserves to be. Even simple changes like cleaning, painting or new doors can make this special spot look brand new again. Use these 10 ideas to give your fireplace the facelift it needs. A refreshed fireplace will instantly modernize any room.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fireplace Facelifts

Giving your fireplace a makeover can seem daunting. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about updating your fireplace.

What are some easy ways to update my fireplace on a budget?

Some easy and inexpensive ways to give your fireplace a facelift include cleaning it deeply, applying whitewash, painting the mantel or brick with high-heat paint, replacing just the fireplace doors, adding new screens or accents, or updating decor like adding candles, wood logs or a fresh garland.

What color should I paint my brick fireplace?

Some popular paint colors for fireplaces include white or off-white, light gray, navy, black, bronze, olive green, brown and tan/beige. Stick to high heat spray paint formulated specially for fireplaces. neutrals like white, off-white, gray and tan work well for a clean and current look.

Should I tile over my brick fireplace?

This can modernize the look if done well. Make sure to use materials specifically made for fireplaces, like a backerboard before laying tile. Tiling over brick can be tricky, so consult a professional to ensure it’s done properly. Make sure to use high-heat caulk and materials.

What are some affordable ideas for updating fireplace mantels?

Some budget-friendly ways to update your mantel include refinishing the existing mantel with stain or paint, adding molding accents and trim details, or doing a faux finish technique like whitewashing or lime washing. Refinish or repaint it for a quick update without replacing the whole mantel.

Should I paint my stone fireplace?

Natural stone and masonry materials absorb paint differently than wood or drywall. Use a high-heat spray paint specifically formulated for fireplaces. Some options include specialty masonry paint, concrete paint or enamel paint made for high heat areas. Apply paint in light coats and allow ample drying time.

Is it hard to install stone veneer over existing brick?

Stone veneer panels are designed to be installed right over existing materials, so the process is actually quite straightforward. Stone veneer panels install similarly to tile, using a mortar or adhesive specifically made for this application. You can transform the look with faux stone veneer easily.

How do I make a dated fireplace look modern?

Some ways to make an old fireplace look current include removing ornate details for a simpler style, applying stone or tile, painting the interior black, installing new sleek doors, adding floating wood beam details, and removing heavy trim pieces or mantel legs for a cleaner line.

Should I hire a contractor to update my fireplace?

Some projects like tiling, installing veneers or structural changes do require a contractor experienced in fireplace installation and materials. But many facelift projects like painting, installing new doors or screens or doing cosmetic updates can easily be DIYed by a homeowner. Always consult experts if you have concerns.

Will paint or tile change the way my fireplace functions?

As long as you use the proper materials suited for high heat, the fireplace should function the same after applying tile, stone or paint designed to withstand high temperatures. Make sure to use specialty paints and adhesives so the updates aren’t impacted by the heat. Consult an expert to be sure.

What is the current trend for fireplaces right now?

Some current fireplace trends include clean and contemporary styles instead of ornate details, neutral color palettes and materials like stone or marble, dark tones like black and charcoal for drama, wood plank accents, sleek metal doors and screens, minimalist mantels, and floating shelves flanking the fireplace.

Updating your fireplace can help breathe new life into your home and keep the heart of your house looking its best. With some creativity and these tips, you can give your fireplace the facelift it needs to enhance your space for years to come.


Giving your existing fireplace a facelift is an easy and affordable way to refresh your space. With some simple cleaning, refinishing, cosmetic updates or minor renovations, you can transform your fireplace into a stunning focal point that looks like new. Any outdated or dingy fireplace can benefit from whitewashing, repainting, new tile or doors and updated decor. Just changing a few elements goes a long way in modernizing the look. Follow these 10 ideas for fireplace facelifts to help inspire your own fireplace’s makeover. With a little effort, you can update the heart of your home.