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If you’ve purchased a pre-owned home, it may have come with a lot of out-of-date decor. Because fireplaces are built-in, remodeling is usually a more extensive process than simply applying a coat of paint, but if the fireplace is the focal point in a room, the money spent on remodeling may be well worth it. Not only can updating an important focal point increase your daily enjoyment of your home, it can help with resale later on.
Replace Old Materials
Lava rock was cool at one time, but it hasn’t made an attractive fireplace surround in decades. With any luck, it won’t make a return to popularity. Remove old, outdated surrounding material and replace with stone, marble or tile that complements the decor of your home. If your fireplace surround is the floor-to-ceiling type, now may be a good time to replace the bottom half of the fireplace surround with new material, and drywall and paint the remainder of the wall.
Enhance a Plain Fireplace
If the fireplace is simply an opening in the wall with no mantle or a small, insignificant mantle, add molding to the fireplace to create a polished, more expansive finish. Place column molding on each side of the fireplace to make the fireplace area wider, then add a large, decorative mantle above the fireplace that fits over the top of the column molding and extends past the column molding in width. You can add cornice pieces below the mantle directly on the column molding for a more decorative finish.
Some builders have started using molded concrete to create the surround and mantle for fireplaces. Although the sides and mantle of the concrete are usually individual pieces, once placed together, the concrete gives the appearance of one solid unit surrounding the fireplace. The concrete can be painted to match the color scheme of the room, then sealed to prevent staining from ash, if your fireplace is the wood-burning type. For an even more decorative look, add ceramic tile directly onto flat areas of the concrete to tie in the fireplace with other colors in the room.
If your fireplace is the wood-burning type, consider converting it to a gas model. Fireplaces that use gas are cleaner to use and allow you to use the fireplace for short amounts of time without dealing with smothering the fire when you leave the home or retire to bed. You can also place expensive rugs and other decor near a gas-burning fireplace without having to worry about flying embers.