Another great option is a wood mantel for your fireplace. These are usually much more cost effective than carving stone. There are various dealers of wood fireplace mantels. We normally suggest looking for a hollow mantel that uses a French Cleat to attach it to the wall. If you can, we always suggest hanging the mantel before installing the masonry if possible. This creates a cleaner more refined look. It is not always possible. We would be glad to set an appointment to meet and discuss your options.

There are several things you can do when decorating your fireplace, which can have a dramatic effect on the look of the room while enhancing the value of your home.  Let’s explore various ways to bring your fireplace to life.

The first thing that should be done is to clean the years of soot and grime build-up off the brick.  Once you clear the cavity of grates, andirons, etc., the bricks should be scrubbed with a heavy-bristled brush and a scouring powder with bleach.  The position is awkward and you won’t be able to stay in a good working position for very long.  Take breaks if you start to feel achy.

The smoke and soot should come off fairly easily, but if stains persist, try adding vinegar.   There is a ready-mixed solution called Brick-Anew.  You should be able to find this product at your local hardware store. Or a product called Paint and Peel. you paint on a thick coat , let cure, and peel off removing build-up

Once the bricks are cleaned, you might consider painting the bricks.  This is a very inexpensive fireplace decorating solution.  Any reputable hearth shop will be able to help you select a high temperature paint for the firebrick

When painting the firebrick, make sure you are using high temperature paint. This paint will still need touched up periodically.

Turning to the outside of the fireplace, there are several things you can do which will make a radical change to the appearance of your fireplace.   Once again, painting (or staining) of the outer bricks and wood components is the least expensive thing to do.

Since these outer surfaces are so much more visible than the fireplace cavity, you have to choose colors that will complement the rest of the room.  If you decide to use two colors, the item with the lighter color will be highlighted and seem more prominent.

When decorating the “fireplace,” consider the area above the mantel as well as below it.  Hanging a tapestry or some impressive artwork will be very effective in making the fireplace the focal point of the room.  Since the advent of thin screen TVs, many people hang them over the fireplace.  This solves the problem of having 2 focal points and not having a clear direction for the seating in the room.

In a traditional setting, a wood back panel will accent a painting mounted upon it.  Direct lighting onto the painting is very important.  Pay attention to paintings with lighting shining directly onto them and notice the difference to paintings without the lighting.  The lighting makes a BIG difference.  If you choose to box out the area above the fireplace, you could add a crown molding at the ceiling as well. Something to always remember is when placing combustible items near the fireplace make sure you are not too close to the opening. This could be a fire hazard.

One of the more costly fireplaces decorating options, but one of the most rewarding, is the total replacement of the fireplace mantle.  Adding a new wood mantle to match the decor of your room can do wonders to change the room’s atmosphere.

If you have access to natural gas or propane gas, you could opt to buy the gas log components.  If you’re tired of buying wood and dealing with the mess, this is your answer.  These gas sets can include a venting system which will blow hot air into the room, making these units much more efficient than traditional fireplaces.