Ah, the fireplace. Its timeless appeal makes it the heart of the home. But if yours hasn’t had an update since the mid-80s, you may feel like you have a decor dinosaur looming in your midst. No one needs a mantel that remembers when shoulder pads were cool! Luckily, there are plenty of ideas to welcome your fireplace into this century—and transform it into a living room statement piece.

Give Your Brick Hearth a Wash

Nothing can top the stately panache of brick, but bright red isn’t exactly the hippest color choice. To give your brick facade an antique, industrial twist, give it a wash using this whitewashing technique. The before-and-after speaks for itself!

Floor-to-Ceiling Shiplap

Rustic wood is everything right now, especially when it’s shiplap. Give your boards some room to breathe by extending the mantel right up to the ceiling—that will provide space to display the pieces in all their variegated splendor. Want to get the look on the cheap? Faux paneling cut from MDF offers an affordable DIY alternative.

Before installation of any combustable materials like Shiplap, please ensure the clearance to combustible materials outlined in the installation manual for the product in question have been observed. Please check with your installation manual and the local codes regarding placement of any combustable finishing materials near or around your fireplace. If you are unsure, a licensed Napoleon Installation Professional – your closest local dealer – will be able to help you. 

Turn Your Brick on Its Head

Looking for something slightly subtler? Your standard brick gets a geometric flourish from herringbone patterning. It’s an especially great option for an outdoor fireplace, where materials need to be able to stand up to the weather. You can even give a brick fireplace a shakeup by just turning the bricks on their end instead of opting for the traditional horizontal pattern.

Go Gray

Gray is definitely having a moment in home decor, so much that some designers have dubbed it the new beige. It’s just so versatile. Pale ashes can lift and refresh a space as well as any white, while dark charcoals give your room an imposing and dark feel, as seen in this photo. This spot looks like the perfect spa bathroom; nice and relaxing.

Hand Paint Your Tile

Handmade tile bears an unmistakable artistry, and has the potential to elevate a boring hearth space to a Pinterest-worthy look. But it’s not exactly easy to swing on a budget. That’s what spurred one homeowner to make her own by painting plain ceramic tiles. It may be a little time-consuming, but the end result is truly one-of-a-kind.

Wall-to-wall Cabinets

Thanks to Netflix, our DVD collections are dwindling, and that means our shelving space can finally take a breather. Turn your fireplace into a decor standout by installing custom shelves that run the full length of the wall—and topping them with meaningful, eye-catching pieces like photos, artwork, and houseplants. This is a perfect place to work in dramatic accent colors like cerulean, crimson, or orange. Stash a few books and an armchair nearby, and you’ll be all set come winter. The only problem is, you may never want to leave!

Erin Vaughan from Modernzine.com

Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner.  She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize.com, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.