This was such an inexpensive - and easy! - way to update the fireplace and modernize the entire living room.
There were three major steps to this affordable fireplace makeover:
- Convince Hubby to let me paint the faux stone dark grey
- Paint the metal fireplace doors and vents with Rustoleum high heat enamel spray paint
- Paint the fireplace faux stone and sauna wood
Prepping the Fireplace Stone for Paint
The fireplace "stone" is really just concrete with random bits of stuff thrown in it so it looks a little like stone. It wouldn't have offended me so much if it didn't have 80s pink hues blended in. I had read conflicting suggestions on how-to websites about the right kind of paint to use on concrete. I decided to play it safe and went to the Home Depot in search of masonry paint but a) the colour choices were really limited and b) they were out of the dark bases anyway. Happily, the woman working the paint department confirmed that I could just to use a plain old paint + primer combo (I used Behr premium plus).
Before painting, I cleaned the stone. I had planned to use a shop vac, but I had a little mishap. My Dad suggested I clean out the fireplace with it as well, so I did that first. I checked quickly to make sure that what I was cleaning wasn't being pumped back into the room and all was good. I turned back to the fireplace and, engrossed in my work (and patting myself on the back for the sparkling clean fireplace I was seeing), I didn't turn around until I heard the smoke detector. When I turned around, the air was so thick with ash debris I could barely see the kitchen. I had successfully deposited the contents of the fireplace onto our freshly painted white walls. A million swiffer cloths plus a new coat of paint later and it's now a funny story, but to clean the faux stone I just used a brush because it was much less dangerous.
Painting the Fireplace Stone
Once I had brushed off all the of the dust and loose concrete bits, I started painting. Using a 2" angled brush I worked in small areas, brushing the paint into the seams and then loading up my brush with paint and squishing it in to every nook and cranny of the faux stone.
I basically pushed the paint into the stone, using a similar stippling motion as I would use for a stencil. Then I swept the brush across the stone I was working on to catch any drips. This way, although I totally trashed a lovely brush by the end, I was able to do the fireplace with one coat. I just did a few touch ups at the end, adding paint to places I missed. For the whole wall (including the wood, stone, mantles, and firewood storage cubby to the right), I used almost a gallon of paint.
It took me a few afternoons of work, because I would get tired of the task and take a break and work on something else. If you had a second set of hands, you could easily knock this project out on a weekend - maybe even an afternoon if your fireplace is smaller than mine.
Where the faux stone met the walls, and also where it met the metal vents, was tricky because the edges are uneven but so close to the wall I couldn't even slide newspaper or tape beside it to protect the wall. A very small paintbrush from my art supplies box came in handy to apply paint to the edges with more control.
It's hard to photograph the fireplace because depending on the lighting, the grey really morphs into different shades. Please ignore how much disheveled the living room is - we're getting there!
Picking a Paint Colour + Finish for the Fireplace
When I first broached the subject of a painted fireplace, a few readers were worried the faux stone would look "flat," and I took this warning under consideration. As a result, I wanted a paint finish with a bit of "life," so I went with a satin finish and it's perfect. The light catches the facets of the faux stone and it kind of has a subtle glimmer throughout the day, keeping it from having that matte "painted" look. The nicest part is the colour looks different as the light catches it, so sometimes it looks like I used a few variations of the same shade.
At first I had a hard time finding the deep, dark shade of grey I wanted and we pondered so many swatches, but in the end I chose Evening Hush (770F-6), by Behr (Beluga was my second choice, but a smidge too dark we thought). As a bonus, it was Hubby-approved. Perfect.
|My Mom, pondering some grey swatches|
More living room updates soon, as soon as the living room looks more like a living room.
UPDATE: See the "finished" (when is a home ever done?) space on The Lakehouse Tour. Here's a sneak peek: