Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 22, 2016

5 Reasons to Love a Dark Grey or Black Fireplace + 10 Dark Fireplaces to Love

When we first stepped foot in the lakehouse, I spotted the wall to wall fireplace and immediately pictured painting out the pine wood paneling and discolored concrete "stone" a deep, charcoal grey.  I wanted a modern, dark grey fireplace to help balance all of the creamy whites and bold shades of aqua I was dreaming about.

Nearly three years later, Hubby and I both love our DIY charcoal grey painted fireplace!  Over the years, dozens of readers have written to me to say they were inspired by our fireplace and painted theirs a striking shade of grey too (varying from light grey to a near-black, like ours).  Sometimes it's so helpful to see someone else try something before taking the plunge and I'm happy to be a guinea pig!  I was certainly inspired by other dark grey fireplaces I saw online and it gave me the confidence to give it a try.  Stories like these remind me why I started blogging in the first place: to connect with other DIY-driven folks with small budgets but big ideas!

Dark grey painted fireplace

Pros and Cons of a Dark Grey Fireplace:

A dark fireplace, however, is not for everyone.  Although some folks have seen our fireplace, grabbed a paint brush and busted out a makeover in a weekend, others have sent me photos of their "before," asking for my input and whether I think a dark grey fireplace will work with their decor.  At the end of the day, I think the most important question to ask is, "do you love it?".  In the case of my fireplace makeover, it's just paint - as long as you're committed to painting it (because stripping paint is miserable work), trying a different, lighter color will only take a little patience and a gallon of paint.  So the best advice I can give is, "try it, you might like it!".
Because that's a little wish-washy, I also make an effort to explain why I think the dark fireplace works for us:  we have tall ceilings, an open concept lay out, and lots of natural light in the living room, which keeps the dark grey from making the room feel small or dark.  In a smaller room, a dark fireplace might be overwhelming - but it could also help create a feeling of coziness when paired with the right decor:

Charcoal grey fireplace
Vogue Living
It really boils down to the look you're trying to create.

Another reason I love our dark grey fireplace is that the dark grey is picked up elsewhere in the house (like the floor tile in our new bathroom), so it feels cohesive as you move from room to room.  In fact, I'm planning on adding this same hue to the kitchen (any guesses where???).  Painting the fireplace dark grey was also a great way to determine if we like the look of a dark grey fireplace, before dropping thousands of dollars on something like slate. 

We're definitely sold on a dark grey fireplace - there are plenty of reasons to love it!

5 Reasons to Love a Dark Grey Fireplace:

1.  A Dark Dark Fireplace Grey Hides Soot and Ash:
One of the many perks of a dark grey fireplace is that the color hides dust and ash, which showed on the natural concrete of our old fireplace.  If we hadn't spotted that staining, I might have been tempted to paint the brick teal (because teal) or maybe white to match the walls (like this stunner - a white fireplace really does look very crisp and airy).

My Domaine
But knowing our fireplace had the tendency to get a bit smokey was good information and our color of choice disguises this flaw perfectly!  

2.  A Charcoal Grey Fireplace Suits Any Style:
The interesting thing about peeking into so many readers' homes is that I've noticed how versatile charcoal grey is!  A charcoal grey fireplace looks equally at home in a modern space as it does a more traditional room.  No matter your style or taste, you can make a dark grey - or even black - fireplace work!

Apartment Therapy
Black fireplace
via My Domaine
Nina Dobrev's Living Room
via My Domaine
Modern dark grey fireplace design
3.  A Painted Grey or Black Fireplace Adds Drama to a Room:
Having never before tried a bold accent wall, I grew unexpectedly attached to the statement our dark grey fireplace makes.  I love that it became the focal point of our living room and I'm definitely considering dark grey stone for our eventual fireplace renovation to keep the bold look. 

4.  A Dark Grey Fireplace is a Great Backdrop
I love a white wall (obviously) because it provides such a crisp backdrop for furnishings and artwork, but there's something to be said for a dark fireplace (and dark accent walls) because they really make colors POP.  Even whites seem whiter and earth tones seems earthier against a rich, dark background.  And look at how vivid turquoise looks!

Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson dark grey fireplace
Emily Henderson
Aqua malm wood burning stover
Apartment Therapy
As an added bonus, dark fireplaces help disguise televisions.  In our new living room arrangement, the corner TV is less prominent thanks to our charcoal grey fireplace and, in rooms where the TV is mounted above the fireplace, a black screen really blends in with a nearly-black fireplace.

White living room with dark grey fireplace

5.  A Dark Grey Fireplace is Timeless
I'm not one to throw the "oh, this is a classic" line around because I think that's what everyone was saying about the forest green bathtubs you could buy in the 1980s - no one dreamed that one day, a new generation of design-savvy home owners would take a sledge hammer to so many design elements deemed "classic" back then.  I once chatted with an antiques dealer who told me that in the 1980s, he had to throw away a lot of the 1950s/1960s furniture we clamor for today because no one would buy it - it was just too "dated."  Now we call mid-century modern design timeless, but at one point you couldn't give it away, for love nor money.  

Some things, however, do stand the test of time and I think a dark grey or black fireplace is one of those things because it's so versatile and works with so many design styles. 

Warm dark grey painted fireplace
The Brick House
Modern fireplace design
Home Adore
midcentury modern fireplace
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design
Have you painted your fireplace a rich grey or tackled a more expensive dark and moody fireplace renovation?  If you have - or you see any gorgeous dark grey or black fireplaces - tag me on Instagram because I'd love to see!

5 Reasons to Love a Dark Grey or Black Fireplace PLUS 10 Dark Fireplace to Love |


  1. 6. it hides the TV! i LOVE that i don't walk into my living room to have the TV be the first thing i notice... it's the black fireplace! :) love yours so much and great round up.

    1. Yes, your TV totally disappears! Mine blends too, even though it's in the corner. Blogger brain freeze! I totally forgot about yours while writing this post.

  2. It took me 12 years to work up the nerve to paint the brick fireplace in our kitchen. I agree 100% on point #1, grey will find the soot and smoke. I painted ours tan and that will change next year when we renovated the kitchen, I am thinking grey metallic subway style tiles or slate.

    Can we talk about those pictures showing all that wood stored in the house? Does anyone really do that?

    We have two houses (main and a weekend cottage and burn fireplaces in both at least six months a year and there is no way I would store any amount of wood inside the house. The bugs alone are enough of a hassle. Once we had a bat hitch a ride on a piece of firewood and it came out of hibernation after it warmed up in the living room.

    1. Oooo, either of those tile choices sound great! Do I recall you saying you'd be on Instagram soon so I could see??

      That wood cubby is normally 100% packed with firewood - two rows! We've never brought in bugs or bats (that is hilarious), but a friend did have problems with red fire ants in her delivery of birch firewood (that was in Ottawa, though). Hubby grew up with a wood burning fireplace and there was always wood inside. I asked if he had any theories on why we've been so lucky. We don't know! Maybe it's too damn cold here, lol. There are a lot of buggies (like centipedes) that do not exist where I live. But we definitely store wood inside, all year long. I hope you haven't jinxed us, haha!

  3. I have been a fan of painted brick for a long time, but it was seeing your fireplace that that gave me the courage to paint the fireplace at my new Lake house. I love the way that even though your fireplace is huge with the side paneling it doesn't make the room feel heavy. So I have taken the plunge and painted mine a dark blue/gray called Artist's Gray. I'll post something on my Pinterest once it's done (we have to hit some spots that didn't get paint and you can still see the grout).

    I am curious about how many coats of paint you had to use?

    1. I'm so happy to hear that you took the plunge and painted your brick fireplace! Are you thrilled?? I definitely want to see on Pinterest :) Can you send the photo to me when you pin it? I'm @danslelakehouse over there.

      I used one coat of paint, but I applied it REALLY thickly. It was a paint and primer in one (by Behr) and it was a really nice quality paint. I loaded a ton onto my brush and pushed it into the grout lines with a brush and then brushed the paint on each concrete brick. It was a little like stenciling - pushing the paint, instead of brushing. It took some time, but I managed to get it done with one coat, although I did have to go back when it was dry and touch up a few areas, like you. The whole wall took just under a gallon.


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