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DIY Fireplace Makeover Ideas on a Budget That Anyone Can Do!

Learn how to paint a mantel and update an old brick fireplace

Are you looking for an easy and inexpensive way to makeover your living room? Here I will share our DIY fireplace update that stayed on budget. I LOVE when DIY projects are budget-friendly!!!!

We had a REALLY big problem or at least a first world problem. In the scheme of things, it wasn’t the worst problem to have. However, my dated fireplace just drove me crazy. But I knew I had to figure out a way to create a DIY fireplace update that would be very inexpensive. Our family room is one of those spaces we spend a ton of time and I am shocked we hadn’t figured out a way to update the fireplace sooner.

We recently added a wonderful new screened-in porch to our house off of our family room. While I would love to say this was a DIY project, it was anything but. Because we hired people to do construction, it was not cheap.

So any other extra projects truly needed to be DIY and for as little money as possible. In addition to updating the fireplace, we also mounted our TV and created our own DIY corner shelf.

It is crazy how a simple TV mount and doing some quick and easy painting can really makeover a living room.

For the first time in a long time, we left the construction to actual professionals for our outdoor space addition. I will let you know the products we used in the near future in case you are looking to add a new deck or screened-in porch on yourself. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE how our new porch and deck came out!

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here. 

What is the easiest way to makeover a fireplace or space?

You may be shocked on this one, but I am going to say that paint is the easiest way to makeover your brick fireplace or mantel.

(Yea, I know you aren’t shocked, we use paint around here ALL the time).

I do love DIY painting projects. If you are pressed for time or just looking for a quick way to update your living room the paint is the way to go. We simply painted our oak mantel white and used some spray paint to update the fireplace cover.

And at the end of this, you will see a little bit more labor-intensive red brick fireplace makeover than my sister-in-law did. This is still a DIY painting project which makes it is a home DIY project that keeps you on a budget!

Updating our fireplace mantel with paint

Now was my time to figure out some good DIY projects to help update our space so that the outdoor and indoor spaces worked together! One of the first projects we knew we HAD TO DO was to do a small DIY fireplace makeover.

Oak mantle on stone fireplace with gold and black fireplace cover

When we moved into this house, everything was OAK! I know…no one wants that oak in their house. We have painted molding, doors, gel stained and painted cabinets and pillars to update our home. Once our screened-in porch was complete, our fireplace mantle that was OAK stood out like a sore thumb. I held off painting if for so long because it truly was a nice piece of wood… 

BUT…now we finally did this easy fireplace makeover within a few hours of work.

DIY Mantel Makeover

Supplies to paint mantel


-Fine sandpaper

Painter’s Tape (for more detailed work like I needed for my hexagon or painted accent walls, I always recommend this brand).

-Paintbrush (I love using this brand)

Bonding Primer

White Latex Enamel Paint

How to paint oak fireplace mantel white

1. Lightly sand with the grain of the wood. This is to clean up any debris and will help the primer stick. When I say this is an easy DIY fireplace makeover, I can say this because you need to just lightly sand. If you had to sand this whole mantel, it would almost be impossible because of all the grooves and small spaces.

Fine sand paper being used to lightly rough up oak mantle before painting for DIY fireplace makeover

2. Using a soft cloth or paper towel, pour some of the deglosser on and rub it all over the oak wood. I ABSOLUTELY use this product all the time to prep surfaces. You can see how I used this deglosser to prep a midcentury modern dresser or chalk-painted furniture before their DIY furniture makeovers!

Oak mantle using a deglosser to prep for painting

3. Carefully apply the bonding primer to clean wood. The most important part of this part of the project is that you make sure to cover everything while not allowing it to drip. It will not be super pretty, yet, but it will be covered with the primer.

Begin using primer to paint mantle to redo fireplace

4. I ended up painting this mantel during my kids’ naps for three different days. You could do this DIY fireplace makeover in one day, you just have to make sure each layer of primer or paint has dried before going to the next layer.

Half of oak mantle primed with the other part still needed to be primed

Therefore, because I waited a day in between each step, I knew my primer was dry. I painted two coats of latex white enamel paint to create a finished DIY mantel makeover.

What paint should you use to paint a fireplace mantel?

In the past, we have used Sherwin Williams Proclassic white enamel paint in semi-gloss and Behr white enamel. However, after repainting our kitchen cabinets, I would recommend Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel to paint your oak mantel. The Proclassic line worked really well, but this newer Emerald paint has such an amazing finish.

Read more>>>Pick the Right White Paint For Oak

Two coats of white latex enamel paint for DIY fireplace update

A few DIY mantel painting tips

  • Use caulk to fill any gaps in your mantel if needed before priming. There is one small spot in the picture above, but for the most part, my fireplace mantel did not need caulking.
  • Place brush in a sealed large ziploc bag when not using. This way you only have to wash a brush once. *Don’t be like me and forget about them or else it can be a little more difficult to paint.
  • Paint with the wood grain for a nice and smooth look.

Update your fireplace like a pro

An EASY fireplace cover makeover

Next on the list for our DIY fireplace makeover was the fireplace cover. New ones can be very expensive and they aren’t always the easiest to remove. We know because we removed the one at our last house.

My husband also hated the brass or gold accents on the ’90’s fireplace cover. I told him gold is coming back…

But we have brushed nickel everywhere else so it made sense to use one of our favorite DIY supplies to change that up. Here you can see my husband took the cover off and taped the metal accents.

Old fireplace cover getting spray painted to update fireplace cover with silver spray paint and taped out to only get the metal on the cover

He used this spray paint to carefully add two smooth coats of paint. This was such a simple and easy DIY fireplace cover makeover that I can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner.  Just peel the tape off carefully and you have a new fireplace cover for almost nothing!

However, some of you were probably wondering how our glass stayed clean when we only had paper towels to cover…

Painter's tape starting to be removed after spray painted fireplace cover makeover

It did not stay clean, we needed to learn how to quickly clean the spray paint off the glass. Luckily we were able to come up with a simple solution to our problem. Be sure to check out how we removed the spray paint here!

Silver metal and black fireplace cover and DIY white painted mantel with brown stone fireplace

And here is our easy fireplace makeover!

Related “Oak” reading

Check out all of our DIY projects (9 of them!) that helped us update our home by updating of the oak trim, cabinets and doors in our home.

Future Ideas for our DIY Fireplace Makeover

I love how our finished mantel and updated fireplace cover look. This was just enough to help refresh our living room cheaply. However, I am still not sold on the brown-colored stone that makes up our fireplace.

I watched several other DIY videos and read several other DIY blogs about how to gray or whitewash our fireplace stone. Most of the information I have found showed successful red brick getting painted, or whitewashed.

I am not 100% sure if these DIY paint techniques will work on the rough fireplace stone I have. I also believe it will be pretty messy and a much bigger undertaking than just the easy DIY fireplace update I did to help makeover my family room.

Fireplace makeover #2: How to paint red brick

So our simple fireplace update of painting the mantel and updating the cover is a great and easy weekend DIY project. But as promised earlier, now I can show you this amazing before and after pictures of red brick getting painting white.

DIY Fireplace makeover using white paint

Another AMAZING DIY fireplace makeover

My sister-in-law really worked wonders on her red brick fireplace makeover. In the picture below, you can see how the brick has similar colors to my brown-colored stone.

Farmhouse house inspired fireplace makeover

Brown/red Brick fireplace before fireplace makeover

She did an AMAZING job painting her fireplace to give her whole living room a brand new feel. She used ArborCoat White Solid Stain and highly recommends it to anyone who is debating about giving their fireplace a DIY makeover.

I also have read great reviews on this product to use to help update your fireplace.

White paint being applied as DIY fireplace makeover idea

Tips to Painting Red Brick Fireplace (and maybe one day my stone fireplace)

The biggest factor that my sister-in-law said to consider was that you must apply this paint in layers and be patient. She was nervous to paint at first but just went with it. For her finished whitewashed fireplace, she said it took around 3 layers of paint. Didn’t she do a FABULOUS JOB?!

Finished White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Now if only I can figure out how to do this to our stone, I will really have created an awesome living room update with a fireplace makeover.

If you are interested in other ways to have a fireplace updated by fireplace brick makeover, make sure to check out a few of these resources above or check out my DIY Painting Techniques Pinterest board. Here I am saving information on other possible ways to transform a fireplace.

We hope these DIY fireplace makeover ideas inspire you to update your living room cheaply!

Follow us on Pinterest or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

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Trina Welch

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Looks great! You did a great job.


Thursday 8th of August 2019

Thank you. We love when a little paint can really update a space.


Wednesday 7th of August 2019

I absolutely love what you did! Keeper!


Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi, Anges. Thanks. We love it when a simple DIY paint technique can help update a space.


Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi, Anges. Thanks. We love when a simple DIY paint technique can help update a space.

Derek| The Money Family

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Looks great! I love painting over that old oak style. It totally transforms the room.


Thursday 8th of August 2019

Hi Derek. Thanks for the kind comment. We are slowly getting rid of all the OAK in our house! Oak has got to go!


Tuesday 30th of July 2019

I absolutely love DIYs and this one is simply good.


Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Thanks, Supriya! I love when DIY projects can update a space while staying on budget!


Monday 29th of July 2019

You did a fabulous job! Well done! And great step by step instructions!


Monday 29th of July 2019

Hi Jaimi! Thanks for the kind words. I love when easy DIY projects can really help transform a space. The paint really works wonders!


Monday 29th of July 2019

Hi Jaimi! Thanks for the kind words. I love when easy DIY projects can really help transform a space. Paint really works wonders!

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