Are you looking for an easy and inexpensive way to makeover your living room? Painting just one thing in space can give it a fresh look. Learn how to paint a fireplace mantel white to help update your living room.
We recently added a wonderful new screened-in porch to our house off of our family room. From our living room you would look out at this new construction.
It definitely made our old oak mantel look even more dated compared to the fresh white and gray built porch.
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.
Here are the steps we used to paint our oak mantel white and fireplace cover.
Updating Our Fireplace Mantel
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.
The “Before” Oak Mantel
When we moved into this house, everything was OAK! I know no one wants all that orange oak in their house.
Once our screened-in porch was complete, our fireplace mantle that was OAK stood out like a sore thumb.
How To Paint Oak Fireplace Mantel White
Step 1: Sand Mantel
Lightly sand with the grain of the wood. This is to clean up any debris and will help the primer stick. Your goal is to just scuff up the surface to help your primer adhere.
Step 2: Use A Deglosser
Using a soft cloth or paper towel, pour some of the deglosser on and rub it all over the oak wood. We use this product all the time to prep surfaces before painting.
Step 3: Apply Primer
Carefully apply the bonding primer to the 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.
You can also paint with a small foam roller for the larger flat areas. This will help you get a smoother finish.
Step 4.: Let Primer Dry
I ended up painting this mantel during my kids’ naps on 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.
Step 5: Use Latex Enamel Paint
Paint two coats of latex white enamel paint to create a finished DIY mantel makeover. Orignally we used Sherwin Williams ProClassic Latex Enamel in Pure White.
We now recommended Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel when painting oak.
This product was amazing to work with when we painted our oak kitchen cabinets white.
Read more>>>Pick the Right White Paint For Oak
Optional Cheap Fireplace Update Idea
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.
Use Spray Paint On Your Cover
Tape off areas you won’t want to get paint on and use heat-resistant spray paint to change the metal color to fit your style.
Use spray paint to add two smooth coats of paint carefully.
This was such a simple and easy DIY fireplace cover makeover using spray paint. 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!
Learn From Our Mistake
Don’t use paper towels to protect your glass. The spray paint did leak through. Luckily we were able to come up with a simple solution to our problem.
See how we removed the spray paint here
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.
In the past, we have used Sherwin Williams Proclassic White Enamel Paint in semi-gloss.
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.
Yes, Benjamin Moore Advance is a similar product to SW Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel.
If you are concerned about grain, then we recommend a product called Aquacoat Grain Filler. You apply it in thin layers before you begin primer and sand it to a smooth finish.
Yes, you will get wonderful results if you know what you are doing. Since our mantel wasn’t that big we were very happy using a quality paint brush and small foam roller.
Painted White Oak Mantel
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.
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 am not 100% sure if these DIY paint techniques will work on the rough fireplace stone I have. For now, we are happy with our more modern-looking and white fireplace mantel.
How To Paint An Oak Fireplace Mantel White
- Small Foam Roller
- Lightly sand mantel.
- Wipe down surface with deglosser on rag. Make sure mantel is dust free.
- Use bonding primer with a brush and small foam roller to apply primer.
- Let primer fully dry.
- Apply two coats of latex enamel paint using a brush and small foam roller.
- Let fully dry and cure before decorating your white mantel.