Fireplace surrounds can be expensive to replace, costing an average of $400 for a simple wooden facing, to over $1,000 for a stone or metal design. For those wishing to upgrade an existing fireplace on a budget, DIY fireplace surrounds offer an inexpensive, unique alternative. Designs can be as simple or elaborate as desired, and the use of creative materials can save both time and money. Here are some easy, fun ideas to dress up an ugly or boring fireplace.
Cover a plain brick facing with a coat of stucco, and embed sea glass, shells, and interesting pebbles in the cement. For a fossilized look, work in small sections, and instead of embedding the objects, use them to stamp the stucco. Overlap the objects, and vary the pressure used when stamping for a more authentic effect.
Terra cotta tile can also make a beautiful DIY fireplace surround, especially when combined with brass or wrought iron fireplace doors. Simply set the tile in mortar directly over the existing surround. If the existing fireplace has a wood or metal facing instead of brick or stone, remove it, install masonry board, and lay the tile on that instead.
Another option is to refinish the fireplace with paint. Painted surrounds are the easiest and most inexpensive way to update a room; just tape off the edges, including the fireplace doors, and paint. For brick or stone, clean the areas you wish to paint with a weak turpentine wash; for wood, consider sanding the surface before painting.
In contemporary homes, metal sheeting creates a modern, sleek look without much effort. Sheeting can be installed over the current surround, or directly to the wall. For more visual interest, try using two types of metal sheeting-stainless steel and copper, for example, or textured and smooth sheeting. Woven metal strips are also a fun, unique look for modern fireplaces.
Before beginning any DIY project, always make sure to review the instructions, materials list, and skills needed to finish the job. It is often better to leave a project undone than to do it badly. If in doubt, hire a professional, or attempt another project.