Our DIY Fireplace Makeover Phase 1

Justin and I were watching Dexter one night in our family room, and he blurted out, 'we should paint our fireplace.' I was a little shocked that those words came out of his mouth, as usually I am the one who decides on house projects on the fly. But, I was happy to oblige. We talked about it for several days, and then decided to go for it.

Our family room has gone through some changes lately. I'm not sure if it's because my taste is maturing or if I'm just craving a change, but I have wanted this room to look more polished, if you will. I thought Justin's suggestion of painting the mantel/hearth would certainly help with this endeavor.

The best thing is that the 'Phase 1' stage didn't cost us one cent. We already had the materials on hand. Score!

Here's how we did it-

How to Refinish Your Wood Fireplace Mantel
1. Gather Materials. You will need a deglosser, sander/sand paper (we sanded by hand but a sander would come in handy), primer and paint. Prepare the space.

For this, we used my trusty Zinsser oil-based primer that is made to cover any surface, including glossy.

We also used my favorite type of paint, Behr's Ultimate Paint-And-Primer-In-One color matched to our trim, which was left over from our recent guest bath makeover.
2. Degloss and sand. We found it worked best to use the liquid deglosser first. It's very simple, you simply wipe on with an old rag or -shirt and let dry for 10 minutes. This helped remove some of the poly, but the mantel was still pretty shiny. Justin then hand sanded, ensuring that every speck was dull, meaning the coats of poly had been removed and the surface was ready to be primed.
3. Prime. I strongly suggest using an oil-based primer, specifically Zinsser or Kilz brand. This will ensure that the primer will stick to the entire surface, in case you missed a small area of poly that regular latex paint won't stick to. This will also cover the wood grain pretty well.

4. After your primer has dried (we allowed 6 hours), we lightly sanded again. This will ensure that the surface is nice and smooth.
5. Paint! We ended up doing a total of 3 coats, lightly sanding between each one to ensure an even and smooth finish. Due to all of the detail, we used my favorite 2 inch short-handled angled paint brush, which I have blogged about before. This little brush does a great job of getting in every crevice. We also used a mini-roller for the top of the mantel. We allowed a day in between each coat of paint, so it was fully dry before the next coat. The waiting is the hardest part!

6. Step back and admire how much brighter your room looks!
 Besides the redoing the fireplace, we have added sheer window panels over our windows, added a new accent table and upgraded our media cabinet. The room is finally coming together!

One more Before and After for full effect-

I understand that people seem to have strong feelings one way or the other about painting wood. I appreciate stained wood, and I am not one to think that every piece of wood furniture should be painted. However, in this case, the soft white color really brightens up the room and looks a bit more formal and polished, to us anyway.
Phase 2- Next up is replacing the fireplace surround tile. I've got the gorgeous replacement tile picked out, we just have to wait for a free weekend to do it. Since we are getting married in a matter of a few short weeks, it may be September by the time we get to it. I'm learning patience really is a virtue...
Hope you have a fabulous week!


  1. Hi Suzanne! Random comment, but my brother-in-law Matt(who did your engagement sessions recently) sent me your blog as he knows I'm a big blogger and I just spent 20 minutes looking through all of your pictures! I love, love, love your new foyer chandelier and all of the changes you've made to your home. Can't wait to follow along and see more of what you do. We currently live in Cleveland but can't wait to get back to KC someday so I love finding more KC bloggers to follow! :) Have a great week!
    Our Journey

  2. Glad to hear everything is going Online Fireplace Store well. Sounds as if you're making good time and I've still got to clean the beams yet!

  3. Amazing giveaway! The DIY fireplace looks perfect I must say. By going through your blog I am memorizing my old days when I and my family members used to sit near fireplace. That fireplace was the best place for our family gatherings. It was fun and exciting. Now, we have installed a new Nagle fireplace for our house. The new fireplace we have bought is quite featured and attractive. We have placed it in our backyard section.

  4. I found this post to be very informative and helpful. I will have to recommend you to my friends.

  5. The house is beautiful and the post is nice. All are great. Thank the article! Please share with me your next posts. woodworkingtoolkit


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