How to Update a Fireplace Surround

Fireplaces are usually the centerpiece of the room where they are located. Many homes built in the 60's and 70's have interesting interpretations of what a fireplace should look like. If your home is in need of a fireplace makeover, updating your fireplace surround can give your whole room a new look. Easy and inexpensive updates can really make a difference.

Decide what look you're going for. Your home may be more contemporary or traditional and you may want a floating mantle or a complete surround. Choose brick, stone or tile.

Determine if repairs need to be made to the entire wall before doing your updates. Paint, replace drywall or cover brick with drywall as needed. Remember the fireplace is the center of a wall, and the entire wall needs to be taken into consideration when planning updates.

Look at fireplace surrounds in magazine and home design books for ideas and update possibilities. Try and find fireplace walls that are comparable to your own setting to make the job easier.

Install faux finishes to bring your fireplace to life. Faux stone can be placed over just about any surface as long as you install a backer board first. Create the look of a stone chimney and fireplace by running the stone all the way to the ceiling in the center of the wall. Use a floating chunky wood mantel for this option to maintain a rustic look and feel.

Tile over old brick surrounds for a smoother finish. Simply anchor tile backer board to the area of brick you want to cover. This is usually the area right around the fireplace inside an existing wood mantel and surround. Use twelve inch tile to fill in the area that used to be brick. Choose a color that will make the fireplace pop when you enter the room.

Purchase a new mantle and surround kit at your home supply center. These kits have everything you need to replace an existing fireplace surround or add one to a wall with no mantel. These range in price from $200-$600 dollars or more, and come in a variety of styles and finishes.

Search antique stores for antique wood mantels and surrounds. These pieces have usually come from wonderful old homes, have great detail and are well crafted. Be sure to measure your fireplace so you know what size mantel you need before going shopping.


When purchasing an antique fireplace surround you may have to do a few repairs prior to installation. Use wood filler to fix any dings or scratches and clean and polish thoroughly.

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