The surround and mantle of a fireplace can be painted black using regular indoor latex house paint. You'll need to prepare the surface before you begin and check with any local building codes if your fireplace is in use. If you have a decorative fireplace or your fireplace can't be used for whatever reason, you can safely paint the interior of the fireplace as well. There are special paints made for the interior of the firebox, but painting the exterior is simple and can easily change the appearance of any living space.
Remove old paint with a scraper and wire brush, if necessary. You don't need to scrape all the way down to the brick or wood, you just need to remove any flaking or chipped paint and smooth the surface for an even paint job.
Vacuum the area to remove any dust and paint debris. Make sure the area is thoroughly clean and dry before you begin to paint.
Apply a primecoat with brushes or rollers. Most primers can be used on brick, wood or concrete fireplaces. Check the manufacturer's instructions if in doubt. The primecoat will give you a truer paint colour and provides a smooth, even base. Allow to dry completely.
Paint the fireplace with two thin coats of black paint. Allow to dry between coats. Two thin coats will adhere better than one thick coat and the intensity of the colour will be greater.
Allow the paint to cure completely, sometimes up to a week depending on the paint, before adding decorations or placing objects on the mantle.