While brick fireplaces can be classic centrepieces in traditionally styled rooms, homeowners who prefer a more modern look may find the bricks too dated. Covering the bricks can completely transform a room and give the space a more contemporary look. There are several options for covering a brick fireplace, so homeowners should be able to find a method that meets their taste and budget.
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Many homeowners who want to change the look of their brick fireplace choose to cover the entire structure with a wooden mantelpiece. A wooden mantle has a classic, formal feel that many people prefer for their living room. Mantelpieces may be purchased premade from a variety of home improvement stores or speciality companies, and come in a wide range of styles and woods, including poplar, cherry, red oak and mahogany. The wood can be stained or painted to match the colour scheme of the room as well. Some brickwork may be left exposed around the fireplace opening, if desired.
For an interesting, colourful look, consider covering your brick fireplace with tile. In most cases, this is an easy project that homeowners can do themselves. Tile may be purchased in a variety of colours, patterns and finishes, and allows a great deal of design customisation because the homeowner can create a unique pattern with the tiles. When tiling your brick fireplace, it is best to start at the bottom and work your way up. Caulking around the outer edge of the tile work gives the fireplace a more refined, professional look.
If you are interested in covering up the brick in your fireplace and building it out to give it a greater presence in the room, plaster may be the best option. The plaster may be painted in a colour that matches or accents the other shades in the room, and the finish may be customised as well, from rustic and rough to smooth and polished.
For a funky look, consider covering your brick fireplace with sheets of metal. It is a good option for individuals with modern design tastes, and homeowners are usually able to install the metal pieces themselves. Sheet metal comes in variety of textures and finishes so you can tailor the look to fit your style. It is an edgy, unexpected material for fireplaces, which gives the room a unique flair. Homeowners may purchase sheets of metal and have them bent in the corners so they are easy to install around the bricks' edges.
If you like the look of your brick fireplace but want to spice things up, painting is good option. It works particularly well for older brick because it covers up most of the obvious signs of age. Start with an oil-based primer, and choose the paint based on how often you use your fireplace. For active fireplaces, oil-based paint is the best choice, while those that are used infrequently do well with water-based paint. Once the brick is painted, it is extremely difficult to remove the colour so be certain that you want to paint it and choose the shade carefully.
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