A really quick fireplace upgrade that will save you a fortune

When we moved in to our house we knew that we would need to put in a lot of time, effort and money to upgrading what was there. We didn’t buy a total refurb job, we looked at them and decided it would be too much, especially given we were in the very early weeks of pregnancy at the time. So instead we bought a 1990s house that had been carelessly looked after and had barely seen a lick of paint in decades bar the occasional pot of magnolia gloss being slapped on anything from walls to woodwork to ceilings…yes, ceilings! And artex ones too!

One room that needed little immediate care and attention was the living room. Don’t get me wrong, all the woodwork needs painted, the walls too, the metalwork like light switches and handles need changed, and a whole host of other small things. But at least it was fairly neutral and the artex ceiling had been plastered so decorating the living room is low down on the list of priorities. However, one thing that really stood out and totally ruined the whole room was the fireplace. The surround was a very dark moulded wood, it had decoupage mouldings on the front top corners, the fireplace detail was brass and the marble surround was a weak beige colour.

Original 1990s fireplace
The original 1990s fireplace was an eyesore in the very neutral room we inherited

I decided to paint the fireplace instead of replacing it as depending on the fireplace and surround we bought, the total cost would have been £500 at a minimum rising to thousands depending on how new, modern or fancy the items we picked were. Painting on the other hand we could do for a few ten pound notes handed over at our local B&Q.

  1. First I prised off those moulded details from the top right hand corners which were held in place by thin pins. I just used a scraper to gently wiggle behind them and gradually ease them away from the surround.
  2. Then I gave the full fireplace a gentle sand just to remove any top shine from the stain. After sanding I wiped it all down with a clean damp cloth to pick up any dusty residues.
  3. I was all ready to tape up the brass fire area with rolls of plastic dust sheets and frog tape, only to discover as I went to begin that the brass bits simply pull away. This meant I could spray paint them in the garage rather than worrying about the living room carpet and furniture.
  4. I cleaned down the brass bits and then raised them off of the garage floor in order to spray them more evenly round the sides.

    Prerparing brass fire for spray painting
    I propped up the brass items off the floor using old paint cans
  5. I used a high heat resistant paint I picked up from B&Q
    Rustoleum Stove and BBQ paint
    This paint is perfect for a fire surround as it is safe for extremely high temperature exposure.

    6. I sprayed the brassy bits all over and left to dry while I went back through to paint the surround.

    spray painting a brass fire
    The spray painting took only a few minutes and dried overnight

    7. I gave the fireplace surround 3 coats of Rustoleum chalk paint in Chalk White. As you can see, I had run out of frog tape so I used masking tape to mask off the walls, hearth and marble surround. Masking tape definitely isn’t as good at protecting your painted walls, but I wasn’t too fussed because we plan on decorating the walls soon anyway. And, it’s better than nothing.

    8. Once dry, I popped the freshly painted and no long brass bits back in place, and voila! Just like that, it was done. Months of procrastinating and the fireplace was done in an evening!

    Painted fireplace
    This cost me £9 in total would you believe!!!

    The total cost was only £9…the price of a tin of spray paint. I already had masking tape, and I already had some chalk white chalk paint left over from when I upcycled shelves (See how I did that here). So I think was definitely a better option than replacing the fire altogether, don’t you??

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