How To Make a Dated Fireplace Fabulous and Then Some

I promised you earlier this week that I would share some of the details from my recent coastal living room makeover, so let’s start with the amazing fireplace makeover!  Most of you know that you can paint brick, but have you ever thought about painting stone?

fireplace makeover

The Decorologist


My client thought there was no hope for her dated orangey-brown fireplace, but that just wasn’t the case!  Anything can be painted, and we decided to transform the existing stone fireplace by painting the stones in varying shades of gray and white.  Again, this was the way the fireplace looked before we started:

Fireplace Before


I enlisted the help of faux painter extraordinaire, Heather Spriggs, to help change this fireplace for the better.  I chose three shades of Benjamin Moore latex paint for the job:  Cloud Cover, Athena, and Apparition.  Heather alternated dry brushing and ragging on the colors until the orange was vanquished and a whole new fireplace emerged.


Painted Fireplace Makeover 


Previously, there was another item in the room that stuck out like a sore thumb.  This distressed black hutch was a great piece, but it just didn’t work into the scheme of the room.  

Rustic Hutch Before 


Using Benjamin Moore’s Apparition and a heavy hand, I painted and distressed the piece so that a little of the black would show through and the whole piece would tie in with the new fireplace, without looking matchy-matchy.  You know how I feel about matchy-matchy, right?

shabby chic

 Rustic Hutch After, Photo by Melanie G. Photography


Did you notice the plates on the wall?  We gathered some of my clients white platters, and I created an arrangement on the floor before I hung them.

plate grouping

 White Plates and Platters


Here is how it came together to create a cohesive, peaceful look.  

shabby beachy chic

 The Decorologist Living Room Design, Photo by Melanie G. Photography


Did you have any idea that you could paint natural stone?  Well, now you know!


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37 thoughts on “How To Make a Dated Fireplace Fabulous and Then Some

  1. Barbara says:

    You’re absolutely right! I would have never thought to paint stone, as you did here. Excellent color choices and application! You did a great job on the hutch as well. Bravo!

  2. Mary says:

    Great idea with the fireplace and hutch!

    Did you also paint the mortar or just the stone? The mortar looks gray in the before pic and a rusty colour afterwards.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      We left the mortar as-is. It was already gray, so it tied in nicely. The difference you see in the photos probably has to do with the effect of the new surrounding colors – that can change your perception of the grout color.

  3. Paula Van Hoogen says:

    This fireplace transformation is amazing, Kristie! I am so glad you archive everything, so that I can show someone here in the future–in the mountains—every home has a fireplace….Question:how did you choose the colors to sponge the stone?
    Did you find a good representation outdoors somewhere and use your color chips?
    The whole room feels fresh and really INVITING now. Wonderful work!!! Thanks for sharing it.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Knowing my client’s love for turquoise and white, I wanted to help her move away from black and brown as neutrals and toward warm grays to update the look a bit. Less “country” perhaps? I had a vision in my head of how I wanted the stone to look, and I just started looking through my fandeck at warm grays. Also wanted variation so that it would look as natural as possible. I did make up an Inspiration Board for this room, maybe I should share that on the blog – that helped set the vision and make sure the client was on-board with what I was thinking.

      • Paula Van Hoogen says:

        Well, you really did achieve the vision.( And,yes, I would love to see your inspiration board!)
        You captured a coastal look ,which seems to be about sun bleached and weather-worn things found on the beach. I think the so called ‘country” look waning and in it’s place a “nature” feel, for those so inclined. I’m actually thinking of aiming that way a bit with my new scheme in my own LR–not in a coastal way, but in a sophisticated “forest” way.

  4. Amy says:

    Love this so much! I started this project today because our fireplace looks identical to the original with the exception of our grout. It is black…yuck! What color would you recommend painting the grout? When painting the stones it got on the grout so we have to do something about it. Any advice would be so helpful! Thank you!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      What if you painted the whole thing out, grout and all, in one color. Then came back over dabbing on one or two additional colors just on the stone (not the grout) to give it variation and make it look more natural? That’s the best advice I have – the fireplace I featured was painted by a professional faux painter. Good luck on your project!

  5. Rachel says:

    Love the fireplace! Mine is the exact color and I am wanting to paint it as well. Can you tell me if you mixed all three colors and did you add water? My painter never did this before, so I am afraid for him to do it. I may do it myself. Did you paint one coat or two? Also, did you start blotting right away? Thanks!!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      A professional faux painter, Heather Thompson, did the technique on the fireplace. I chose the 3 colors I wanted her to use, and had her make up a few samples before approving “the look.” She did a fabulous job, obviously, but I don’t know exactly the process she used to achieve the finished look.

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  7. Beth Martin says:

    I know I am a little late but I hate my faux marble fireplace.  do you have ideas on updating those?  

    I have just discovered your blog.  Already have gotten some great ideas.   


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  10. Vicki says:

    I LOVE it all – I am going to do some painting on my brick wall — and sand down my orangey wood parquet floors and stain them a non orange hickory – looking for a grayish dark brown effect. I LOVE the blue walls – the perfect hue- Do you remember the paint shade?

  11. Norma says:

    Ooops! I guess this fireplace was not chalk paint, but interior latex. So can exterior latex be used for an outdoor stone facing on my house?

  12. Cheree says:

    Is there a great article/video with step by step on how to paint his yourself? Im in the same spot with a new home….painted all white fireplace….and this is just what Ive been looking for! Something cheap and daily easy to do! Your transformation was amazing!!

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  14. Cassandra says:

    Did you finish the fireplace with a polyurethane or anything to prevent scratching or chipping of the piant? Just curious. I am fixing to tackle my fireplace. Wish me luck!

  15. Erin says:

    I have a stone entryway floor. Very outdated, very orange, gold and brown, and remarkably similar to the before pictures of this fireplace. Do you know of anything that would protect the paint from chipping off or wearing thin if I tried this technique on the floor? Just curious!

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