We brought an old fireplace back to life with a little elbow grease, a couple coats of paint and new mantel (materials found at a salvage shop). It was cheap, easy and the results are stunning.
Scrub the Brick
Lay down a drop cloth to make clean up easier.Vacuum the entire area. Use a wire brush to get all the dust and soot off the brick fireplace.
Wash the Brick
Spray the fireplace brick with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar then use a rag to clean off any residue so the paint and adhesives can stick.
Paint the Inside
Paint the inside the firebox area with special heat-resistance paint. Apply two coats if necessary.
Paint the Brick
Paint the rest of the brick with your paint color. Brick is porous, so make sure to push the paint into the brick so there are no pinprick holes showing. Apply a second coat if necessary.
Build a New Mantel
Measure the current mantel top and plan a design. We got lucky and found a simple mantel at a recycle center that will slip over our existing mantel. We added molding to the newly found mantel to give it more interest. We attached the molding with wood screws, covered the holes, then sanded and painted the entire mantel.
Install the Mantel
Place the mantel over the top of the old mantel. Find the studs in the wall, they should be just at the edge of the fireplace. Toe-nail the screws into the mantel through the wall.
Fill the screw holes with wood filler, let dry, sand and then paint to match the mantel.