7 Best Fireplace Upgrades For a More Enjoyable Winter

In this article at SAVU LLC, we will discuss our 7 best fireplace upgrades that will potentially inspire your fireplace makeover.

Fireplaces have been used in the past mostly for their functionality: warming up the place, cooking needs and as a light source. As technology advanced over the years, fireplaces are now mostly used for its aesthetic role. Due to modern amenities, the only remaining practical use of fireplaces is in the colder months for hygge (Danish word for a mood of coziness and contentment). This leaves most fireplaces to go unused during the warm months.

With aesthetics taking primacy over utilitarian purposes, fireplaces now come in so many different designs, shapes, materials and colors. Unlike the fireplaces of the past, featuring basic brick and stone, there is now a wide array of different designs being used. You can find anything from sleek contemporary fireplaces to more cozy, rustic styles.

1. A desert quartz veneer for a warm rustic look

From a basic fireplace insert on plain drywall we built from scratch a fireplace that stole the show, being the main focus of the living room.



We used desert quartz veneer and simply installed it right on the drywall. This was a beautiful material, from a closer look you can see shades of green, pink and yellow.

This adds a warm colorful addition to this living room while maintaining a classic rustic look.

We added a hand made wood mantle (boy, was that heavy) and decided to keep the old tile hearth since they look good together.

2. Marble tile for a sophisticated look

Starting with a fireplace of the past, clad with basic brick, we covered it with a beautiful marble mosaic tile.



The white and black honeycomb like mosaic accentuates the white mantle and contrasts nicely with the black slate hearth that we added.

3. German smear for a bright farmhouse look

Sometimes you don’t even need to do much to make a big difference for your fireplace upgrade.

We applied the German smear technique to the existing brick. It added a much brighter and rustic look to the brick, giving the fireplace a warm and friendly appearance.



While most fireplace upgrades are going in a newer, more modern direction, a German smear will “add years” to your fireplace by going in an older, more rustic direction.

4. Natural stone for entire wall segment

Most of the time the fireplace makeover involves just the frame section or part of the wall, but for our next renovation we opted out in favor of covering the entire wall segment.

We removed the drywall, reinforced the old fireplace frame and build a brand new hearth.



Of course a scaffold and a ladder are always handy when working “on heights”.

But you can see the beautiful end result when we complemented the new white granite hearth with a wooden hand made white mantle.

5. Using white subway tile for a fireplace backsplash

The next fireplace was part of big renovation in a high rise apartment. After the painting, new floors and moldings were installed, the old fireplace just looked out of place.



We chose the widely used white subway tile as a fireplace backsplash and you can see how nicely it fits with the dark colored floors, the dark stained mantle and the gray painted walls.

Beyond just kitchen backsplash and shower, white subway tile can also be used for your fireplace makeover. It is budget friendly and provides a timeless look.

6. Changing an old brick chimney to an edgy black stone centerpiece

Previous fireplaces have been small to medium size, but the next one was part of a whole home makeover.

The homeowner was looking for a black and white transitional theme and as you can see the old brick chimney was preventing that look.

The decision was made to cover the existing brick with black stone veneer and paint all the walls and beams white for a classy, clean look. We also rebuilt the stairs and painted them black and white so they will be compatible.

But with the great look comes along with challenges. The tiles were pretty heavy and it was exacerbated by getting on a tall ladder to install. The process was slow, we could only install a few rows a day due to the weight of the tile; when installing heavy stone, too many rows at once can risk the tile falling from the wall.

But, nothing worth having comes easy. Just look at the amazing end result after the black and white soapstone countertop was installed for the hearth.

7. Cement tile and LED lights fireplace for a contemporary look

This is a full construction fireplace. The first picture is from the early stages of building a modern fireplace with lights and everything. We poured the cement into the wood frame in what will soon be the hearth.



We used an unconventional cement tile which is rarely used outside of commercial application, but hey some people are different.

If you were wondering where that light is coming from, we installed LED light strips behind select tiles.



This is the final product, white marble hearth nicely accenting the gray cement and the glowing light. It was done right before Christmas in case you were asking yourself why there is a Santa on the hearth.

As the winter season approaches, it’s important to make sure your fireplace is ready to provide warmth and ambiance for your home. These seven fireplace upgrades will not only make your winter evenings more enjoyable, but they will also increase the value of your home and make your fireplace a more efficient heating source. So why wait? Start planning your fireplace upgrade today and enjoy the fruits of your labor all winter long.

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