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Melissa Michaels shares her low-cost living room and fireplace makeover using nothing more than paint and furniture rearranging.

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Transform a Dated Room on a Budget

Whether you are just moving into a new-to-you home or you are ready to update the home you have to give it a new look or better function, the high cost of remodeling can put the brakes on big plans.

Even if you have the funds, it’s always worth at least considering if there might be more clever or affordable ways you could update your space while keeping more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.

How We Transformed Our Fireplace

When we first bought a 1950s house last year, we knew we loved many things about it. We loved the view from the main living rooms, the property location and size and the solid structure of the home. But, honestly, the living room fireplace wasn’t at the top of our list of favorite features. Not only did we not like the design, quality or the color of the stone, but the grout was a shade of mauve. The pink-hued fireplace seemed to stick out like a sore thumb in the room and made everything else around it feel dated.

Transform a dated fireplace

We came up with several ideas for ways we could update the design of the fireplace. We could have removed all of the stone to give it a totally new look, but our budget was a big limitation. We would be remodeling several other parts of the house over time and there were many projects in line ahead of the fireplace.

For months we talked about painting the stone to give it a fresher look while it awaited a remodel, but wondered if it would help the overall look enough to be worth our time. We feared we might even regret painting it. But one weekend we decided we really had nothing to lose. We didn’t like the look of the fireplace now. We weren’t even enjoying the feel of the rest of our living room because of it. If we didn’t like the fireplace as it was, would we dislike it any more if it was painted? Our answer was no.

Using Chalk Paint on Stone

We wanted to try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (in Paris Grey) because it wouldn’t require priming or advance preparation of the stone. We decided to clean the stone first with water to make sure it was free of dust and didn’t have any loose grout or stone. It didn’t take long at all to paint the fireplace.We were amazed by the finished product!

Transform a room on a budget

Paint on the fireplace was an instant improvement to our room. While we also considered white as a color option, we really like that the gray feels so natural in the room. The neutral tone blends with the rest of our color scheme, too. A neutral shade also helps to fade the fireplace into the background of the room, rather than making it stand out as a feature.

Furniture Arrangement

Because the design of the fireplace is asymmetrical, we arranged furniture and other elements to help the room feel pulled together and balanced. While we still have long-term plans for a new mantel or even updating the whole look of the fireplace, we are so happy with how this project turned out.

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With the painted stone, we don’t feel we have to change the fireplace right away, and we can focus on completing other projects. We may even just leave the fireplace as it is! That’s the great thing about a low-risk project like paint. It offers you a quick change, and you just might like it enough to make a bigger remodel unnecessary.

How To Transform a Room Easily and on a Budget

1. Use paint to refresh and update a room, accessories or furniture.
2. Select neutral tones to help any less than desirable items become less of a main focal point.
3. Try arranging furniture, curtains or accessories to balance out any unfortunately placed or otherwise unattractive architecture or features in a room such as windows, doorways, or fireplaces.

Do you have a fireplace or room that could use an easy refresh? These resources may help:

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About the Author

Melissa Michaels

Melissa Michaels is the author and creator of one of the top home decorating blogs on the web, The Inspired Room. She has been featured on such sites and publications as HGTV.com, Apartment Therapy, and Ladies Home Journal.

  • Pat M.

    The fireplace is one of a kind since painted and I would do nothing in the future to change it. It belongs to the house and is perfect for your furniture and accessories. To restyle it would be a shame. I think it’s wonderful.

    • Melissa Michaels

      Thank you, Pat!

  • Linda Grubbs

    Thanks to Melissa’s wonderful inspiration I painted my fireplace (following the instructions from her blog) What a HUGE difference it made in my whole house. I love it! I get tons of compliments on it! I love following The Inspired Room! She inspires me. 🙂

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Hi Linda! That’s awesome, I’m so glad you found inspiration and had success with your project! And I am so grateful for your kind comment, too.

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