Home is where the hearth is: Spruce up your fireplace | Home & Garden

As a Realtor, I can’t emphasize enough the value a fireplace in a home brings. Families love the idea of cozying up to a fireplace in the winter, hanging stockings during the holiday season, and showcasing their prized family photos atop the mantle.

Angie’s List summarizes it best: “Fireplaces have been the centerpiece of homes for centuries,” and while they come in many different shapes and sizes, the methodology has remained the same since the late 1700s: They offer a place for families to gather.

According to a study done by the National Association of Realtors conducted in 2013, “fireplaces are one of the most sought-after features, with 40% of buyers stating that they would pay extra for a home that had one.”

The National Center for Real Estate Research reports that each fireplace adds about 12% to the home’s selling price. The same study reports an astonishing 59.65% of home buyers would pay up to $5,000 more for a fireplace.

With so many homes in our area having fireplaces, let’s delve into some fun ways to spruce them up.

Paint: A fresh coat of paint is a quick, easy, and affordable way to create an updated look instantly. Black and white contrasts are popular right now, but don’t be afraid of a pop of color to generate a fun contrast in your home.

The sky’s the limit: Take your fireplace to the ceiling. Whether you’re using stone, wood, concrete, or more, bring the mantle to the ceiling to construct a grand look. This dramatic feature draws the eye up and creates the illusion of higher ceilings.

Don’t have a mantle but want one? Using two-by-four pieces of wood is an easy and affordable way to create a mantle where there was not one. Paint this or stain it to match other pieces in the room to create a cohesive space.

Get creative with the mantle: Consider using mantle brackets if a floating shelf isn’t the right fit for you. Adding crown molding, chair railing, or running trim pieces are all great options that add an elegant and personalized, finished look to your fireplace.

White wash: White wash is a beautiful, vintage design. Typically encompassing a French country mantle, this look often goes great with a “Pottery Barn,” rustic vibe and certainly creates an upscale feeling.

Shiplap: Perhaps my Joanna Gaines is coming out in me a bit here, but shiplap is all of the rage these days. It’s fast, easy, and can completely transform a room.

But most of all, don’t be afraid of this process. Embrace it! Revamping parts of your home should be fun and exciting. Be sure to add your own creative flair and personal touches. Upgrades only add value to your home, especially the center of the room that is one of your primary gathering places.

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