Decorative Techniques


Creating a Faux Fireplace

Achieve a look of warmth and beauty by designing a custom “faux fireplace” using paint! A faux fireplace can be created anywhere within the home. For example, consider personalizing an accent wall in a formal dining room, a breakfast nook in a country kitchen or a sitting area in a spacious master bedroom with a unique faux fireplace.

It is a good idea for decorating enthusiasts who plan to tackle the project on their own to map out their design on a large poster board prior to applying onto the actual wall surface. A faux fireplace can be as large or as small as you prefer, depending upon your preferences and the size and shape of your wall space. If you have always yearned for a river rock fireplace, consider applying faux river rocks to construct your fireplace!

And don’t forget the mantel! To add dimension and depth to your faux fireplace, an interesting decorative mantel can be purchased from a local salvage yard or antique store. A mantel can also be constructed using various architectural trims and moldings that are available at the local home improvement center. Add dynamic color to any mantel by personalizing with paint. Special effect paint techniques create interesting surfaces, such as a distressed looks upon a mantel that will grace a faux antique fireplace.

What you need:

  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Materials for a raised or ground level hearth
  • Flat black paint
  • Mantel
  • Paint for decorative finish
  • Measuring to create a faux fireplace

How to do it:

Step 1:
Decide on the size, location and design of your fireplace. Using either poster board or a computer program, make a mock up of your room with the fireplace to be sure it looks the way you want it to.

Step 2:
Trace the shape of the fireplace onto the wall, using a level to insure your lines are straight and plumb for rectangular or square shapes. For a curved, semi circular shape, you’ll need to use a shape to outline. For either design, you’ll need to draw in the outline of the fireplace, the face and the firebox.

Step 3:
Create the ‘hearth’ using a wood frame for a raised hearth – or level the area on the floor in front of the fireplace for a ground level hearth. If tiling this part, follow manufacturer’s instructions for installing tile. Another option is to paint the hearth using either decorative paint techniques or block designs. For the decorative techniques, see our Design Center. For the blocked design, seal the wood,then paint the ‘grout’ color. Using tape, mask off the grout lines, then apply the color or decorative technique you plan to use for the blocks.

Step 4:
For the ‘face’ of the fireplace, choose a design that will match or be compatible with your hearth. They don’t have to be exactly the same, but should blend – color and texture. Techniques such as marbleizing, faux brick, faux slate, or just painted wood are all ideas to think about.

Step 5:
For the ‘firebox’, paint this area in a flat black paint to create a shadow look.

Step 6:
The mantel can either be built or purchased. Again, there are unlimited possibilities. It can be finished for a natural wood look; it can painted with the new high gloss latex paints or stenciled or distressed. Again, these decisions must all be made before starting the project and should match or complement the existing color palette in your room.

Step 7:
Add a brass, glass or fabric fireplace screen to finish the project that will enhance the value of your home and amaze your family and friends.

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