Dramatic fireplace surrounds set the tone for the design of your room, and can easily become works of art rather than boring brick or drywall necessities. Ramp up this built-in design element with stone, wood or mosaic tile to create a focal point that demands attention.
Stacked stone is a beautiful choice for your fireplace surround. The rustic, uneven charm of stacked stone creates a distinctive pattern on the hearth and above the fireplace mantel. Stack the stone directly over the brick, or make a plywood cover for the brick before stacking the stone so you'll have a more even substrate. Apply your stacked stone with thinset mortar. Use slate for a thinly-stacked line, or river rock for a round, boulder type of effect.
Stone veneers are made from a variety of real stones, and they are less expensive--and require less effort--than natural stone. Stone veneers are lightweight, install easily and result in a custom finish surround that looks like your fireplace is made completely from solid rock. The veneers are thin and come in flat or corner sections. They can be applied directly over any structurally sound surface.
Create a fireplace surround with mosaic tiles for a striking fireplace that is a work of art. Use glass tiles for a shimmering wall of translucent color, or ceramic tiles for an opaque, colorful design. A mosaic-tiled fireplace surround demands attention, but it can be labor intensive to create. You can apply ceramic or glass tiles directly over your brick or drywall surround, but do not apply the glass tiles over a surface that's a combination of both. Drywall and masonry react to heat differently, and the glass tiles could crack if one section cools down or heats up faster than another.
Encompass your fireplace with a custom wood surround that will radically change your room's appearance. Install vertical or horizontal strips of wood to cover the entire surround, or create a chevron design with the strips for greater impact. Consider creating geometric shapes with wood trim, such as squares, rectangles or triangles to add design interest to a plain wood surround. Alternate different types of light and dark wood strips, or stain the trim different colors for an artistic touch. If your original surround is brick, make sure to cover it with plywood for a smooth substrate before you add the wood facing.
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