How to Update a Stone Fireplace

white natural stone veneer fireplace

A fireplace is often the centerpiece of any room, catching the attention of anyone using the space much like an accent wall. Fireplaces also tend to last a long time and are often among the last things to get upgraded during a renovation - this is because they’re built with high-quality materials like natural stone and brick. 

But over time, you will likely find that your fireplace feels worn and outdated. Fortunately, there are several ways to update your fireplace, tying it into the aesthetics of the rest of your home. Read on to learn about the best ways to update your stone fireplace, from the natural stone experts at The Rock Garden in Fort Collins.

Why Update Your Fireplace? 

Many people who haven’t had the pleasure of owning a fireplace don’t realize the full value it brings. Beyond the warmth of a cozy fire, fireplaces are a natural place for people to gather for a nice conversation and they tend to act as a center point for the whole family to come together. 

A fireplace will perform the same regardless of its appearance, as long as it is structurally sound. However, if you want your home to look its best, when it comes to a room that will likely be the focal point of attention, it is well worth giving your fireplace a makeover to highlight your own tastes and enhance its aesthetics. 

Replacing an existing fireplace can be an expensive investment. However, updating your fireplace has the benefit of making it appear brand new while saving on some of the necessary costs. 

Top Things to Consider 

Before you start buying materials or begin work yourself (or with a contractor), there are a few considerations to ensure you’re investing in a product that perfectly suits your needs and preferences. 

  1. Design preferences: Updating your fireplace can be a great opportunity to create a new look and make a space look more cohesive. Decide on the overall style you want to achieve, whether it's a modern and sleek look or a rustic and cozy feel. Also, consider if you want your updated fireplace to transform the space or just complement it.
  1. Budget: Do you have the capability for a full update or just a minor refresh? A larger budget obviously allows for more flexibility when choosing materials and the ability to update the entire fireplace. A smaller budget will likely need to focus on just updating key aspects of the fireplace. 
  1. Current condition: Is your current fireplace in good condition and safe to use? Any safety or structural concerns should be addressed with a professional before undertaking any update work. 

Easy Ways to Update Your Fireplace 

There are several easy ways to update your fireplace, some are more expensive than others, but many of them are achievable as a DIY job. 

Paint the Stone or Brick 

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to upgrade the look of your home is through painting, and your fireplace is no exception. By either painting portions of the fireplace itself or painting the surrounding walls and features, a dated fireplace can be quickly transformed. 

Many fireplaces built in the 70s and 80s have brass inserts which often create a dated appearance. By painting the brass inserts and framing in either black or white, you can achieve a more subtle statement and better match the aesthetic look of a modern home. 

Another common update is simply painting the brick that surrounds the fireplace. Changing bright red bricks to a modern white or subtle gray to coincide with the rest of the room’s color is an incredibly easy task if you want to renovate a home quickly and affordably.

Replace or Resurface Stone Veneer


Among classic fireplace styles, stone veneer is certainly one of the most popular choices. This is because stone itself has a timeless aesthetic. Stone has always been a sign of status and it carries a sense of elegance when integrated into interior and exterior home designs. 

Simply adding stone veneer to your current fireplace is a fantastic way to help the fireplace appear larger, more elegant, and more structurally sound. Furthermore, stone veneer is not load-bearing and usually works just fine with existing infrastructure, so you don’t have to worry about needing to re-engineer your living space. Finally, natural stone is an affordable and long-lasting solution. Whether you’re resurfacing, replacing, or installing entirely new stone veneer, you’re investing in a quality finish for your fireplace for many years to come. 

Create or Update Your Hearth

Similarly to the above point, a new hearth makes for a significant update to your fireplace. A hearth is a brick, stone, or concrete area in front of the fireplace; or in other words, the floor or base that is in and in front of the fireplace. Traditionally, this space would be a buffer zone between the living space and the location of a blazing fire, so it would usually be where ashes from the fireplace could be swept and disposed of. 

Nowadays, many fireplaces are run on gas and thus do not produce ash. Nonetheless, a hearth, made of brick or stone acts in the same way as stone veneer aesthetically. It immediately creates a timeless, traditional feeling of elegance; and it only increases the footprint of your fireplace by a few square feet. Additionally, there is not a large amount of stone required to build a beautiful hearth, therefore it is also a generally affordable option that makes a big impact. 

Install a New Mantel 

A fireplace mantel is a classic addition to the fireplace itself. Like the hearth, a mantel used to have a different purpose: in medieval times, mantels acted as a hood that projected over the fire grate to catch any smoke that would release into the room. Today, fireplaces and chimneys are better designed so that mantels are, functionally, not really necessary. 

Unfortunately, this has led interior architects and homeowners to remove mantels completely. If your fireplace at home does not have a mantel, and it is essentially flush to the face of the wall, you may find that it looks outdated. This is because mantels are actually the focal point of fireplaces, so without a mantel, there’s a great chance that the wall may look bare or like it’s missing something. 

Mantels are normally made from a big slab of wood and are thus the most affordable update option on this list next to paint. All you’ll need is a way to mount it onto the wall and then add some pictures or art to give it character through your own personal tastes. 

Upgrade to Gas

For decades, gas fireplaces have become more common than wood fireplaces. Why? Simply because wood is less clean (ash and soot), creates smoke, and is less convenient (takes effort to start the fire and source fuel). Gas on the other hand enables you to have a fire ready at the flick of a switch or twist of a knob without the need for harvesting wood, building tinder, or subsequent cleaning. There is something classic, however, about a wood fireplace and the cozy smell it brings - it really comes down to preference. 

Regardless, if you’re considering a transition to a gas fireplace, the work required (gas line installation, etc.) is a perfect opportunity to redesign your fireplace space and incorporate some of the other update options such as stone veneer and a new hearth. 

Source the Best Stone for Your Fireplace

Just as with any home improvement project, your new or updated fireplace will only be as good as the materials you use. Although there are plenty of manufactured stone products on the market, if you want the very best for the job, choose natural stone for superior aesthetics and durability.

At the Rock Garden, we provide experience and inspiration to those ready to start their dream project. We carry a large selection of natural stone veneer and hearth and capstones in a variety of types and colors. Our local stone supply store is your one-stop shop for all of your landscaping and home improvement needs. Give us a call or make a plan to visit The Rock Garden in Fort Collins today! 

Beyond Blue Media magnifiercrosschevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram