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Give your tired old fireplace a fresh new look for summer

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Summer is in full swing, the perfect time to give extra TLC to your brick fireplace since it has worked so vigorously during the winter months keeping your home toasty warm. How about a fresh makeover from mantel to hearth? It’s not as difficult as you might think.

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First, take a look at that old sooty firebox. Get a vacuum or broom and clean out all the old ashes and dust. Then take a bucket of soap and water or fireplace cleaner and scrub out the debris. Don’t worry about any stains because you’re going to paint it! Purchase some high temperature black firebox paint and brush it over the entire firebox to make it look like new.

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Next, take a look at the color of the brick. Do you like the way it looks? If you do, just get some masonry spray cleaner and scrub it to remove any dirt, dust, or soot. If your brick looks dark or outdated you might want to consider painting the brick. A light, neutral solid color can be painted over the brick to give a new, fresh look. If you don’t like the look of painted brick, there’s another option…The Brick-Anew paint system is a do-it-yourself paint process that gives a “real brick” look. The fireplace brick won’t look painted but will look like it was re-bricked with a lighter color brick. The kit comes in taupe, gray, or light tan.

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Then, think about the mantel. Does it need to be painted or stained? You might decide to purchase a new mantel. Surrounds and mantels come in many styles ranging from rustic natural to a more formal, finished look. Stand back from your fireplace and take a look at how the mantel accents the rest of your fireplace. Painting or staining can drastically change the mantel’s look so you might want to try that before you decide in favor of a new one.

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Now comes the best part…decorating the fireplace mantel. Don’t be tempted to put up the same old accessories you had before. Consider hanging or propping a mirror in the center of the mantel to reflect light and add a beautiful focal point to your fireplace. Mirrors can make your room look larger and beautifully reflect other items you place on the mantel such as candlesticks or a small vase of flowers. You can also use three smaller mirrors in a row to get the same effect as one large mirror.

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A beautiful painting or picture above the mantel draws the eye upward and creates a focal point for the eyes to rest. You can layer pictures to create an interesting look. Whether you choose to go with a soft monochromatic look or a pop of color, decide what works best with the rest of your room’s decor. Add a few simple accessories and you’re done!

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Last, but not least, remember that new-looking firebox you painted? Fill it with some beautiful birch wood or a large fern in a ceramic pot to complete your fireplace’s summer makeover. Now sit back with a cup of tea and relax. Who says you can’t enjoy your fireplace year round?

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Photo Sources: 1. Kim Woods Interior Design, 2. Paul Rice Architecture, 3. Gabriel Builders Inc, 4. Jean Longpre Photography, 5. Corynne Pless, 6. Mark English Architects, 7. Meredith Ericksen, 8. Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects, 9. Julia Ryan Photography, 10. Tess Fine Photography

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