Woohoo! I’ve been hinting about a project over the last couple of weeks and I’m so excited to finally share it today. I’ve been giving my fireplace a makeover! After a lot of pondering, I finally worked up the courage to paint my oak fireplace white. (Spoiler alert: I love how it turned out!)
But before I get to the makeover, here’s a look way back at how the fireplace looked before we did any improvements. When we first moved in, the fireplace was oak with no real mantle shelf (it was only about 2 inches wide at the top making it too narrow to place anything).
My Dad built a mantle shelf for us which gave me more room to decorate and made the mantle look more substantial.
Then I used paper of all things for a free and easy way to hide my flat-screen tv cables.
Then over the winter I finally got around to painting the brass fireplace accents with high-heat black spray paint.
The fireplace was looking much better than the sorry state we found it in when we moved in, but I still was dreaming of a white fireplace mantle. So I did it! I painted the fireplace white! To do so, I broke out some new painting tools. I read a lot of articles on painting oak, and oil based primer seemed to be the way to go so I bought Zinsser white oil-based primer.
And I bought some new brushes too because I wanted a really smooth finish. Since I have some other painting projects in mind down the road, I got a multi-pack of Purdy brushes. These brushes were good, but I wasn’t blown away with them considering they were the most expensive brushes at Home Depot.
With those tools in tow, I finally got to painting! I gave the mantle two coats of primer. Here it is after one coat of primer:
Since the top mantle shelf is removable, I was able to take it apart and paint it outdoors since oil based paint can get a bit smelly. I used a fancy method of newspapers and chairs to setup a painting station for myself.
In between each coat of primer, I sanded everything down. After two coats of primer were on and dry (I actually waited about a week since I was only able to work on weekends), I got to the actual painting. I used semi-gloss Behr paint in “polar bear white.” Choosing a white paint color was surprisingly hard because I wanted something white, but not too stark, and didn’t want the paint to have a grey or yellow tone so it wouldn’t look dingy. Polar Bear White ended up being a little brighter than I expected, but I don’t mind because it has a nice fresh look. Here’s the fireplace after a coat of paint:
Again, I sanded between coats and gave the fireplace about two full coats of paint and a third coat at the top of the shelf to give it the perfectly smooth look I was after. And here’s how it looks cleaned up:
After I took the painter’s tape off, I could see how much paint I accidently got on the black fireplace surround. I’m not worried about this though because the final phase of this project will be tiling the surround which will disguise all of my misguided paint.
I didn’t figure out exactly how I wanted to decorate the new white mantle yet, so I just put a plant and some decorative birds up there for now.
Here’s another look at my new white fireplace!
Since we all like a good before and after, here’s a look at how far my fireplace has come.
My fireplace has had more looks than Madonna! Now it just needs some new tile and it will be all done. In the meanwhile I’m thrilled with my new white fireplace!
I'm sharing this project on Delightful Order, House of Hepworths, & Beneath My Heart; check out the other great projects shared.
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