How To Update a 1970’s Stone Fireplace: 7+ DIY Ideas

Old, outdated, 1970’s fireplaces can be an eyesore. If you are wanting to update your home’s old 1970’s fireplace you have come to the right spot. There are many different options to choose from when it comes to redoing any fireplace. This article shows you just one of those ways. The most common way to update a 1970’s stone fireplace is to paint it.

Ideas For Updating a 1970s Fireplace

Build A Wooden Box Around It

how to update a 1970s stone fireplace

Many people choose to build a box-like structure over the stone and then paint that. Fancy trim boards can be used to give it an even more appealing look. When you update your home’s old 1970’s fireplace you end up updating the look of the entire room! If you choose to build over the fireplace make sure your boards are straight. Do something special for the mantle to set it off. There are tons of different sized and patterned moldings available. Most a quite inexpensive. Be creative and add your own touch.


whitewashed brick fireplace
Whitewashing is one of the most popular ways to bring a modern style to your hearth. You can even make it look like you have a natural gas fireplace by painting the logs on the mantel white.

Benefits of whitewashing a fireplace

  1. Whitewash goes well with most types of modern furniture and decor
  2. Whitewash gives off a natural appearance that many people find appealing
  3. It is very inexpensive compared to other options available
  4. Whitewash can be removed easily, if needed

Give It A Cleaning

A common cleaning is another easy way to ‘update’ it, as well. A common way to clean a stone fireplace is to use a wire brush. This is known as the dry brushing technique.
In some cases, the fireplace may be so dirty that it will require power washing with a pressure washer or chemical methods before it can be cleaned more traditionally.

Add Tile

The process of installing the tile on the surface of the fireplace in the house
Tile fireplaces are not that common in older homes, but they are becoming more popular. The best thing about them is that they can be installed without any expensive remodeling.
It’s important to plan the design before you start tiling your fireplace because it will make the installation process much easier. You need to figure out how many tiles you need and which size of tile you want to use for the surround, baseboard, and crown. Learn how to tile fireplaces here.

Painting Options

three silver paint brushes on white textile

Choose a color, or colors that will complement the room. If you have chosen to paint the stone itself, without building a box over it, you can still paint just the entire fireplace, even the stones themselves. You could do each stone a different color if you really wanted to. Anything goes.

It’s all about the look you want. Many people keep it stone-like and choose a good semigloss gray paint. Whatever colors you decide on, be sure to get them in semi-gloss. This ensures the stone will be protected, and washable.

Protect The Surrounding Areas

Always use painter’s tape and newspaper to protect surrounding areas from getting paint on them. This is a very important step to take if you want your final outcome to be professional, neat, and clean-looking. Lay down a painter’s tarp of the floor before you begin painting to avoid drips or spills.

Paint can be difficult, if not impossible, to clean off of many surfaces. If you do accidentally drip or spill clean it up immediately.

Painters tape ensures both protection of the wall, etc., and straight, perfect edges. You do not want to have sloppy edges and even the best painter has a hard time getting edges perfect. Painters tape is essential. You can use newspaper and masking tape to cover larger areas like glass.

How To Paint A Stone fireplace

When it comes to painting a fireplace, the first step is to choose your paints. Once you have done that you will need to choose the right paintbrushes for the job. It’s a good idea to choose three different sized paintbrushes. One three-inch, one two-inch, and then a small angled brush.

If you will be doing delicate or intricate trim work choose a small assortment of brushes like those you would paint on canvas with. These brushes will allow you to paint detailed, tiny areas using more than one color. If you are patient when painting, and take your time the end result can be spectacular. Your creativity is limitless!

Your whole family will cherish the end result of this project for years as it will become to the focal point of the room. Make that room functional, usable, lived in. Sometimes updating an old 1970’s fireplace is all it takes to turn that room into something great!

If you are painting the wooden box you built over your stone fireplace you have it easy. Use the painter’s tape, apply a smooth, even layer of paint over the entire surface of the wood. If you are using more than one color do one color at a time. Again, be sure to use painter’s tape for perfect edges, even between colors if need be.

Allow the first coat of paint to dry and then paint it one more time. Allow the second coat to dry overnight and then come back and remove all of your painter’s tape and newspaper. Wow! What a dramatic change.

If you are painting the stone itself experiment with your brushes to see which is going to work best. You can use a sponge if you don’t mind the imprint it leaves. Using a sponge can tend to make the stone more natural-looking it that is your plan.

Take your time as you may have difficulty using that painter’s tape on, or around, the stones. If you take your time and keep a steady hand when you have those areas where painter’s tape just won’t work.

Paint with patience and love. Doing so prevents you from rushing which is almost always what leads to mistakes being made. When you paint with patience and love you take your time and the end result is exceptional work.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Update My 1970’s Stone Fireplace?

Sandstone Fireplaces

Yes, actually there is and this has nothing to do with painting! Check out some of our fireplace decoration ideas and our article on whitewashing. Investing in a fireplace insert is a great way to totally change the look of your fireplace too. This is a really great idea if the fireplace has a good chimney. Why not use it? Why not turn the room into a cozy den and snuggle on a loveseat next to the lit newly redone fireplace?

Doesn’t that sound so nice? Many times old fireplaces are in rough shape but their chimneys are still good. If this is the case in your home then a fireplace insert may be just what you need!

Another Successful Project

Once you’ve put the time and effort into updating your old 1970’s stone fireplace you will be able to enjoy it for years to come! It may give you the inspiration to re-do the entire room! Maybe you clicked on this article because you already have re-done the entire room and the unsightly fireplace is what you want to become your next successful project. Take that project on! It’s not that hard at all to paint. Building a wooden box may require the help of a handyman man but if you are creative you likely can do it yourself!

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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