Fireplace mantel reveal! See the before and after pictures of our orange-brown oak wood fireplace mantel makeover with paint.
Learn how to paint a wood mantel in just 3 easy steps and the best paint to use for durability!
See the DIY paint tutorial and supply list below.
This is such a quick and easy DIY home improvement project!
It can be done in a weekend!
My Fireplace Mantel Reveal! A Makeover with Paint… With Before and After Pictures!
One of the things that I’ve been wanting to change in our home is the color of our brown wood fireplace mantel.
The dark orange wood color is too drab for the bright airy look I’m aiming for in my living room design.
So painting our wood fireplace mantel white was at the top of our to-do list.
Here’s our brown wood fireplace mantel.
This orange-brown stain color is dated and boring!
The yellow-red-orange undertones of the wood also clash with the rest of the room.
Here’s another look of the fireplace surround and mantel before painting it white.
(We have also updated our window blinds. We replaced these dated brown woven shades with beautiful white faux wood blinds!)
Now our fireplace mantel and surround is fresh, updated and lovely!
….and here’s what our fireplace looks like now! We also painted the tile white!
This post may contain affiliate links. There is no additional charge to you, you just get to check out some beautiful things I love!
Here is how I painted our wood mantel and fireplace surround:
- I used 1 can of this white enamel interior/exterior paint in semi-gloss
- paint brush – I love this one because it has a short handle and is easier to hold onto!
- small high density foam paint roller
- paint cup with magnetic paint brush holder
- 220 grit sandpaper
- tack cloth
- painter’s tape – this is my favorite one for crisp lines and no paint bleeding!
What Is the Best Interior Paint To Use On Wood?
**Note! It’s really important to use this enamel paint because it creates a very strong bond with the wood and a VERY tough, durable surface, so you can decorate your mantel for everyday (and for Christmas!) and not worry about it chipping or scratching.
This enamel paint also doesn’t yellow and has great flow and leveling!
Tutorial – How To Paint A Wood Fireplace Mantel:
1. Cover the floor and hearth with a drop cloth. Cover the firebox as well so you don’t get paint on it. Then tape off the mantel area and firebox with painter’s tape, lightly sand with 220 grit sandpaper the entire mantle with sandpaper (wrapped around a piece of wood acting as a sanding block).
If your fireplace mantel and surround are really dirty you can also use a wire brush and heavy duty cleaner.
2. Vacuum with a soft vacuum brush attachment and remove all dust, dirt and debris with a tack cloth. A tack cloth is a tacky material picks up debris before and after sanding. It gives a smooth and blemish-free finish so don’t miss this step! It’s reusable so keep it for your next painting job!
With all painting projects the prep work is really important! I was so surprised at how little prep work this project took!
3. Paint the mantel with 3 coats of paint white enamel semi-gloss paint using this paintbrush, paint cup with magnetic paint brush holder and a small high density foam paint roller. Let each coat dry 24 hours. The 3 coats of paint gave complete coverage.
Note – I didn’t prime the tile or use a primer at all! And there hasn’t been any bleeding of the stain color through the paint!
If you want to use a coat of primer, this Multi-Surface Stain-Blocking Primer and Sealer is a good choice.
What a difference this 3 easy step paint project makes to the room!
Here’s the ‘Before’ and ‘After’ again……What do you think?
Do you love the ‘after’ version as much as I do???
How to paint a wood fireplace mantel:
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I’m so thrilled with this paint project! Painting this wood trim completely transformed the entire room, makes it feel bigger, lighter and brighter.
As a designer I always recommend that my clients paint their wood trim white to update it.
It makes such a huge difference in the look and feeling of a room!
Removing the wood stain allows designing and decorating the space so much easier because there are no wood undertones to clash with other colors.
It gives you more freedom to create the room of your dreams and to switch out your decor for the seasons and the holidays.
The white mantel color that I chose also gives a pop of contrast to the room.
The white also allows the other neutral colors and accent colors that I used in the space to shine!
It also makes the wood flooring look so gorgeous.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is your fireplace gas or wood burning?
Our fireplace is electric! It’s not a gas fireplace and it’s not woodburning.
What color paint did you use?
I used this paint straight out of the can – the color is called ‘White’. It’s a bright, fresh, ‘clean’ white with no undertones.
If you want a different color, you can get it tinted to any color you’d like!
What color should a fireplace mantel be?
Should your fireplace mantel match floor?
For a painted mantel the color should not match the floor – as I mentioned above it should match the baseboard and window trim color.
For a wood stained fireplace mantel – yes the stain should match the same stain color as the floor.
If your mantel is wood, you could also use a different stain color from the floor as long as you repeat that color in the room to make it cohesive.
Do I need to sand the fireplace mantle before painting?
What paint finish should a fireplace mantel be?
I used a semi-gloss finish to allow for easy cleaning, but you can also select a matte finish, eggshell or a gloss finish.
What kind of paint do you use to paint a fireplace mantel?
Use an urethane alkyd enamel paint for the best adhesion and durability.
Alkyd vs. Acrylic Paint: what is the difference?
Can you paint a brick fireplace?
Yes you can! There are many tutorials on the web! You’ll need to use a masonry primer and a brick fireplace paint that’s specifically designed to paint brick, porous surface, to cover all of the crevices, texture, grout lines and mortar lines.
I love the look of painted brick fireplaces! If your brick is dated this is an excellent way to refresh your room!
If you have fireplace tile, check out: How to paint fireplace tile
What about soot?
If you have soot on your fireplace mantel you’ll have to remove it with a rag, sponge or scrub brush and soap and water before painting.
You may also have to use a degreaser or tsp for a deeper clean.
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[email protected] Design for Living says
Looks so much better, Heather. Love the white against the soft grey!
Heather SettingforFour says
Thanks so much Shauna!
Wonderful! You did such a great job.
It’s looking awesome, I love the white color!
This painted fireplace mantel looks so gorgeous!
Love it! What’s the name of the soft gray wall color? I love that!
Thanks Cori! The paint color is Sherwin Williams Mindful Grey and it is Gorgeous! It’s such a lovely soft grey that goes with lots of other colors! I’m really really loving greys right now! I have this color in our dining room and family room too!
I love this so much! Question: do you have to match the trim and tile with the same white? I know there are many shades and our trim is Cotton Balls by Benjamin Moore.
Hi Sarah! I didn’t match my trim because it was painted by the previous homeowner and I dont know what color it was! It’s a good idea to match the mantel paint color to the tile paint color if your mantel is white! xo Heather
The link to the paint you used on the mantle is no longer available. I was wondering if you had a recommendation for alternate paint. Or if you could provide the name so I can purchase it elsewhere. Thanks! Beautiful project!!
Hi – I updated the link! This is the paint I used https://rstyle.me/+6RZ9oqAWejYKUewvOxCiuQ Hope that helps! 🙂 Thank you – we really love this mantel makeover!
How did you paint the tile? Same paint? Did you have to sand it down first? I’ve never painted tile before!
All the instructions are in this post Samantha! 🙂
Cathy thornton says
Thanks. I am painting the top to an old player piano. Before I use the white paint you recommend, what should I use to prime the piece? Thanks for your help
Hope McCartney says
Hi – love the fireplace makeover. We have a very similar look on the fireplace in our bedroom. Was wondering if the paint discolored when you lit a fire?
Hi Hope! Thank you for your compliment! Our painted tile hasn’t discolored at all! 🙂
This was the inspiration to finally redo my fireplace after 8 years of hating it! I painted the mantel with the paint you suggested and it looks gorgeous.
I have a question I don’t know if you can answer. I wanted to paint my bathroom cabinets and I wasn’t sure if I could use this same paint.
Oh I’m so glad you were inspired and that you love your mantle painted! Isn’t it absolutely amazing the difference it makes in fresh white? 🙂 It don’t know if it can be used for cabinets – I haven’t used it on cabinets or bathroom cabinets. I’m so glad you are enjoying your mantle makeover!
I painted my very similar brown fireplace & bought all the supplies you suggested! Instead of semi gloss I used satin ! Love the way it looks so far have to do a third coat in the morning! Thank you for the tips very helpful!
Oh wonderful! I’m so glad you love your painted mantle and found my tutorial and tips helpful! 🙂 Doesn’t it make such a HUGE difference in your space?!! xo Heather
Shayna Hamilton says
Is the link for the paint the actual white you used or tinted it a different color white? I’m
So excited to do this with your easy steps!! I ask most painted my
Mindful gray, but did repose gray, and I love it! Thanks so much!!
Yes – the paint I linked is the actual white that I used! 🙂 Have fun! 🙂
I had no idea tile could be painted! I love it. Our walls are Agreeable Gray with Extra White trim and our fireplace tile is beige. It doesn’t work. We’ve recently moved and painted, by the way. My husband will scratch his head when I tell him I want to paint the tile.
Our trims same to our mantel brown wood I’m not sure been stained or not.Can I use same paint and color mantel and trim ?Do I need to buy paint with primer or not I’m not sure been stained trims and mantel?