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How To Modernize A Brick Fireplace

Brick fireplaces are rustic, warm, and cozy. They are reminiscent of a beautiful cabin in the middle of the woods, or they can be interpreted as being one of the best places to unwind and relax, such as in the comfort of a den or study area. As beautiful and comfortable as brick fireplaces are, some people might be more interested in updating the look of their fireplace to modernize it and conform to contemporary styles and trends.

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The best way to modernize a brick fireplace is to restore it to its natural beauty, add elements that are reminiscent of contemporary styles, or add a quick layer of paint to brighten up the space. Even a quick paint job, adding floating shelves, or other modern elements to your brick fireplace like glass doors can help create a modern look relatively quickly and for little money. 

Fireplace on brick wall in bright living room interior of house with plant and windows, How To Modernize A Brick Fireplace

What is Modern Design?

First and foremost, it's important to understand the difference between contemporary and modern designs in a fireplace. Modern designs are those that emphasize:

  • Clean lines
  • Minimalism
  • Calm, neutral tones
  • Eye-catching aesthetics
  • Focus on artistry
  • Geometric designs 

On the other hand, contemporary means what is happening now, or what is popular in home trends today. This can be very fluid, and isn't necessarily going to stay the same even throughout the same year.

If you want to go for a modern design that incorporates contemporary trends, combine the two to create a look that is minimalistic, functional, and has sleek lines using neutral tones. These components combine both contemporary and modern designs. 

Beautiful living room interior with hardwood floors and fireplace in new luxury home

What Colors Do People Prefer in Rooms?

If you're unsure of what types of colors to choose for your fireplace, it's good to know that the answer is rooted in psychology. If you want a fireplace that is easy to study and unwind in, then you should choose beige or white colors, since a study done on students showed that these two were the most preferred colors of a room to study in!

Luckily, it's very easy to find stain, paint, or limewash to coat your brick fireplace so you can get the beige or white look that is now desired in many modern homes. 

Tips to Modernize Your Fireplace

Now that you know to choose neutral, beige and white colors, and to focus on minimalist and sleek lines, below are a couple of tips you can use to modernize your fireplace fast.

Restore your Fireplace

The one thing that makes your fireplace look old and outdated is worn out brick and dirty soot covering the area. Before you start any type of modernization process, make sure to clean out your brick fireplace.

This brick fireplace cleaning kit on Amazon is perfect to help you get started. Simply spray your fireplace down with the cleaner, use the sponge and rag to wipe down any soot, and see the natural beauty of your fireplace emerge to life. 

You should also repair any cracks and chips in your brick fireplace. To do so, you can use mortar to create a smooth and even surface. If you need more help, contact a professional fireplace restoration company to repair extensive damage.

Paint it White

Interior with fireplace in farmhouse style

According to Vogue, the most modern trend right now is whitewash and limewash accents. Limewash is fairly easy to place on brick, and can be placed on both interior and exterior stone surfaces if you have an outdoor brick fireplace. To do so:

1. Thoroughly clean your brick fireplace using a power washer, or if indoors, by using a brick cleaning kit.

2. Use a limewash such as this one on Amazon that is easy to use and quick to apply. Simply dilute it to one part water and one part limewash.

3. Place a sample of it on an extra brick or in an inconspicuous area of the fireplace.

4. Once you're happy with the level of opaque or distressed look, use a roller, masonry brush, and a smaller brush to apply the limewash. Make sure to get into the tiny crevices of the fireplace using a 3" brush.

5. Wipe away any excess limewash with a clean cloth rag. Wait for it to try for 24 hours or however long the product specifies. 

Add Floating Shelves

Open floating wooden shelf with a big ceramic jug of pink pastel flowers on a white wallpaper wall in a modern design living room

Floating shelves are the epitome of minimalist. Not only are they minimalist, but they are also quite easy to install over your fireplace, and can be used to display artwork, pictures, and more. 

These exposed wood shelves on Amazon look great on any fireplace, and are sleek enough yet sturdy to not be distracting. You can also opt for materials like brass, copper, or steel shelves too. 

Add Glass Screen

Contemporary fireplace with glass screen installed in white wall in living room at home

Another rustic element of a brick fireplace is the metal screen that is used to cover the fire and protect it from wind, as well as help create even heating. To help modernize your fireplace, feel free to place a glass screen such as this one on Amazon. These glass screens are minimal, still help protect your surrounding hearth from ash, and look modern on any brick fireplace. 

Decorate with Unique Art

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to modernize your brick fireplace is to add unique, modern art around it. Modern art allows your fireplace to be an area of culture, and can serve as a talking point for guests.

There are a plethora of modern art pieces available online, from minimalist portraits like this one on Amazon, to abstract art like this picture that can help tie in different colors in your den or living area. 

Consider an Automated Fireplace

Home automation is the definition of modern homes. Automating your fireplace can help you save money, as well as allow you to easily control the fire heat in your home using an app or remote control.

Although it might be a bit more expensive than, say painting over your fireplace with limewash, swapping your old brick fireplace with a modern one like this automated fireplace on Amazon is well worth the investment for serious home renovation enthusiasts that want to create a modern living area. 

Final Thoughts

Fireplace on brick wall in bright living room interior of house with plant and windows

Brick fireplaces are cozy, comfortable, and incredibly beautiful to some. However, if you want a modern feel, you can use these tips above to create a fireplace that suits your style and tastes!