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1970s Fireplace Makeover Before And After

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Updating a dated stone fireplace is one of the best ways to modernize your home. Our 1970s fireplace was in desperate need of a makeover and today, I’m sharing how we covered the stone surround with wood which created a beautiful modern fireplace in this living room.

Stone fireplaces were very popular in the 70s featuring ugly brass metal inserts. Honestly there is nothing wrong with stone fireplaces but the large grout/mortar spacing is very dated and indicative of the 60’s and 70’s.

diy fireplace makeover covering stone-1
70s fireplace makeover by covering stone with wood or shiplap

70s Fireplace Makeover

A fireplace is the focal point of most rooms so it should look amazing! Whether you have an electric fireplace, gas or wood burning fireplace, it should feature an aesthetically pleasing fireplace surround and mantel.

Our 70s fireplace makeover is absolutely perfect!

1970 fireplace makeover

The 70s fireplace before (see below) had strange orangy toned stones, which almost looked rusty at times with the ugliest vents built in which at one point, provided heat into the room.

With the help of my dad, this fireplace update was about to be one of our biggest makeovers yet.

1970's dramatic fireplace makeover

When I first thought about updating our 1970’s fireplace, I wasn’t thinking it would end up being such a big task.

Honestly, I thought we could get it done in a weekend, maybe two. My dad is a genius when it comes to structural aspect and how to make it work. However, he is terrible as visualizing and figuring out the design aspect.

1970 fireplace makeover-3

This living space before when it was used as the kids playroom.

A complete hodge podge of furniture, mis-matched shelves, cabinets, toys and whatever else didn’t have a home.

1970's dramatic fireplace makeover

The entire room is shaping up and the fireplace is by far, one of my favorite DIY projects yet. The impact that the wooden surround has added vs the previous stone is dramatic.

What Can You Do With A 70s Fireplace

There are several ways to update or modernize a 70s fireplace! If you are looking for DIY ideas that are budget friendly, I’ve got you covered!

Paint Color

Whether you are whitewashing or painting the existing stone, paint is one of the easiest ways to modernize a 70s stone or brick fireplace.

I used Sherwin Williams Extra White Pro Classic paint in a semi gloss finish. Sherwin Williams provided complimentary  paint for our study makeover but all opinions are mine. The paint is super smooth and gorgeous.

1970 fireplace makeover

Shiplap or Wood

We opted to cover the 70’s stone with wood but shiplap is also another great idea. If you are looking for a modern farmhouse look, try covering your fireplace stone or brick with shiplap!

1970 fireplace makeover

I will share with you next week how I added the decorative molding trim as well as how we constructed the mantle which was the final touch to bringing this fireplace to life.

It’s amazing how white paint brought this fireplace to life.

Peel and Stick Tiles

Peel and stick tiles from Amazon are very popular and depending on how flat your brick or stone fireplace is, they can be a great option. I personally have never use peel and stick tiles on a fireplace but have in a laundry room and they are beautiful!

Paint 70s Fireplace Surround

If you have a 70s fireplace surround that is metal, chances are you have the lovely looking brass insert frame that covers a portion of the stone. Click through this post to see how I painted our brass metal fireplace frame not once but twice with high heat paint.

1970 fireplace makeover
Painted fireplace with wood surround

Install New Mantel

Installing a new wood mantel is another great way to modernize a fireplace. For this diy project, our new wood mantel was part of completely covering the stone with wood but installing a floating mantel is also easily accomplished by attaching it to the stone. Be sure to check out this post, how to install a heavy wood mantel from a historic beam in our new house.

1970 fireplace makeover

If you missed any of the other posts on how we updated our fireplace, get caught up below!

More Posts: How to Update a 1970s Stone Fireplace

This fireplace makeover is broken down into 4 stages:

  1. Framing around the stone fireplace with 2×4’s
  2. Framing the vents
  3. Covering the stone with wood
  4. Before and after (this post)

We are planning to put a pellet stove with the insert as we don’t use the stove because the burning wood aggravates my allergies.

Be sure to check your local and state code when renovating a fireplace. Adding wood to the side of your fireplace can be a fire hazard so be sure to check your local fire code.  I am happy check this baby, the fireplace makeover, off of the renovation bucket list! 

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


    1. Thank you Grace! I think it looks good with the stone plus having potential sparks on the wood wouldn’t be good so the stone stayed 🙂

      1. This is awesome!
        How did you deal with the gap between the wood and uneven characteristic of the stone edge? Did you fill this gap with something, so debris does not fall in?

  1. What a great transformation! I love that you kept some of the rock there.

  2. This turned out great Jessica!! You also styled it so well! It’s amazing what can be done these days to update a dated fireplace! I’m actually working on the one in my kids’ playroom today!!
    Well done friend!!

    1. Thank you Monica! I have had a mantle before so this is a benefit for sure! Good luck on your project 🙂

  3. WOWZA, absolutely gorgeous! Such a beautiful transformation.

  4. It looks AMAZING! I’m so impressed and so jealous, as I stare at the pile of stone I’m putting together like a puzzle to put up on my fireplace. Like you, I totally underestimated the amount of time and effort it would take to pull this off! But I WILL get there! Can’t wait to see how you did the mantel!

  5. Janelle C says:

    Wow, your makeover is amazing, the room is beautiful!! What a fantastic job by you & your Dad, in spite of the “differences of opinion” that may have come up! 😉

  6. My goodness… the old fireplace was truly much worse than I expected it to be! You and your father did an amazing job – it’s beautiful now.

  7. Wowza!!! Jessica that is a seriously amazing transformation! All of your hard work paid off big time and it looks gorgeous!

  8. Patti Palilla says:

    Love it!! Well done!

  9. Jessica, I’d be staring at it all the time too! Well done – it’s very pretty!

  10. Debra Ruffing says:

    I love your fireplace! I can only have electric…but would love to have a fireplace like yours. I need my kitchen first though…I have none right now. We are waiting for cabinets.

  11. Looks amazing, Jessica!

    Your old fireplace looks a lot like mine does now, but it takes up the whole wall and unfortunately, the raised hearth step (an oak beam painted pink, lol) continues across the room into the dining room. I would love to do something like this, but trying to imagine how without a stand alone hearth. Thanks for providing some great inspiration….what a wonderful job! I love how you noticed your dad admiring his work. He must be so proud of BOTH of you!! :0)

    1. Thank you Julianne, we do love it. Good luck with yours and I appreciate you sweet words. I am glad it done! 🙂

  12. Wow, Jessica … such an amazing transformation! I love it and can only imagine how excited you all must be to have completed this project. Look forward to seeing it dressed for the holidays!

    1. Thanks Becca, we like the room so much better! ha. I don’t cringe anymore when entering 🙂

  13. Looks great. How did you get the stone on the hearth to be a lighter color than what was there. It appears a milkier color versus the brown/tan?

  14. The new fireplace really looks lovely. I would like to cover my stone fireplace with another stone.. do you have to cover the stone with wood and then apply the new stone to the wood or can you just put the stone on top of stone?

  15. This is a beautiful result. My fireplace looks like the “before” picture, but this is now at the top of hubby’s “honey do” list.

  16. Beautiful work. Did you ever share throw you did the decorative trim and mantle?

  17. Directions for fireplace redo

  18. Diane Lavoie says:

    What a beautiful difference that made !

  19. Veronica M Georges says:

    Am getting ready to redo my fireplace. . .Love what you did! Can you tell me where you got the stone for the hearth? I really love it. thanks

    1. Thank you! You could try a local stone or landscape company. Full service landscape companies or masons will be able to help you 🙂

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