I think fireplaces are not just for function. It can be a wonderful design element for a room. Whether you use it or not! And its the perfect time to give a fireplace an update! Easy changes include cleaning it up and adding new decor. You can paint brick, change tile, and of course, re-do the mantel..... or add one that wasn't there before!
ADD A MANTEL
This home was built very recently. It is a gorgeous house. They hired us to furnish and paint the master bedroom. Adding a mantel to the existing fireplace was on the top of my list. We used a piece of maple, stained it, and installed it. Very simple but big difference!
CHANGING THE FACE OF A FIREPLACE
During the planning stages for this clients first floor renovation, we were going to simply white wash this fireplace and get a new beefier mantel, but then the homeowners decided to change to a gas insert and reface the front with stone.... And we re-used the original mantel but re-stained it and beat it up a bit to look aged. :)
For more ideas, check out this recent article from THE MORNING CALL. :)