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From wood-burning to gas logs, a fireplace can make an excellent centerpiece for any room. But, just because it can keep you warm in the winter, that doesn't mean it has to look drab.
If nothing else, paint it
It's the cheapest change you can make, and can be the most obvious. Depending on what you're doing with the potential room, you can paint (or strip the paint from) the brick, and paint the trim and accompanying drywall around the fireplace. A coat of paint can do wonders, but it's not the only thing you can do. You can also paint the wall featuring the fireplace, and HGTV recommends going with something bright and loud, to really make the wall standout.
Don't like the tile, cover it up
Depending on when your home was built, the fireplace could feature tile around the opening as trim. Some tile can look great. Others? Not so much. So, if you're looking to make a change, there are a few options. If you're wanting to go big, you can track down marble and replace or cover the tile. It's a bit pricy, but will almost certainly add some class to the room. But, there are still options when working on a budget. HGTV notes marble-like adhesive paper can be attached to existing tile to cover it up with a new look. Along with being a low-priced option, this can also be great for renters looking to temporarily change the look of a room.
Whitewash the brick
HGTV points to a relatively easy project that can upgrade a brick fireplace, by using white paint with an eggshell finish to wipe on multiple coats. It can give the fireplace a much more subtle look.
Cover the facade with something new
You can go with a relatively low-cost option by just covering up whatever facade is already on the fireplace with something new, i.e. a product like artificial stone that can be installed with an adhesive. It can make an old fireplace look brand new.
If nothing else, add some art
If you're looking to go ultra-low budget, maybe add some flair above the fireplace, by picking up a new painting or work of art to hang over the fireplace. Go with something that represents you, and don't be afraid to try something different. The fireplace is already the centerpiece of the room, so make it count.