Adding S”tile” to an old fireplace



Get it? …Stile….Style…Tile…. #DADJOKES

When we had a new roof put on the house they took off the chimney all together for us.  The fireplaces had both been cemented completely in so there just wasn’t a coming back from that that would make sense budget wise for this house.  We also felt like honestly it was just better for there not to be a temptation for a renter to start a fire in such an old chimney.

The cement in the living room fireplace had cracked pretty badly and was just unsightly.  The first time I saw it I loved the simplicity and wanted to make it a really cool design element to an otherwise plain living room.

I had seen some tile at Lowes I was obsessed with and wanted to use somewhere but not anywhere too permanent because we all know trends come and go! A removable panel for the fireplace seemed to be a perfect fit! Blake and I both decided that with the walls being white it would be fun to go with a bold color on the mantle so I painted it blue to match the tiles.

We opted to not tile directly onto the fireplace for two reasons:

  1. it was so uneven it would be nearly impossible
  2. If someone wants to change this down the road because this tile doesn’t speak to them it’s no big deal!

We cut a piece of scrap plywood and glued the tiles on using liquid nails.  To insert into the fireplace we’ll just trim around the plywood to hold it in.

All in all this project cost $45 for the tile, maybe $10 for liquid nails, we had the plywood and $6 worth of paint (two sample pots).  This is easily one of my favorite updates in the house and is such a simple project for anyone to do out there who has an out of service fireplace!

Let’s take one more look at before 🙂

Unfortunately at the time I took these pictures the insert hadn’t been trimmed in so you may still see a little plywood edge and it doesn’t look perfectly level but you get the idea!

Where you can see the black gap at the top there will go away once we trim it in!

I scored this fire place surround for $8 at Goodwill!  I LOVE the feet!

I can see a basket of cozy blankets or a stack of fun games here, can’t you?  For around $50 this was such a fun update…and beginner level EASY y’all! Anyone else have any “faux fireplace” creations? We’ve turned our attention to this one next that’s in the master bedroom.

If you follow us on instagram you know I’ve storied this one more than a few times 🙂 Sometimes a little $50 update can really give you wind under your sails you know?! I also really think if you don’t have a fireplace at all you could pick up an old mantle at the Restore and recreate this very thing in your place.  Know someone you think could use a little faux fireplace inspiration? I’d love it if you’d share with them!



6 thoughts on “Adding S”tile” to an old fireplace

  1. Chad's Crooked House says:

    Mantles without fireplaces filled in with tile were really common in late 19th Century Philadelphia – yours could just about pass for an original one! Except that they usually had an arched cast iron heat vent in the middle of the tile. (My house probably had one of these until it was ripped out and the chimney sketchily relocated inside the wall in the 1930’s.)

    The cast iron insert in the master bedroom is for burning coal, so even if your chimney and fireplaces were intact and in perfect condition they would not be usable for burning wood. It’s too bad whoever filled it in let the concrete bulge out beyond the insert though. It would be a cool look if they had kept it up/back where it wouldn’t show.

    • numbers and nails says:

      Thanks for the information!! I love an original look and I totally agree with you that I wish such a sloppy concrete job hadn’t been done 🙁 We’re making the most of what we have left design wise!

  2. Kathy says:

    Great job!!!!! I know you are on a budget but have you thought about trying to mimic the first fireplace by adding a couple of stair newel posts and corbels?

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