We brought an old fireplace back to life with a little elbow grease, a couple coats of paint and new mantel (materials found at a salvage shop). It was cheap, easy and the results are stunning.
chop saw (optional, if extra wood is added to mantel)
simple recycled mantel (to slip over the old stone mantel)
(2) salvaged boards (optional for larger mantel)
4 to 8 long screws
paintbrush and painter's tape
white paint for mantel (eggshell, latex)
paint for brick (eggshell, latex)
black heat resistant paint for firebox
water/white vinegar spray
Here's what the fireplace looked like before:
Lay down a drop cloth to make clean up easier. Use a wire brush to get all the dust and sot off the brick fireplace. Vacuum the entire area.
Spray the fireplace brick with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar then use a rag to clean off any residue so the paint and adhesives can stick.