Every now and then I surprise myself with my ability to be patient. You know, because it’s not something I do very often. And unfortunately today is not one of those days because I actually planned to share this post next week, but I couldn’t wait that long. So here I am. Impatient Nelly. But holy smokes, I’m excited to show you guys what I did to our fireplace mantel and today is the day. So let me start by saying that I’ve been wanting to make a change to the mantel in our front room for sooooooo long now. I actually stained it dark when we first moved in two years ago, way before I ever painted the brick white. It was originally a light oak color and I stained it this really nice espresso brown. I liked the change, but I never loved it. You know what I mean? I don’t know why I wasn’t crazy about it, but I always felt very “meh” about this fireplace. I even told me husband something just seemed off. We talked about replacing the mantel all together, but first I wanted to try painting it with a farmhouse/antique-y finish before doing anything drastic. Seems reasonable, right? Right. Well it turns out that this was the way to go because it totally transformed this space and I’m kind of obsessed with how it looks now. I can’t wait to show you guys! Ok, just to refresh your memory here is a shot of how the mantel looked before:
I started out with my go-to chalk paint. I’ve raved about it many times already, so I won’t bore you with that. But if you want to see my full review you can check out this post. I love this stuff! And the benefit of using this paint is that I didn’t need to sand the mantel down first, I just painted directly over it. Easy and quick!
I knew I wanted to give this mantel an antique finish with lots of distressing, so I put on 3 coats of paint in order to completely cover the stain and give me a good base for heavy sanding.
I used a heavy grit sandpaper to distress the heck out of this mantel. I went about this part of the process pretty slowly and meticulously because I didn’t want any areas of the mantel to be more distressed than the others, but it also needed to look natural at the same time. It was a huge, powdery mess. But it was definitely worth it. Here’s the finished look!
This mantel was two different colors prior to being painted white, so the heavy distressing looks authentic because you can see the color variation. And that definitely gives it more of a vintage look, which you know makes my heart happy.
Here’s the before again:
And the after:
I am sooooooo happy with this change! Really, I am kind of kicking myself for not doing this a year ago.
I really wasn’t sure how this would turn out when I started painting. And to be honest I was actually kind of nervous because painting a mantel feels like a big commitment. But I just didn’t love the way it was before and I couldn’t get over that feeling that something felt off with this space. It was honestly driving me bananas. Does that ever happen to you? You know something doesn’t work in a room but you can’t quite figure out why. Well I’m so glad I decided to go for it with this change because I really do love it. And that’s the best part about owning a home and making it yours–especially in a fixer upper. It’s always evolving and getting better over time, little by little. The mantel has so much more character and personality now, it just feels like it fits in better with our home. And all it took was a bit of paint and sandpaper. Oh and enough nerve to give it a go in the first place. Thank goodness it worked out and high five for the power of white paint!
Thanks so much for dropping by the blog today my friends. I’d love to hear what you think of my little mantel makeover. And definitely let me know if you have any questions!
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