Give Your Fireplace Major Coastal Vibes With Advice From Unsellable Houses' Lyndsay Lamb

Fireplaces and their surrounds can often be a guiding element in any room, serving as both a cozy spot to arrange furniture around and a dynamic focal point that draws the eye as soon as you enter a room. While a beautiful fireplace and mantel can be stunning and impressive, an ugly or uninspiring one can work the opposite way. In a recent episode of "Unsellable Houses," HGTV designer Lyndsay Lamb helped take a boring and outdated fireplace to a new level by embracing a laid-back coastal theme that radiated throughout the home. By adding beachy tile, a reclaimed wood post mantle, and a wall of shiplap above, Lamb was able to create a sea-inspired fireplace that immediately became a dominant force in the room.

Previously, the fireplace had receded into the background. It was set into the wall without any real surround, and the slender mantel and hearth were an outdated overly-orange wood found in the rest of the home. The entire fireplace was tucked under a large television set whose gaping black hole drew the eye, with the actual fireplace serving almost as an afterthought below.

Lamb's coastal fireplace transformation

In the remodel, Lyndsay Lamb and her team got to work creating a beautiful coastal aesthetic in every room, ironing out some of the awkward room transitions, knocking down half walls, and choosing details rooted in neutrals and distressed woods augmented by touches of blue and green. By adding a more prominent surround, the fireplace draws the eye as soon as you enter the home. At her blog, Lamb & Co., Lamb writes,  "The fireplace is a natural opportunity to create a gorgeous focal point within a house. Here, we took some beachy Floor & Decor tile and mixed it with some distressed shiplap to create a coastal style fireplace surround. We completed the look with a weathered and stained mantel repurposed from an old post."

Lamb carries the shiplap all the way up the wall, emphasizing the vertical lines of the room and calling attention to the vaulted ceiling. She abolishes the television and replaces the skinny outdated mantel with a gorgeous reclaimed wood post that she and her team roughed up in the backyard. It makes a perfect spot for a mirror above with candles and wooden beads below. The distressed wood pairs well with the gray intricately patterned tile that looks like something out of a stylish seaside villa. The seating area features cozy neutral gray chairs and a jute rug that carries the seaside vibe.

Creating a distinctive focal point

Since fireplaces are often the center focus of any room, they can be a defining element in whatever style you are going for, whether that is coastal like Lyndsay Lamb's design, or aligned with farmhouse, boho, or modern aesthetics. While many homeowners often start with a builder-grade fireplace surround that can be generic and uninspiring, there are some many small ways that completely transform this important space. Some are very budget-friendly like paint, wood decals, decorative tiles, or peel-and-stick materials designed for fireplaces.

If you have a television mounted above, consider placing it in a less prominent location, following HGTV designer advice or swapping it out with a frame TV which masquerades as art when not in use. Take advantage of tall ceilings (or ones you'd like to seem taller) by running the material of the surround to the ceiling instead of cutting it off below the mantel. While builder-grade mantels can be generic and uninteresting, they can easily be painted or augmented with faux millwork wood appliques to add architectural interest. Existing brick and stone fireplaces can be painted or glazed to better match your current decor. 

The addition of decorative tiles that reflect your style can also have a huge impact, reinforcing the desired color scheme and adding another layer of texture. If you have a floating mantel, consider swapping it out for something chunkier, particularly if you are going for a coastal, rustic farmhouse, or cottage look.