Ditch Traditional Brick For This Jasmine Roth-Approved Modern Fireplace Material

Decorating a fireplace typically involves what you can do with the mantel, like adding different art pieces or seasonal ornaments. However, the surround can be a decoration all by itself. Brick is a solid choice that can add some character because it has the classic look typically associated with fireplaces. If you want something different, you'll be looking at more unique materials like marble, plaster, and stone because they offer more elegance and modernity. But you can also go industrial.

Jasmine Roth, the host of "Help! I Wrecked My House," was confronted in the Season 2 episode "Help! I'm a Demo Addict" with a fireplace in need of a makeover. She was working on a home for a California family desperate to renovate, and she decided to perform an "industrial facelift" on the fireplace. Originally, the home's fireplace had a white stone surround that formed an arch over the fireplace, but Roth wanted to make that more hip. She and her contractors installed three 14-gauge steel panels to replace the old brick fireplace surround. "There was nothing edgy about this base before," the host said. "They needed a little bit of edge." She chose steel as a nod to the client's passion for working with tools. "My hope is this fireplace is gonna really appeal to his design sensibilities," she said.

Go for a steel fireplace

A steel fireplace is a great way to add texture to a living room with a modern or industrial theme. Traditional bricks can also add texture, but the muted, sleek look of steel panels makes them a more fitting choice for homeowners who want clean lines and bold colors for their interiors. Another plus of a steel fireplace is that it is a luxurious feature that can be gotten without breaking the bank.

On average, building a fireplace costs around $2,000 or more — about the same as purchasing a new unit. An electric fireplace, on average, is cheaper to install than a wood-burning one. The new fireplace that Jasmine Roth installed for her client — including the stone floor and the floor-to-ceiling steel panels — cost $2,000. The cold-rolled steel panels were installed over the existing fireplace, so it didn't need to be built from scratch, which made it a solid investment overall. If you have traditional brick, you don't have to take it all out and can buy panels to install over them. You need to flatten the surface and build a simple structure over it to attach the panels onto, as seen in "Help! I Wrecked My House."

Steel fireplaces come with options

The clean, flat panels Jasmine Roth uses aren't the only options out there for a steel fireplace. Steel panel providers offer other choices that resemble other materials, allowing you to incorporate steel into different styles beyond industrial. These finishes would look great in living rooms with rustic, art deco, or modern farmhouse styles, for example. Because these steel panels are typically custom-made, you will have to contact providers to get quotes for your space.

If you don't have a fireplace already installed, consider something even more different like a freestanding one, kind of the iconic Malm fireplaceApolloBox sells a portable, egg-like stainless steel option that has a sleek and unique form and can be used outside the living room. At around $3,300, this "planetary" model is not far from the $2,000 range.

One important consideration with a steel fireplace surround is its maintenance. Steel is a metal prone to discoloration or rust over time, so clean it regularly with only suitable materials and apply protective coatings to help maintain its appearance.