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Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

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:

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

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!

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

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.

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

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!

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

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.

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

Here’s the before again:

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

And the after:

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

I am sooooooo happy with this change! Really, I am kind of kicking myself for not doing this a year ago.

Farmhouse Style Fireplace Mantel Makeover

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!

Here are a few related posts you might enjoy:

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

Easy DIY Fireplace Cover

Step by Step Drop Cloth Curtain Tutorial

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The Comments

  • Holly
    September 14, 2017

    So beautiful! Thanks for recommending Rustoleum in one of your blogs. I was searching for alternates for Annie Sloan and came across your post. Ordered linen white and the clear coat and recently painted all my bedroom furniture and distressed it and I’m loving how it turned out! Enjoy your blog and ideas for farmhouse decor as I am redoing my house 🙂

    • Sarah
      > Holly
      September 17, 2017

      Oh that’s awesome Holly! I still haven’t used the clear wax from Rust-Oleum yet, but I need to order that and give it a try.

  • glenda LaFont
    September 14, 2017

    Love it all, especially the yellow cabinet. I love that.

    • Sarah
      > glenda LaFont
      September 17, 2017

      Thanks Glenda, that vintage pie safe is one of my favorite pieces.

  • Dot
    September 14, 2017

    I wait for littlevintagenest to appear on my email every day! Love everything you have done in your home. The mantle looks wonderful as does the single church pew in your entryway! So much talent and the fact that you are doing this with a new baby is even more amazing!

    • Sarah
      > Dot
      September 17, 2017

      Thank you so much Dot, you are so darn sweet! Hugs to you friend. xoxo

  • Nikki
    September 14, 2017

    Another great transformation!! I liked it before, but the distressed white really does look so much better.

    • Sarah
      > Nikki
      September 17, 2017

      I agree Nikki, the distressing really made all the difference!

  • Donna Bergthold
    September 14, 2017

    I love it! Definitely looks much better, Thanks for sharing with us!

    • Sarah
      > Donna Bergthold
      September 17, 2017

      Thank you Donna, I love the transformation!

  • Kaitlyn Poleti
    September 14, 2017

    Love it!! It’s crazy what a little paint can do. Great job 🙂

    • Sarah
      > Kaitlyn Poleti
      September 17, 2017

      Isn’t it amazing what paint can do, Kaitlyn?! It’s a magic worker for sure!

  • Sue
    September 14, 2017

    Love the transformation! Great job! I’ve been looking for pots like the ones on the mantle. Where did you get them? or make them!?

    • Sarah
      > Sue
      September 17, 2017

      Hi Sue! Those pots are from Michael’s, I found them when they put out their spring/summer decor. Unfortunately I haven’t seen them since! 🙁

  • Tawn
    September 14, 2017

    Your mantle looks lovely, as does your entire room. That little curtain really sets the fireplace off. Now, if I could just talk sweet hubby into get the big black wood insert out of our fireplace.

    • Sarah
      > Tawn
      September 17, 2017

      Thanks so much, that little curtain is one of my favorite DIY projects!

  • Theresia
    September 14, 2017

    I love it! Good decision! I love your style and your blog!

    • Sarah
      > Theresia
      September 17, 2017

      Thank you so much!

  • Pam Collins
    September 14, 2017

    I am changing to the Farm House look but I have a lot of antiques. Not so much furniture but accessories. Can I still use them and how do I do it.

    • Sarah
      > Pam Collins
      September 17, 2017

      Definitely! I always say accessories are what really personalize a space, so don’t be afraid to get those antiques out and use them!

  • Kimberly
    September 14, 2017

    looks fantastic! love the chalkboard above the mantel. Kim

  • Kellie
    September 14, 2017

    So gorgeous sweet Sarah!! I unfortunately don’t have a fireplace but I definitely have fireplace envy from reading your different mantle decor posts. 🙂 I also began using the Rustoleum chalk paint when I took the plunge to paint the majority of my furniture and its so amazing! And one can of that stuff goes a really long way. Thanks so much for recommending it and for all of the awesome work you put into your blog!

    • Sarah
      > Kellie
      September 17, 2017

      Hi Kellie! That’s so awesome you went with the Rust-Oleum for all of your furniture makeovers, isn’t it awesome?! And you seriously can’t beat the price. It’s definitely my favorite chalk paint!

  • Maggie
    September 14, 2017

    Thanks for the tip. I also use Annie Sloan a lot but would like an alternative to the waxing. This requires no sealing? Just painting and distressing?

    • Sarah
      > Maggie
      September 17, 2017

      Yep, I didn’t wax it at all. Just painted it and then did the distressing.

  • Teresa O'Connor
    September 14, 2017

    Awesome job again , love it. I’m a huge fan of rustoleum. I switched to that product too . I just found it to be a better product and easy to work with … your fire place turned out so well 🙂

    • Sarah
      > Teresa O’Connor
      September 17, 2017

      I agree Teresa, it’s super easy to work with and you can’t beat the price!