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~DIY Mantle Update & Tutorial~

Last week, we talked about updating our living room and making small inexpensive changes to freshen a space. I've found over the years, that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a fresh new look. As a family, we spend most of our time in the living room and so this is the area that I chose to update. I added new pillows, a new rug and a lamp. I spent about $220 all together and the space feels fresh and bright. One of the other ways to refresh a space is to paint. Painting can give a room a new look and is also very cost effective.

Although, we didn't repaint the room, we did repaint our mantle that was a glossy black that resulted in chipping paint from using the fireplace so often. I think the chipping of paint happens more often when you use too many polyurethane coats over the paint. I get it, you want to protect it, but high heat combined with a poly coat is also why the paint started to chip and crack. The grill around the fireplace was also chipping so we removed and spray painted it using a high heat paint and reattached it. Here is a picture of what it looked like before we painted.

Because we had such a mess with the existing paint job, I had to sand down to the bare wood in the parts that were chipping and cracked, as well as, heavy sand the area around it as to not get any lines and ensure a smooth surface when we repainted. If you are planning to repaint an already painted surface like a mantle, that does not have chipped paint, normally a light sanding with 180 to 220 grit paper will be enough for the paint to take hold. I used a chalk paint for the mantle that I make myself. You can get the DIY Chalk Paint recipe here. Here is what the mantle looked like after the full sanding and prepping job was done.


**Make sure after you sand that you wipe it all down with a cheese cloth or damp paper towels to remove any sanding debris before painting.

You may have noticed in the picture above that two of the surround tiles fell off while I was sanding with my sander. Oops! I ended up repairing them after I painted. I'm considering either faux painting the existing tiles to look like hand painted tiles or just replacing them. Honestly the tile job was not done properly so painting might be harder to get the look I want. The contractor also used floor tiles for the surround and it looks terrible! Although it does match the floor tiles in my kitchen floor (insert eye roll here). Gah! And......I hate brown, so there is that! But stay tuned on that. I haven't quite decided what I will do with them yet but I will let you know! :)

We choose a beautiful charcoal black with a blue hue by Sherwin Williams called Black of Night for the mantle. I ordered a Satin finish and then used it to make chalk paint by adding calcium carbonate. The advantage to making and using chalk paint is that it dries faster and you can put more coats in less time. I chose not to use any polyurethane over the paint simply because I believe it will last longer and not crack like the poly did before. It's been several weeks and so far it is holding up great!

Here is the "after" pictures with the new paint job! I love the color so much and I will be painting my kitchen cabinets the same color this Spring or as soon as the weather warms up. I will be sealing the cabinets with a poly acrylic for durability because there is no heat involved, like the mantle, and the fact that there will be lots of handling, we want to seal the paint job to keep it looking nice for a long time.

I have big plans for the above the mantle and it involves a DIY build! I'm just gonna let that be a teaser until I get it done. Its going to be great for this space and tie the kitchen and living together in design!

Next time, I will be showing you my daughter's updated bedroom. We actually started this some time ago but I finally feel like it's ready for the big reveal! She wanted a forest theme and it came out truly whimsical. I can't wait to share all the details.

Until next time......



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