I painted the backs of the built-ins a medium teal color, and it was the best paint decision in the entire house. The color mimics the teal in my curtains (which you can just see in the previous photo) and makes everything on the shelves stand out.
I have a dickens of a time staging shelves. I think styling bookshelves is a special skill some just have, and I don’t have it. I have read numerous articles on how to do it and no matter how I try to balance items, or make visual V’s, or play with depth, it still looks kind of meh.
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Thanks, Jessica Hill
I have a similar fireplace that I did not like. I painted the bricks white and it made all the difference in the world. It seemed to tone down the gold and I really don’t mind it now. It seemed to have shifted the focus from the bricks to the bookshelves.
BTW my wall color is very close to yours.
sarah Lofsness says
We had a white mantel with bricks that were painted white on the face and the bottom bricks were natural red. I painted them all black and it really make the beautiful mantel peice pop, as well as the paint color that accents the room. I have also looked into resurfacing the brick with Airstone from Lowes….but I haven’t had the balls to go through with it yet :/
Jessica Pierce says
Hi Jessica, My Name is Jessica as well.
my fiancé and I just bought a house in September it is a very small, and I didn’t see myself being truly happy in such a small space since I have claustrophobia , I like to have everything open and a lot of space. since living here for 3 months and seeing so much growth and potential I realized this is all we need. now being use to it is helping to settle my emotions. so its comfy and cozy. I started rough drafting all my projects our ranch style home is a 1954 so I would like to keep some history even if it might just be through picture frames. I like a floral for my living room and I love 3 color contrast. so I am talking to you now because I love pintrest and I am so happy to have come a crossed your layout of your living room which is exactly the same is mine, and I even had the same idea as the wall unit. with the fireplace I wanted to know how to build it in your home ? Or even if you could purchase something in a store similar?
I'm glad you found me too! The built-ins were here when we moved in, so I can't give you first-hand information unfortunately. My best suggestion would be to search for people who have turned IKEA bookcases into built-ins. Sometimes it's just a matter of adding some trim to a few bookcases to create a custom look. I hope that helps!
Judy Marks says
My fireplace stone was grey and old. I had it painted semi-gloss white. It looks so much better.
I like your cabinets. Judy Marks
This fireplace would looks great. But you might enjoy the bricks more if they were painted white. Also there is a spray paint that you can use to paint the gold black. It would really update the look. Love these blogs! Thanks for sharing
I think it looks lovely. If you are still looking for an idea of what to put
on the shelf under the typewriter I would go with some company
letterhead paper 8 1/2 by 10 in buff or grey. If you can find an authentic
wood tray to put it in, that would look nice and as well. You can often
get letterhead when a company changes their address. They often scrap
tons of it. A pretty letter opener would complete the look. You have a lovely
Burma Shaw says
I have the red bricks also, and am at a stumbling point too. My problem is: the previous homeowner bought this home as an unfinished shell and did all of the interior work himself, including (I believe) the brickwork for the fireplace face. He did some excellent work- thirty years later his work is still plumb and square! I’d like to tile over the brick face though, for some shimmer and glam and add the flanking storage areas. My dilemma: the brick face has a three row deep staggered out face and sides, making it impossible to reface without tearing off the top three rows of brick. Tackling it myself is going to be one of those “Am I opening up a can of worms here, and biting off more than I can chew?” deals, I’m sure. I won’t know what’s behind it to build on (or repair) until I rip the bricks off. I’m recovering from a severe car accident, so all I can do is sit and grab ideas off Pinterest and decorating blogs/mags for now.
In your photos, the teal color of the interior isn’t that visible so, if I were you and had your quandary, I’d cut out the center of the two shelves and router in a lip to hold glass shelving (all very easy and/or inexpensive to do/have done), then light em up. Maybe even go for a bolder shade of teal, too, or paint the recessed mirror area teal also. You can always paint over what you don’t like. Perhaps try with an inserted scrap piece of sheet rock first ($5 at Home Depot). If you do choose to put a flat screen above the fireplace, you can run the wires into the side shelving units and into a decorative, shelf sitting box (with holes drilled for wires’ entry and exit), leaving minimal showing. You can also have receptacles put into the shelving unit, if needed. Almost all extraneous TV gadgets can be remotely controlled now (wireless) and can be stowed invisibly in the cabinets below, which you can also add receptacles to. Also- did you know they sell mirrors that have builtin flat screen TVs? The TV picture appears once the TV is turned on…kill two birds with one stone.
Good luck with your living room! I’ll keep checking back as I feel better and can maybe learn from your finished project. Thank you so very much for sharing and letting me watch as you go through your learning curve too. Again, good luck!
I saw your earlier post where you had a few layouts in mind. So have you placed the TV opposite the windows? Do you suggest placing a TV opposite a window?
I know! I am so behind in updating this post. Thanks for the encouragement for getting to work on that!
I must be completely old school ~ I love the way the red brick looks against the white built ins! The only thing I would change is the color of the insert from brass to matte black. I absolutely love your color choices for this room, my bedroom is along the same color pallate – I even have that same throw blanket hehe 🙂 You have done some beautiful work!
Robyn Love Steele :: Calligrapher says
Hi Jessica! I just stumbled upon your blog. I am in <3. I am a minister's wife and our living room is shaped 100% the same, except instead of your gorgeous built ins we have lovely tall windows overlooking a cute shaded patio. Luckily our brick was a cream/tan color. But it has other issues… HA.
I adore what you have done with the room and your great goodwill finds. totally would love to share my love of a good cheap find with you. And your shelf decorating…… girl it is AMAZING. totally don't devalue your good taste. I like it as much as any styled Pottery Barn room.
But as for your small ponderings, My suggestions are:
1. Leave the fireplace surround metal as is. Shiny is in. And I think it looks great in your space.
2. Definitely paint the brick, instead of white, what about black??? Or a very dark grey. I think it would be very modern and go with the look that you have everywhere else. (which is my decorating style too)
3. My final observation was the mirror. It looks much too small for the space. I love the shape, but it just needs to be bigger to fill in that large space. What about using a big piece of art you have and setting both that and the mirror on the mantle leaning. It would look more relaxed and fill up the space better. Need some art, just let me know. I would love to make something for you!
Instantly your friend, Robyn Love
when we moved in to our house we were able to simply remove the brass and glass doors from our fireplace. It’s completely open now and I love it. we picked up a freestanding fireplace screen at Lowes (but you can probably find one used for free/cheap)
Patty Voelker says
I just realized this post is really old but if you’re anything like me, I am never quite satisfied with my layout. I have a few suggestion. Like everyone else, I would whitewash the brick. It will tone it down but not get rid of the red completely. I would also spray the fireplace surround in a black to match the knobs on your doors. I don’t know what your budget is for you living quarters but if you had funds to buy a matching couch, having them back to back with a table in the middle would work just fine. You can sit on the couch and enjoy the fireplace, or sit on the other couch. Or, you can have a couch face the fireplace with a sofatable behind it and then situate another couch along the far walk for TV viewing. That’s my two cents.