Emma’s Fireplace Makeover

Emma's fireplace makeover via abeautifulmess.comStriped fireplaceOutside of my dining room I haven't shared very much of Trey's and my house with you all yet. I'm not sure why, but the one area of my home that I've found the most difficult to work with/style is my fireplace. 

First off, don't you think "fireplace" is kind of a funny term? Next I'll be showing you my bedplace or my cookingplace. I'm just saying, it's sort of a no-duh term. Anyway. The truth is, I don't really use my fireplace. It might as well be fake because I've only used it once since I've owned my home (well over 2 years now). Here's why: We built a little firepit in our backyard. So anytime Trey and I want a fire we build it back there. Firepits are awesome to cook s'mores over or just sit around and chill with friends. So we don't have a lot of need for our fireplace, but it's still so pretty. 😉Emma's fireplace beforeHere's what it looked like when I moved in. You can see I was prepping the walls to paint, but I snapped a few photos first in case I ever wanted to remember what the house looked like when I first moved in. That sort of yellowish tan is the color of many of the walls in the house when I bought it. I left the living room that color for almost a year as I just wasn't ready to commit to anything yet. And there stood the fire place. My house was built in 1985 and I think a lot of the features looked very… uh… 80s for sure. The tile around the fire place, for example. I just wasn't feeling that. Too dark brown and speckly for my taste. Should I replace them? Should I just paint them (with high heat paint, in case I EVER do use my fireplace)? I didn't know where to start.Emma's second attempt at the fire placeHere's my first attempt at re-imagining the space. I (finally) decided to paint the living room. I went with a white. I didn't paint the trim in the room so I left the wood trim on the fireplace as well. But I did paint the tile to match the walls. To me this was a big improvement. I hung a giant (blueprint) photo of Trey and I above it, and that was pretty much it. Since I didn't have a TV (yet) or much furniture this was the main focal point of the living room. So the giant picture, and the overall look seemed to fit. It felt balanced. But then I decided all white walls just wasn't me, and so the evolution continued. Paint stripes above your fireplaceEventually I took the plunge and painted all the walls a black shade. (!!!!!!) We also added a huge bookshelf, that also holds our tv set. I'll share more on that when I share my living room tour (this week!). I loved these changes, but it meant the white fireplace no longer made sense. So I painted it black, along with the trim (because I decided to paint the room trim black as well). The addition of the bookshelf and tv really changed focal point of the room too. So the fireplace is not as prominent a feature. I decided to paint stripes above it to give it more of a feature (so it wasn't ALL black). And now we can decorate it for the seasons. It feels very Halloween appropriate this month, as it has little pumpkins lining the mantle. During the holidays I plan to add a white garland and stockings. So yeah… we love the stripes! It feels very Night Circus to me. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share. I will be sharing more of my house soon so stay tuned! xo. Emma

Photos by Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman

  • I really liked the fireplace combined with white,but you’re right it looks even more special painted black.And the black and white stripes look great.
    I envy you so muc for your big bookshelf,want one like that too!

  • I absolutely love this!! The whole room looks great! I love the stripes above the fireplace and the floor-to-ceiling book shelf. Great job 🙂

  • The revamped fireplace definitely looks much better than the original! Love the black and white stripes!

  • so ballsy of you and it turned out amazing! I really love the contrast and it looks like your room is light and bright enough to handle all of that black.

  • Wow, that looks so lovely! It all seems like home, it has a homy feeling to it!


  • I know we should be talking about the fire place, but seriously, that book shelf is THE BOMB!!!

  • Really daring with the dark walls and stripes, but it looks awesome as a result 🙂


  • Sold at “It feels very Night Circus to me” – I agree. Enchanting. (Although, before I read that I saw the book shelves, I was sold then first. Had to admit it). Gorgeous.

    May I ask, does the black still work at night. It’s a weird question. I mean it looks great in the light, but at night? Sorry if it’s prying. Do you ever feel as if the walls are creeping in or anything like that? I can’t decide honestly with black walls, they look great. But I tend to scare myself at night, so any input really.

  • The bookshelf and the striped walls. <3


  • I love the black and white stripes. It looks so pretty and cool 🙂 Unfortunately I don’t have a single interior decorating bone in my body, I leave all that up to the husband….

  • Not many people would be brave enough to paint a prominent room in their house black but this looks so good! I especially love the giant bookcase and ladder! Great job 🙂

  • WOW! what a huge improvement. I love seeing posts like this, it makes me more confident when looking for places because I can see the potential. Did you instal the bookshelf yourself? and did you tackel the rest of the house yet? I cant wait to see the rest of your place when its finished (if not already) lol, I know it will be fabulous just like this.


  • I just had to comment, because I love “The Night Circus.” This room is so rad. I love the black walls. Kudos for such a risk. And such an amazing payoff! I cannot wait to see the rest of the room. It looks fantastic!


  • Beautiful, and bold! It was brave of you to take the plunge and go for dark walls, but so worthwhile!
    I’m just wondering (and this is probably a silly question) but Emma’s house will feature in your next book, right? Can’t wait for it!
    Thanks for a wonderful blog 🙂
    Amy xx

  • Beautiful change! I love the ladder with the bookshelves… so romantic! So happy you were able to do this. (We have same vinyl player, know where to get new needles!?).

  • Hi Amy!
    Yes- Emma’s home is featured in our upcoming book (a whole bunch!) I’m so glad you like it. She’s amazing!!!

  • I absolutely ADORE the black and white stripes!!! Looks amazing!!

    And if you don’t use the fireplace, what about putting in a whole bunch of different sized candles?? We did that at my cousins’ apartment and it looks amazing!! And adds so much ambiance (and heat…) if you are having a romantic night with the hubby!! Check it out:


    We also used empty coca cola bottles as candle stick holders, and put all the candles on top of mirrors (bought at the Dollar Store) to add a nice touch (and not ruin the floors)


  • Thanks for the tips! I don’t know if I can truly commit to stripes. Maybe I’ll make some with wall decal material so I can peel them off if I do a less than stellar job. 🙂

  • Me too!!!!!! Internet high five to you! Did you also think the library in Beauty & the Beast was the MOST romantic thing ever???

    Oh… just me…

    Forget I said anything.


  • I had it custom built for my wall. It’s floor to ceiling and my ceiling has an arc, so it had to be built. 🙂

  • Leigh Ann- Yes, I thought about white. Elsie’s house has a lot of white trim and I guess I just kind of wanted something different. It’s little sister syndrome. 🙂 I guess I’ll let you know if I end up regretting it, but so far Trey and I LOVE it.

  • It looks amazing now, such a great job!


  • Kari M- The stripes were challenging, I won’t lie. What I did was paint the whole area white (with primer) first. Then tape off the areas I wanted white and paint on two coats of black (it needed both coats, turned out). This still left my lines a little less than perfect when I peeled the tape off. It was heart breaking! But once I chilled out I got an edger and went over the less than perfect lines with a small (art) paint brush. This final step took about an hour and half, so it was annoying. But I just loved how it turned out.

  • This colours are amazing! Can you tell me what king of colours are there? I mean their exact numbers?

  • LOVVVVEEE the bookshelves with the rolling ladder!!! hope you’ll be posting something about that on the blog or in the upcoming book! 🙂

  • My husband and I LOVE your space! I often show him recipes or DIY’s from your blog and he says “cool” and moves on, but this room left him wanting more! 😉 Our dream home would have a bookshelf wall!

  • I’m curious too! Where did you find that book case?!? I’m looking to do that to my wall and any tips would be great!

  • Nice change, we love the result! It’s very modern!


  • That looks very dark and at the same time very comfy! Brave choice!

    Love from Germany,

    Birdy and Bambi


  • Wowza that is quite the series of transformations!! So bold of you!


  • I LOVE it!! What a great job. That blue chair fits so perfectly with that space. And do you have a ladder for a bookshelf!?!? So. Jealous. My favorite Disney character was always Belle because she loved books as much as me.

    Can’t wait to see more! The fireplace looks so amazing!

  • Gorgeous! I love the way it looks now. The whole room (what we can see of it)looks really nice. I once lived in a house with a fireplace too, which I proceeded to use a total of zero times. I just thought it would be too messy and instead filled the space with a bunch of candles and lit those when we had company over.

  • All I can say is, YOU HAVE A LIBRARY LADDER! AHHH! My childhood dream turned adult dream….

  • Love love love the pumpkins on the mantle 🙂 So cute for the up-coming holiday. The black walls were a great idea, especially with all the trim being black too. Such a badass room. VAST improvement from the speckled tile for sure 😉

    xo Ashley

  • LOVE what you’ve done with it. It’s really really subtle because it just blends in, but somehow bold at the same time because it’s black. I could never put black paint on my walls because there’s so little natural light in my house, but it really works for your space!


  • Ooh so excited about this, Emma! I’ve just recently re-read your post about your house purchase and it’s inspired me SO much. I’ll start looking at houses next spring 🙂
    Love the black walls btw 🙂

  • I love black walls so much! My bedroom at my mom’s was painted black and it was the best. Recently, though, I got married and we moved into an apartment. I painted all of the walls a creamy white and it’s kind of crazy to me sometimes. Can’t wait to have a home of my own and get a little black back on the walls!

  • Oooh I loooooove what you did with it! Gorgeous! I’ve never seen black walls that I’ve liked, but this looks so classy! Great job!

  • What a lovely space, I love having a fire on a cold day, so cosy!
    The black really makes the room look elegant and put together

  • It is nice to have so much light so that having a black wall looks great. I love the chair next to the black wall. And that bookcase ladder – to die for!

  • Wow, as usual, it’s very inspiring! Every time I stop b your blog, it gives me so many cool ideas to cook/decorate/custom that I never know where to start, haha 😉


  • Oh my god this room looks incredible. I never thought I would like black walls. I would have thought the room would look small with them but it doesn’t all. Love these pictures!


  • Wow, at first I wasn’t sure but it grew on me and by the last photo I was in love – especially that fabulous book case! Oh, and with the stripes and pumpkins all I can see is The Nightmare Before Christmas, you need to find Sally and Jack Skellington to hang out on there 😉

  • It’s very nice ! J’aime beaucoup your style. The fauteuil is just gorgeus and the black and white is wonderful! good job!

  • I really like the dark walls, and the white stripes really look nice, especially for Halloween.
    Did you mean to have the stripe edges all crooked or did the tape you used just not work out well?


  • Did you not think of just painting the trim white? I have a friend who painted his entire kitchen black and he hates it now. I hope you don’t have buyers remorse. I studied design for years and though I love black as an accent, to me, black gets cold really quick.

  • Gorgeous! And so unique. I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to see the rest of your house eventually!

  • love that striped wall! and the blue chair great do-over! xx. gigi. www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

  • Love to see how it’s all evolving! We just painted our fireplace a while back also!

    Here’s what it turned out like:


    Thanks for sharing, Emma! Can’t wait to see more!

  • I love the pumpkins lining the mantle! Such a great look. And the stripes go so well with your curtains! Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  • Very cute redo! I like the first redo but I like this redo too. I love how bright it is even though the room is a dark color. Lovely.

  • Okay, I LOVE this room. Especially the chair; it’s perfect. I can’t wait for the rest of the tour!

  • I love it! Love it, love it, love it! I’d never thought I’d say that about black walls but the living room looks gorgeous!! And those stripes are amazing!
    I’m so looking forward to seeing more of your haouse!

  • Holy cow that black paint just MADE the transformation! And the bookshelf of course. I totally love white, clean spaces but I definitely think I’d like to have at least one black accent wall in a room whenever I have a permanent house. Can’t wait to see the whole tour!

  • Love! I had a black bathroom once and when I mentioned to everyone what color I had chosen, they thought I was crazy…until they all loved it and wanted it as well. I eventually bought a metallic silver valspar glaze and did one coat over the black to add some shimmer to the color. Looked really cool!

  • the mini pumpkins us such a great idea for fall decoration!

  • i’m loving those stripes! i also like how there are just a few to draw focus 🙂 x

  • the fireplace is really cute!
    but then you took a side picture of your “library” and swoon! im in heaven.
    how i WISH i had that!!!!

    im in love!

    thanks for sharing! (:

  • Literally SO excited to see both of your home tours. And unbelievably excited for your home decor book too! You both have such amazing taste and style. I’m absolutely loving the cute little pumpkins on your mantle. Perfectly seasonal!


  • This looks incredible! I love the stripes. Great inspiration!


  • Do you have any tips for doing stripes? It’s so challenging to get a nice crisp line, would you recommend maybe trying wall paper to someone without much painting experience?

    I love the little pumpkins!

  • This is great!
    Where did you get the large book shelf and tv stand? My husband is big on books, owning more than 1000 last I counted. This would be perfect for high ceilings. Thank you!

  • Love the combination!!! 🙂 It seems to be a really new place! Very stylish, congrats 🙂

  • It looks wonderful Emma. So bold to have black walls! But – it doesnt make the room seem dark? Maybe it’s the white curtains at the windows. Can’t wait to see more!
    Rosie x

  • this is incredible! i never imagined a black room could look so bright and full of life, but you have achieved that!

  • WOW! I was pretty taken back by all the black, but it works. And the stripes really made it too! I could not live with a fireplace not workable though. I love the whole thing…building one, tending to it ALL DAY in super cold weather and then watching it go to embers late in the evening. BUT to each his own. You did an amazing job with this room.

  • I love the black! It’s very daring!!! And looks amazing!!! Great for Halloween too!!



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  • Normally I think black closes in a space, but this is so open and light. I love it!


  • Wow, good job! This is pretty inspirational, makes me want to fix something up now!

  • Love this idea! So chic and fun. The black + white allow for a lot of colorful details to be added in the room.

    xo honestly, b.

  • I loved the book ‘Night Circus’ and I agree that your fireplace now has that feel – in a VERY good way! I love this makeover, it is insanely beautiful.

  • I absolutely love love love this! So simple yet so dramatic. I’m a huge Night Circus fan too. Excellent!

  • Painting the walls black is super bold!!! I don’t think I can ever do that but you have so much lighting in this room that it makes it looks really amazing! It looks so cool!

  • I LOVE it! Dark walls always look so dreamy! I love how beautifully the black and white pattern will pop for any kind of decoration!

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