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Shiplap and Barn Beam Fireplace Mantel Makeover

Our circa 1999 fireplace mantel had been updated but still wasn’t pretty. So, we did a Shiplap and Barn Beam Fireplace Mantel Makeover.

This post was sponsored by Valspar Canada. All opinions are, as always, our own. For our full disclosure policy click here.


Have you ever wanted to give an outdated fireplace mantel a makeover? Well, we totally just did a Shiplap and Barn Beam Fireplace Mantel Makeover.

shiplap and barn beam fireplace makeover pin 1

Fireplace Before

One of the things I loved about this space when we moved in, was the fireplace. At our old house we had an electric fireplace, which was nice. But the warmth from this gas insert fireplace is extra lovely.

Of course, the “before” left a LOT to be desired as far as looks go! 

So, shortly before our first Christmas here, I painted the mantel and surround, which made a huge difference.

living room with fireplace

And a little while later, Dean removed the vent cover things (I’m not sure what they’re really called) and spray painted them with black “stove paint”. (“Stove paint” is made for high heat situations so it was safe to use here.) That, and a lovely sign from Splinters and Grace Designs, made a huge difference in how the space looked. 

fall fireplace in living room

We lived with it for a couple of years…until I found a great barn beam in a little shop in just outside of Port Perry and a new plan for the fireplace formed in my brain!

Shiplap and Barn Beam Fireplace Mantel Makeover

Adding the Barn Beam and Shiplap

So, to clarify for anyone wanting to do their own fireplace makeover, we did not modify the actual fireplace surround in any way (except for cutting off the mantel top crown molding). We didn’t want to worry about the rules for gas inserts or anything. So we left that as it was built. We simply built a shell that was actually wider than the original surround and installed shiplap over that. We used the same plywood for the shiplap that we did for our kitchen backsplash and also our black living room accent wall. Then Dean added supports and custom brackets to hold the mantel. 

Here’s how the mantel looked about a week ago, when I shared this year’s fall home tour

living room fireplace mid makeover

After that it was time for me to paint the shiplap. 

Choosing a Paint Color

Here’s where the project actually got complicated for me. I just couldn’t decide on a color! 

I mean, I chose two colors – a quart of white and a quart of black. Which was actually super easy because I used Valspar’s handy AskVal.com Pinterest Analyzer and Photo Match tools to find a white and a black that coordinated perfectly with our existing decor and paint colors:

  • Deep Well 4011-2 (also called Deep Kettle Black)
  • Heirloom Pink 7001-18 

I just couldn’t decide which one I wanted to use in the space! 

On the one hand, white shiplap and barn wood is a look I adore. Especially in bright, farmhouse style photos. 

On the other, I love the moodiness of black with wood too. (Obviously, given our black island and black shiplap wall.)

Painting the Mantel

I decided to just start painting and see what I thought.

I painted part of one side white and part of the other side black. And I still couldn’t decide.

white and black paint test

Both are gorgeous colors. The white is pretty neutral in our space and the ever so slightly pink undertones work well because our floors are slightly pink. But the black is really a beautiful shade of gray/black that worked well too. 

I was so torn. 

Then I remembered what I tell everyone else – it’s just paint.

Both colors fit the space. It was really just a matter of which worked better.

If I didn’t like the end result, really I just had to paint it again. And since it’s such a small space, the cost and time to repaint weren’t really a huge deal. 

So, after polling y’all on Instagram and getting results that were slightly skewed towards white, I painted it all white.

Living Room New Shiplap Fireplace

Truthfully, I like it. But I’m not sure it’s us enough to keep it white long term.

farmhouse style fireplace corner

 I may still paint it black later. 

white shiplap and barn beam mantel

What do you think of our Shiplap and Barn Beam Fireplace Mantel Makeover? Would you keep it white or paint it black?

I'd love it if you'd share:

Student love

I found my style and was able to bring our small space together by creating a cozy and inviting home...

Danae C.

I loved the lesson on color theory, and also THAT YOU TOLD US EXACTLY WHAT ORDER TO DECORATE IN!

Erica L.

My ah-ha moment was when I realized how much time and money we have spent in the past couple of...

Cheryl P.

I love your easy process to determine my style. I've also learned that my style has changed over the years and seasons...

Sheryl R.

Your explanation of paint colors was the light bulb moment for me! Your explanation would have saved us from painting...

Pat Jensen