I wasn't crazy about how it looked when we moved in. The mantel was a very dark wood finish and was not stained well. The cast iron piece was painted a cream and there was a pink kitchen backsplash tile that had been installed around it. It wasn't living up to its full potential!
This is the 'before' fireplace (and our cat Maybelline).
Here's the 'after'.
I used acrylic paint on the wood, mostly because I hate the smell of oil paint and I like the low/no-VOC stuff that's out there. I didn't prime though. Big mistake! I'll be doing another coat in the next month or so to cover up where it's chipped. The 'measure twice, cut once' rule has never really applied to me. I don't have the patience! Lesson learned - always prime!
For the metal grate, I just used black acrylic and it seems to be holding up well. That's a nice change!
What do you think? An improvement or do you prefer the look of stained wood to painted? I feel like on design shows, the men always like to keep the wood dark, and women always want to paint it. I usually prefer painted myself, but I'm curious to know your thoughts.