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Wooden Fireplace Screen Makeover

June 29, 2021

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Well, I asked for it and now summer has arrived in full force.

The mercury has climbed into the 90s and there's a heat advisory in effect for our area.

It's hazy. It's humid. And it's hot.

The Beach In Summer

So hot, in fact, that when I went to the beach, even with an umbrella, I only lasted about ten minutes before I went running back to the air conditioned car.

It basically too hot to do anything today except hide in the house or float in the pool.

That makes it the perfect time to talk about fireplaces, right? 😉

If you recall, back in May I crafted a cover for my kitchen fireplace. Looking at an inactive fireplace in summer depresses me.

I also find those big open black holes to be a bit creepy.

The kitchen fireplace creep was easy to eliminate. However the large gaping hole in the living room presented more of a challenge.

Ferns are a classic, summery option, and lots of friends suggested I buy one, but that hole is big.

Very big, so I would've needed an enormous one. Also, with a reputation as a plant murderer, it was an inadvisable option at best.

I did have something else up my sleeve though.

Several years ago, I found an old ornate wooden fireplace screen in someone's trash pile. And I scooped it up.

Ornate Wooden Fireplace Screen

It was beautiful, the painting was lovely, but it was in terrible shape, so we tossed it in the garage and planned to revisit it another day.

Broken Hinges on Fireplace Screen

Well, last week we pulled it out and got to work on it.

Originally, we had planned to use it as a template and make our own, but upon closer examination we realized we could probably repair this one.

And then pretty it up.

Broken Fireplace Screen

We (and by we, I mean my husband) started taking the screen apart, by unscrewing the hinges, so he could glue all the broken particle board back into place.

Gluing Particle Board Repair

It took quite a while since the screen was a total mess. The MDF had definitely taken a beating, which is clearly why it was at the curb.

Repairing A Fireplace Screen with glue

Once the sticky puzzle was put back together, he used every clamp we own to hold it all in place until the Gorilla Glue dried.

Using Clamps For MDF Repair

Then we brought it inside and it was my turn to get to work.

I really wanted to keep the design on the front, it was stunning. I thought it fit my aesthetic and the flowers were sweet.

Wooden Painted Fireplace Screen

The damage was just way too evident though. And there was no amount of repainting or restoring that would fix any of it.

So. Plan B - which was to paint over it. Not ideal, but necessary. 

I thought about colors for a really long time. I used my old favorite PicMonkey, to visualize the different hues and how they would look in the room and eventually settled on Philadelphia Cream, by Benjamin Moore.

Painted Fireplace Screen

White was too white, cream felt off, red was a flat out no (since I have big curtain plans and thought it'd be too busy), but Philadelphia Cream is the color of the walls and it fit.

When the painting was done, I contemplated designs for the front panel.

I was sure I wanted to mimic the original screen look. I hit PicMonkey again and made printables to decoupage on the front.
Floral Printable Red Roses
I also picked out gorgeous furniture decals, I even thought about cutting up an old one dollar, thrift store print to place on it.  However, in the end, I decided simple was best.

And I ordered this wooden furniture applique.

Painted Fireplace Screen

I painted it to match the screen in the same color.

Painted Wooden Furniture Applique

Then my husband and I mapped out its placement, using post its to mark the perfect spot, while we added the glue.

Gluing Furniture Appliques In Place

This time, instead of clamps that would potentially ruin the finish, we placed a heavy book on top of the applique and let it dry overnight.

On Monday morning, I had a charming fireplace screen that fit my cottage style decor to a tee. 

Wooden Fireplace Screen

It was totally different than what I thought I wanted, but apparently, just what the room needed.

And now there's not a drop of creepy in the room.

Just a fabulous fireplace, dressed in its seasonal best.

Wooden Fireplace Screen

Oh and a tiny little fern that my husband has adopted.

It's just safer for everyone that way.

Fireplace Screen Makeover

What does your summer fireplace look like?



  1. Love this project. The screen was pretty but such a mess.

    You made it perfect for your cottage.

    Pinned!

    It's so hot I can't stand it. Our pups don't want to go outside. They hold their colons together until dusk.

    Summer in the Tri State area

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    1. Those poor hot little pups, they must be loving a nap in the ac!! That's all I really want to do during the heat of the day, too. I do go outside after dusk as well, then it's beach and backyard time!! Stay cool!!

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  2. How nice to find that fireplace screen! I love the makeover you and your husband did to it Kim. The screen looks beautiful in the cream colored paint with the added applique and I like the way it matches your decor.

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    1. Thanks Julie! The paint color looks great since it matches the wall. I was afraid any other color was going to be too busy in that room.

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  3. Beautiful, as usual, Kim.
    Once, several years ago, I found a fireplace screen about the same dimensions as yours. Mine was plywood, stained with mildew. It sat outside for a long time. And then came a purge. I gave it away to a crafty lady who has a thrift shop. And one of her sisters painted Peter Rabbit on it, since it was around Easter. It sold very soon. Now someone else gets to look at it.
    p.s. I don't have a fireplace. I was considering hanging it on my large blank wall, above the long couch. But it still would have required painting/decorating. But I'm not as talented in that department as you!

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    1. I wish I could paint a Peter Rabbit well enough on my own screen. That would be lovely. I used to paint a lot in high school and college, but frankly I'm out of practice and it would be a mess!! So this applique was as creative as I was going to get!!

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  4. "We (and by we, I mean my husband)" 🤣🤣🤣

    Nice work, Kim! I was a bit sad though that you didn't use those gorgeous decals. Love the decorative wooden applique you added!

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    1. "We" are so talented, aren't we?!? 😂

      And thank you, I'm happy with it...so far! We're on the same page with those decals. I love them and I really did want to use them, but I was afraid the colors wouldn't be right with the new curtains. So I passed, at least for now, until the curtains go up. I figured that with the applique placement so high up, I could add those decals at a later time if they work. I like options!!

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  5. Great makeover, Kim. I love the simplicity. When I had a fireplace, I would put a silver tray of white candles in it for the summer. A fireplace screen would have been so much better!

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    1. Oh Ann, I love the idea of the silver tray with candles. We have the gas logs and pipes in there or I would totally try that idea out. Of course, you'd have to find me a silver tray first. 🤣

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  6. We don't have a fireplace so no concerns about what to do with it in the summer! I love what you did though. You would never know how it started!
    I'm unable to keep a plant alive either.

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    1. Plants are my nemesis, Mari. I adore them, but I just fail every time. I think that’s why I love cut flowers so much. Can’t kill them!

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  7. Nice makeover, Kim.. Appliques are such a great way to add character. Love the pot that holds the fern. Super cute. Isn't it fun to take something "free" and make it into something fabulous? Hugs.

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    1. It really is, Nancy...and thank you!! I'm happy with the way it turned out. The rooster pot was a Marshall's find, I think, from years ago. It's one of my favorites, too. Hugs to you sweet friend!

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  8. Very nice, and I love the creamy color you painted it!

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    1. Thanks Ricki! Too bad you don’t live closer. I could’ve hired you to paint a lovely design on the front! My skills are rusty!!

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  9. I really like it painted and the appliqué put onto it. Looks great. xoxo Kris

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    1. Thanks Kris! It’s simple, but it works.

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  10. I really like it painted and the appliqué put onto it. Looks great. xoxo Kris

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  11. I was sad, too, that you had to paint it but it was the right decision. I love how it turned out. The medallion is just right!

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    1. It was sad to have to cover that darling design up, but it was a mess. Maybe someday I'll add a decal or paint on it again!

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  12. I loved the original....sorry it was in such bad shape. The new look is great. For the first time in years I don't have a fireplace here in our new condo in Florida....

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    1. It was so pretty, Penny. The shame of it was that most of the floral design was pretty good shape, it was the black background that was a mess. I really did try to figure out a way to keep it and make it look presentable, but it wasn’t the cards.

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  13. I love the simplicity of the fireplace screen makeover and the applique is the perfect cottage style touch! I'm so jealous you have a pool and beach nearby, Kim. Sweltering here in the heatwave with my feet in the kiddie pool imagining I'm floating in the real thing. LOL

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    1. Thanks Marie! Yes, the pool is nice. I grew up with one and was bent on having one as an adult. In our first home the wasn't any room and I did a lot of kiddie pooling myself! Stay cool!!

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  14. I love how it turned out and looks great next to that chair.

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    1. Thanks Betty! I love that chair. Another trash to treasure find!

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  15. We have a gas insert with a glass screen so I never really thought to put a screen. Not sure if it would work for us but now you have me thinking....

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    1. I can only imagine what kind of fun screen you'd come up with, Sara!!

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  16. I love it. It really fits the room so well.
    I like the container your fern is in.. is there a story about that container. ;-) LOL
    And how is the fern doing?
    Have a fun day in the pool my friend.
    Carla

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    1. So far the ferns - there are two, I thought they might do better in pairs - are ok. Holding their own. I try to just say hello and keep moving. Haha!! You’re the second person who mentioned that rooster pot. I think I found it at Marshalls. No good story, but it was definitely a bargain or I wouldn’t have bought it! xxoo

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  17. It turned out perfectly for your space! I loved the old looks and first thought it was sad to have to paint over it. However, once seeing it done and in your space…I can’t see it working any other way.

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    1. Thanks so much, Tina! I really wanted to make the screen work, but it was too far gone. I'm happy with the way it looks right now. For now...😉

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  18. Oh Kim, that is so totally charming. I'm with you...I would have wanted to save the original, but what y'all did was perfect! A very satisfying DIY.

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    1. Thanks so much, Florence and so good to hear from you! I hope you're doing well.

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  19. Their trash is certainly your treasure!!! I love how you transformed it to fit your space!!!
    Enjoy your Summer:)

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  20. What a wonderful update and now it perfectly matches your decor.

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  21. Kim, I could see how you would love to use the screen in its original state, but then can also see how it wouldn't feel in good shape if you did. You did a great job on it and love the little detail of the applique. It looks so fresh and pretty and now you have a great jumping off point if you decide that you want to add any more decoration to it..Happy Summer Days..xxoJudy

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  22. Kim,
    Love this wonderful make over!! It looks great!! Definitely a trash to treasure project!! Thanks so much for stopping by!! Happy July 4th!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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  23. What a beautiful fireplace! Definitely not creepy ;)

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  24. Big gaping hole be gone :D Such a pity you couldn't save the original image, but I love how your firescreen makeover turned out, Kim. Oh and I wish I'd seen your post it positioning trick. I can't tell you how often I've left ugly pencil marks on a piece because I just couldn't figure out how to mark where something should go.

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  25. Oh my goodness Kim! I am in love with your fireplace screen! So cute! I wish I could find things like this laying around just waiting on me to find it... I would have scooped this one up too! I hope the fern makes it. If it were in my home, it would more than likely die darn it.

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    1. Haha! Yes, that fern is so far, still alive. Of course, I did have to move it outside to my husband's domain. It has a better chance of survival out there!

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  26. The perfect addition to your cottage. Love it!

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    1. Thanks so much! I have to say, it's been a nice touch to soften that empty summer fireplace!

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