Nate Berkus has an answer for everything, including how to style a major living room focal point: the fireplace. Based on an Instagram post sent out to his 1.4 million followers, it’s clear the veteran designer has an affinity for charming, old world–style hearths, and who can blame him? An antique mantel and chevron brick instantly elevate a room to cozy status. “I can’t even look at a new fireplace without wanting to redo it,” he wrote. But worry not; if you have a modern-looking fireplace, there’s an easy fix to get on Berkus’s level. Just renovate it to make it look old. 

According to Jenny Cipoletti, creator of Margo & Me, it’s not too hard to DIY a 17th-century–inspired piece. Simply purchase a freestanding cast-stone mantel and attach it to your wall using L-brackets, then style it by placing a vintage candelabra or vases on top.

If you want to go one step further, do as Mallory Fletchall from Reserve Home did and tile the firebox for an old-school look that packs a big punch. 

If transforming your old fireplace into an even older-looking one sounds like a pricey endeavor, take a look at the wallet-friendly version, below. These U.K.-based homeowners purchased an ornate mantel from Facebook Marketplace for around $18 and constructed the hearth themselves using recycled tile and backer board.

Berkus’s last piece of advice when it comes to a classic fireplace? Hang a piece of modern art on the wall above it. Not only is that a great way to embed personality into the space, but the contrast between old and new will keep things just the right amount of interesting. 

This story was originally published on July 21, 2021. It has since been updated.

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