Palette Wood Fireplace Surround Makeover

Adding Character to our Builder Basic House

Well, I have to admit, generally “palette wood projects” make me roll my eyes, I mean, at the end of the day new wood isn’t that expensive. But as we searched for an inexpensive way to makeover our fireplace, I was surprised to see how palette wood could very closely resemble re-claimed wood when done correctly.
Palette Wood Fireplace Surround looks just like re-claimed wood- Love the warmth and texture it adds

The Research

Here are a few projects that inspired and encouraged me (click on the picture to link to the source and to see more from their projects):
Re-claimed Wood Fireplace Surround
Palette Wood Fireplace Surround
What I also appreciated about these designs is that they don’t look too “country” or like they only belong in a cabin. I love the texture and warmth that the wood adds (especially the warmer toned woods below), but didn’t want to lose the contemporary style of our house.
Palette Wood Wall
And, even if you don’t have a fireplace to re-do, this technique looks great for a feature wall or hardboard like below.
Palette Wood Headboard…SO cool and SO cheap!
{Source for the headboard picture unknown :( }
So, with these ideas in mind, we decided to give it a try (we really didn’t have much to lose!) and set out to find some palettes. In most areas if you just check Craigslist you will find companies giving them away. We had no problem collecting the palettes and specifically looked for a mixture of new and old, and ones with different sizes of boards.

Fireplace Surround Before:

Here is what our fireplace looked like before:
Palette Wood Fireplace Surround: BEFORE
Oh it’s not the worst thing that you have ever seen, but what you can’t really tell from the pictures is that it was actually a faux stone that the previous owners painted. We thought about re-painting it, but with the traditional styling of it, even with a coat of paint we didn’t know that we could get it to match our aesthetic. Plus, with the super high ceilings in this section of our house, we really wanted something that filled the space more adequately.

So the fireplace project begins…

It really wasn’t that much work to remove the old surround (says the woman holding the camera). Although we quickly discovered that the old surround was fiberglass and was VERY heavy. Probably a team-lift project, but…
The only other slight snag we ran into was that the carpet was actually cut out around the old surround so there would be a little patching to do (likely from a bedroom closet) when the project was done.

Preparing the Palette Wood Boards

While I can’t believe we I didn’t get a picture of it, one Sunday afternoon we took a trailer and my husband’s truck and collected about 30 palettes. I knew the key to success with this project would be having a wide variety of colors and sizes to choose from since we wanted a “Re-claimed Wood” look, NOT a free palette wood look! I also had plans for a barn door baby gate that would require some boards as well :)
Once we got back home, my husband used a Sawz-all to cut through the nails to separate the boards.
This was a good approach for two reasons:
1) It was ALOT quicker than trying to pry the boards apart
2) It left the nail heads in the boards which looked cool and didn’t leave empty holes
When all of the boards were in individual pieces, we laid them out on the garage floor.

Assembling the Palette Wood Fireplace Surround

Preparing the boards was the most time-consuming part of the project, but once they were laid out on the garage floor, the project went really quickly!
Here is what we did:
1) Drew vertical lines down both sides for guidelines
2) Laid out boards for the first three rows
>> We purposefully used some full length pieces for some rows and shorter pieces for others
>> We chose different width boards and colors
>> I wanted a little bit of a “stripe-y” look to keep it looking contemporary (you’ll see what I mean more in the final photos below)
3) With each row my husband checked to make sure that they were still level
>> The boards didn’t line up perfectly, there are some small gaps between the boards, but you don’t notice, a great part of this project, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
4) He used a nail gun to attach the boards. Because we weren’t sure we would love it, we didn’t use any kind of adhesive or liquid nails, if we did this again we would as some of the boards have began to pull away a little bit. No one else notices but I do :)

Ta-Da! Our Faux Re-claimed wood Palette wood Fireplace surround!

I love, love, love the final product!
Originally this project appealed to my frugal-ness…I didn’t want to spend a lot on re-doing our fireplace since this isn’t our “forever-home”, but it turned out much better than I could have imagined! I love the warmth that it adds to our main level, you just want to sit in there with a cup of coffee and chat. I also like how well the different colors and tones in the wood go with our existing oak molding.
Here is a wide shot, standing from our kitchen (again you can see our Baby Gate Project here!):
Palette Wood Fireplace Makeover
And looking the other way:
Re-claimed Wood Fireplace Surround

The Mantle

For the mantle we were fortunate to find an old timber from a dismantled building at my parent’s farm. It even had some old metal brackets on it that made it even more interesting. We like the simple lines of it since again, we were going for a more contemporary look. I also didn’t want anything too big, I knew I would be putting small things on it, because the room, while it has tall ceilings, is actually pretty small.
Palette Wood Fireplace Surround
Palette Wood Fireplace Makeover-looks like re-claimed wood!
Palette Wood Fireplace Makeover-looks like re-claimed wood!
Palette Wood Fireplace Makeover-looks like re-claimed wood!
Palette Wood Fireplace Surround
Palette Wood Fireplace Makeover
 Overall, I would call this a Pinterest success story (despite my husband’s skepticism :)! Most of the accessories in the living room came from T.J. Maxx Home Goods (this isn’t a sponsored post, I just like their prices!)
If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you right away!
Palette Wood Fireplace Surround
Related Posts:
>> Palette Wood 3-Hour Baby Gate (with link to plans!)
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