Study magazines and books on décor styles. Make note of the fireplaces that catch your eye. Use these pictures as a starting point for giving your red brick fireplace a face-lift.
Paint the brick. Brighten things up with a coat of white. Or think about the other colors in your room and choose a hue that complements them, or paint the fireplace a color that contrasts with the other colors to make the fireplace pop. Buy a product that is specially formulated to cover brick.
Resurface the fireplace. Install field stone or river rock over the brick for a rustic look. Cover the brick with glass tiles or granite for a contemporary feel. Stucco over the brick for a Mediterranean flair.
Remove the mantel. Put up a weathered barn beam for a rustic or country look. Leave off the mantel for a clean, more contemporary vibe. Install an unembellished, polished wood surround that widens at the top to serve as the mantel. Top the fireplace with a shelf of concrete or plaster.
Modify the hearth. Remove a raised hearth in favor of one that is level with the floor. Make it marble, concrete or slate to blend with modern furnishings. Choose fieldstone to complement a Tuscan-influenced room.
Buy new fireplace tools and accessories. Change out the old mesh screen for a streamlined glass door. Replace the traditional brass-handled tool set with sleek wrought-iron pieces. Substitute the old andirons with Chinese-inspired ones shaped like graceful dragons. Instead of a real fire, set the stage with an arrangement of pillar candles or a large basket filled with dried grasses and baby's breath or white and blue hydrangeas. Breathe new life into a red brick fireplace by highlighting the mantel with small herbal topiaries like those made from rosemary, rather than the expected candles and family photos.