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Fireplace surround ideas, best stone choices, installation and tips

Fireplace surround ideas, best stone choices, installation and tips

Fireplaces add a comfy touch to your house that adds warmth to your living space and make the winter experience cozy as well.  A fireplace surround area plays a vital role in keeping the look of the room intact. This area is something that can either blend with your room décor or be the showstopper of your room without ruining the design scheme. Modern houses have interior designs that incorporate sophisticated style for fireplace surrounding areas. These ultra modern and stylish fireplaces amplify the beauty of the rooms where they are installed.

Fireplaces look outstanding and chic with stone adorned surround areas. You can easily bring nature to your crib with the right natural stone that enhances the splendor of your fireplace. A stone finish not only adds aesthetics but also channels the homeowner’s personality with its alluring effect. So if you are planning on a fireplace surround area redo for a much fresher and lively look then we have some beautiful ideas with natural stones that are not only beautiful but also according to the trending fashion. The ideas gathered here are perfect if you have a taste for high quality and the results are a surround space that screams elegance.

Design Ideas

If you are lost for ideas about your fireplace surrounding area’s remodeling then have a look at the design ideas suggested below for inspiration:

  • A crema marfil marble tiled fireplace surrounding area looks every bit elegant with a stainless steel inner rim against a bluish grey wall. The strategically placed light enhance the fireplace’s look. Complete the look with a big family portrait or a painting right above the mantel.

  • Marble in noble white color creates a dazzling fireplace perfect for a slightly modern household with black interior adorned with glass and black thin border. A gray and white floral wallpaper on the wall behind the fireplace looks wonderful. Add sleek silver candle stands on the mantle for the complete romantic look.

  • Here we have a natural stone combination fireplace. Ivory colored travertine is used for the surrounding space while the interior of the fireplace is made of light limestone tiles laid in brick pattern. A small potted plant accompanied with a unique candle stand completes this design flawlessly.

  • A stand alone fireplace with surrounding area covered with Calacatta Oro marble looks amazingly voguish with a glass cover. This type of design is perfect for a contemporary apartment or house.

  • A silver vein cut travertine tiled fireplace surrounding area with a white mantel and thick border looks chic in a simple design scheme. Decorate the wall above the mantel with the same stone but in a larger tile size to make the finishing look is perfect.

  • Marble and anything in golden color looks divine. Add extravagance to your living space with  the classic choice of architects and  designers  with white Carrara marble tiled traditional fireplace that is a perfect fit for almost any style and can blend with all types of design schemes. The addition of a golden inner border loudly emphasizes on its luxurious status.

  • Arabescato marble standalone fireplace surrounding area is a statement piece of art itself. Pair it up with the stylish glass covered fireplace and the result is stunning.

  • A beige travertine covered fireplace surrounding area with pillars looks something out of the Roman era. The classic style looks homely with the mantel covered with family photo frames.

  • The crude natural look of gray travertine creates a rustic vibe with the stacked stone wall design.  The low varying shades of gray in the surrounding area can easily blend with other elements of the room.  A rough large installation like this is the contemporary diva for those who like to bring the nature to their lounge without overwhelming the installation space. Hang a painting depicting flora and fauna for an oomph-ish look.

  • Here we have a traditional fireplace with small travertine tumbled tiles on the surrounding area. This design is perfect for a country home.

  • This walnut travertine ledger panel based fireplace area is every bit countryside design. It brings the traditional vibe to your living space with the neutral toned stone cut in horizontal thick pieces. The irregularities of the grout lines also look appealing in this rustic piece.

Décor Ideas

There are many ways to make your tiled fireplace surround area look appealing. Some of the popular décor ideas are listed below.

  1. If the tiles are engraved with floral designs then a pot of fresh flowers placed on the mantel looks refreshing.
  2. Statues or ornate pillars add the historical classy feel to a fireplace.
  3. Opt for narrow border if the room is small and use thick borders if the room is large. These combinations keep the balance between the room and fireplace’s size.

Stone Choices

There is a huge variety of natural stones that can be used to adorn the fireplace but our favorite picks are marble, travertine and limestone due to their high durability and commendable resistance towards heat. But before deciding which stone is perfect for your fireplace you need to determine the answers of the following questions:

  1. How much is the budget? A fireplace surround area with high end natural stone like marble can look mesmerizing-ly luxurious but if budget is a problem then an economical alternative like travertine can give the same amount of glamour. If you are aiming for a plain look then limestone can transform the look and feel of the surround areas with subtlety as well. You can even use a combination of different stone types in different shapes and sizes to make your fireplace’s appearance more attractive.
  2. What is the color scheme? When picking a stone for your fireplace the color is an important part of the decision. You need to first determine the hue or shade you want and then determine whether you would like a fireplace in contrast to your current color scheme or you want everything to match.
  3. What type of style you want? Depending on your style preference you can easily shortlist the finish type for your natural stone e.g. a sleek or contemporary style goes smoothly with a honed or polished stone and a tumbled finish is ideal for a rustic style.
  4. How much maintenance can you bear? If you can regularly deal with the cleaning of your fireplace then marble and travertine are the candidates but if low maintenance is the case then limestone is best option.

Once you have the answers to these questions, the quest for the perfect stone choice becomes extremely easy.


A fireplace can add warmth to your room with elegance and style. The surrounding area of a fireplace plays a crucial role in making the fireplace look attractive. Natural stones are the top notch candidates for a great fireplace makeover. Stones like travertine, marble or limestone look wonderful with their earthy hues and distinctive features. These natural stones can be used in roughly cut ledger form, in the form of tiles or even stacked stone form. It all depends on the choice of the homeowners and their style preference.

Tiling of fireplace surround area is the easiest way of remodeling. You can even do it yourself without any hassle and save money on hiring professional help. Regardless of the type of tile that you are going to use for the fireplace redo, you need to come up with a pattern for tiles first.  A well planned and thought out design looks flawless and becomes the center of attention for all. Do your research prior to the installation process and come up with the most suitable pattern you want for your fireplace surround area. There are many pattern ideas available in the market like the subway, basket weave and herringbone, etc. As the tiles can be cut in any shape and size therefore you can also come up with custom patterns that channel out your creative personality e.g. you can have simple tiles spaced with a decorative tile in a diamond pattern.

Once you have finalized a pattern then for your convenience make a template of the area using cardboard. Visualize the spacing and placement of tiles using this template on the floor in order to avoid any type of mistakes. To further acquaint you with the process of a Do It Yourself installation here is a step by step installation method for travertine tiles.

Requirements: For a travertine tile installation you will need the following things:

  • Travertine Tiles
  • Mortar
  • Grout
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Measuring tape
  • Wet tilt saw
  • Trowel

Step 1: Take Accurate Measurement

Measure the area which needs to be tiled up. Be accurate and careful as this measurement will affect the quality of installation. Using this measurement, layout the travertine tiles on flat dry surface or a cardboard template for more accuracy. Map out your pattern on this in order to make the installation process swift and easy. This technique should be applied for inlay tiles as well if they are part of your layout. The key to success is the perfectly calibrated measurements.

Step 2: Cutting the Travertine Tiles

Wear your gloves and safety glasses. Using the wet tilt saw cut the tiles according to the measurements taken in step 1. Cut the travertine tile according to the requirements of the pattern so that the tiles fit perfectly on the fireplace surround.  Care should be taken when using the wet tilt saw.

Step 3: Preparation of Mortar before Installing the Travertine Tiles

Read the manufacturer’s instruction on the mortar pack and follow them strictly. Mix the mortar well with water as a properly mixed mortar is a guarantee for travertine tiles not coming off after a while. Using a sanding stone, sand off any uneven part and fill any cavities to prep the surround’s surface. A smooth surface is necessary for the correct installation of tiles.

Step 4: Application of the Mortar

Apply a thin layer of mortar using the trowel on the prepped fireplace surround surface. The correct method of mortar application is to hold the trowel at against the wall in such a manner that a 45 degrees angle is made and then apply a thin layer of mortar. The layer of mortar should be even with no bumps and should cover the whole section of the surround without any gaps. The best strategy for applying mortar is to start from a corner and then cover the rest of the space.

Step 5: Installing the Travertine Tiles

Press a tile onto the surround surface covered with mortar starting from any corner. The tiles should be pressed in a way that a vacuum seal is created between the tiles and mortar layer. This can be achieved by moving the tiles rapidly backward and forth when pressing them on the mortar layer. Utilize tile spacers between adjacent tiles for maintaining uniform gap. Repeat this process of pressing till whole area is covered with the tiles according to the initially planned pattern. Let the mortar dry for a day and then gently pull out the tile spacers. The gaps left behind should be filled with grout mixture. The grout lines can affect the overall appearance of your installation it is therefore necessary to keep the grout lines neat and wipe off excessive material to avoid staining of tiles. Once the grout dries, clean the tiles by buffing with a dry cloth. Wait till 48 hours before using the fireplace after installation.


  • Never install wet stones or tiles else the result is a disaster. Make sure the natural stone product is completely dry prior to installation
  • Use latex reinforced thinset mortar with thick consistency and sticky texture.
  • Avoid gray thinset as chances of it bleeding out and ruining the look are high. A white thinset should be used whenever possible.
  • Non sanded grout is the best choice. Try to stay clear of the sanded type.
  • Always seal the tiles a day or two before the installation to avoid staining of any kind while installation. Test the sealer on a small portion of a tile before application to the entire batch.

Maintenance of the fireplace surrounding area:

A natural stone fireplace is a wonderful sight and a brilliant way to enhance the style of a room. But unfortunately it is a tough place to clean as normal methods of cleaning can harm the stone’s surface. The soot stains and grime need a bit of effort for cleaning up when dealing with the stones from the family of calcium carbonates. If the fireplace has travertine then you need to go an extra mile with specific stone cleaning rituals and products. The products are easily available in the market for effective natural stone cleaning and if the following instructions are followed then you can easily maintain your fireplace’s beauty.

  1. Removal of Dirt: Removal of dirt should be done on daily basis while it is still in free form. This helps in reducing the extra effort caused by accumulated dirt that gets stuck. This type of dirt can especially harm travertine that has a porous structure. Use a broom for daily basis on the hearth and a damp mop after every two days. As for the walls of the fireplace a barley damp soft cloth is sufficient. The key to a flawless fireplace is periodic cleaning.
  2. Cleaning of Tiles with Products: Marble, travertine and limestone react with acidic substances therefore it is absolutely crucial to avoid cleaners that contain acidic components. An alkaline based stone cleaner is the best solution for such natural stone’s cleaning. Always use the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a soft sponge for application and stay clear of abrasive scrubbers made of nylon and steel wool. Usage of such harsh materials can cause etching of the stone’s sealer and scratches can appear on the stone’s surface.
  3. Damage Control: If your tile is still getting damaged with stains even with the above mentioned care routine then most probably the sealer was not properly applied or it got scratched. If the tile in question is marble then you will need to change the tiles but if its travertine then re – polishing of the stone can do the trick. In a situation like this hire a stone professional for repairing damage.
  4. Prevention of Problems Plan: Make it a rule in your household to never place any beverage near the fireplace or even on the mantel. Spills from water, wine and juices can do real damage to your stone’s beauty. Additionally do not slack on the cleaning routine for travertine. If you cannot have maintenance like that then opt for limestone which easier to maintain.
  5. Redo the Sealing: Re-seal your entire fireplace at least once a year to maintain the tile’s original luster and get it polished after every six months if you like a gleaming fireplace surround area.


Natural stone based fireplace surround area are the trend right now. There is huge variety of design ideas in the market that can be used for your fireplace redo. The stone choice lies with the homeowners as it depends on a couple of factors like budget, style preference and maintenance level of the stone. 

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