How to Update a 1970s Stone Fireplace : 7 Fabulous Ideas

Susan Foster

Last updated Feb 10, 2024
Susan! The traveler and cheerleader of our team. She always has instant and backup ideas. She is our DIYs and blog specialist.

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Fireplaces have been popular in homes for centuries. In the 1970s, many homeowners opted for fireplaces made of stone. These fireplaces were often the focal point of a room. 

They were statements of aristocracy and style but occupied the lions’ share of your living room. 

If your home still has a fireplace from the 70s, your effort in conserving an old thing is appreciable.

But with each decade bringing its trends, you must have thoughts about changing the hefty old look of your 1970s stone fireplace. 

Doing so will bring a positive change to your space. Also, it will allow your fireplace to be more functional and compatible. 

So let’s look at this write-up where we have shared 7 effective ideas on how to update a 1970s stone fireplace.

How to Preparing the Stone Fireplace for an Update

For updating a stone fireplace from the 70s, the first thing you have to do is prepare your fireplace for a new change. 

You can do it in two ways. One is by completely removing the stone, and the second is by creating a frame over the stone. 

We will discuss both here. Let’s start with knowing how to remove the stones step by step.

Removing the Stone Facade

Removing the stone of a 1970s stone fireplace can be a daunting task, but you can do it with the right tools and some patience. 

  • Before starting the process, take a wide unused cloth and spread it on the floor around the fireplace. It will help you to collect the broken part and debris easily. 
  • Wear hardwire gloves and eye protection. 
  • Clean any built-up soot or ash from the fireplace with a vacuum cleaner. 
  • Remove the mantel or anything adjacent to the fireplaces’ wall. 
  • Next, take a chisel and hammer and start prying the stone off the fireplace. Be careful not to damage the brickwork around the stone. 
  • Once you have removed as much of the stone as possible, use a wire brush to clean off any remaining mortar or dust.

Framing Over the Stone 

Creating a frame over a ’70s stone fireplace is easier than completely removing the stone facade. 

  • To execute this process, start with cleaning all over your old fireplace. Remove the old hearth and change the mortar. And remove if there is any adjacent like a mantle. 
  • Now wipe off the surface with a bristle brush or plastic broom. Now your old one is all ready for new framing. 
  • Choose from options like shiplap or wood board that are convenient and go well with your interior. 
  • Build a primary structure of the frame and chase the cable. Complete the final framing of your ‘70s stone fireplace. It is all set to go!

7 Ways to Update A 1970s Stone Fireplace

1. Covering Up with Concrete

Using concrete is probably the most common and effective way of updating a 1970s stone fireplace. Concrete gives a great finish and covers everything smoothly. 

Using concrete, you can create a simple layer or pattern over your stone fireplace. That will help you to get an instant rustic and raw vibe. Add up some lighting to make the look defining.

2. Styling with Wooden Panel

The use of wood is a popular material for modern interiors. Wood always brings a tidy and earthy look to the place. And wood paneling will be a safe choice to make a change to your 1970 stone fireplace. 

There are multiple wood texture and color options available for meeting everyones’ preference. For instance, dark walnut for the rich finish, mahogany is classic and white finishes are for a modern farmhouse vibe. 

In addition, wood panels are well-off to take care of. They go perfectly with the fireplace. You can also easily hide wires or cables behind the panel. That will make your space look nifty and organized. 

3. Using Stone Veneer

This one is for those who love the stone texture but not something from the ’70s. Stone veneer is made of stone but is lighter and more affordable than real stone. Installing the veneer set up is easy and cost-effective, and they are also minimal to maintain. 

Whichever you find, a variety of choices of stone veneer than real stone to match any decor style and interior. 

4. Adding Tile 

Tiling is another way to the process of giving a new look to your fifty years old stone fireplace. Tiling is easy. There are lots of tile options, patterns, textures, and colors. It may be a bit more expensive than other ideas, but it is worth it. 

5. Paint It 

After preparing your old stone fireplace for a new change, you can paint it your preferred color. It can be colorful, have patterns, or be neutral. Both light and off-tone will go with the fireplace. 

However, if you want more light in your home, choose neutral shades. And if you want something intimate, dark shades will be the best pick.

6. Convert Into A Gas or Electric One 

It’s one of the best ways of updating an existing fireplace of the 1970s. Converting is always meant for betterment. 

You can opt-out of a gas insert or electric fireplace to replace the old wood-burning fireplace. These insert options are convenient, affordable, efficient, and easy to maintain. 

In case you are interested, we’ve published articles of in-depth review on gas inserts and electric fireplaces. Check to find out the best suit to convert your 70s stone fireplace.

If your fireplace works as a primary heating source, you must go for a gas insert. Or, if your house has another heating source, then an electric fireplace insert is the modern fit. 

7. Install A New Mantle

A mantle is an additional attachment made of wood. It may look like a decor setup, but the fireplace mantel also works as a functional part of a fireplace. 

The design of a mantel is like a sunshade/hood to a fireplace. What restrains the smoke from spreading out and sends it back to the chimney. 

However, the mantle is the perfect place to showcase your photo frame, souvenir, and other decor pieces. So installing a new mantel can be a great idea to update a 1970s stone fireplace. 

Frequently Asked Question 

Can you cover a stone fireplace?

You can cover a stone fireplace or brick fireplace with new framing. Use shiplap, concrete, tile, and paint it. That will give your old fireplace a new and crisp look.

What kind of paint do you use to paint a stone fireplace?

u003ca href=u0022 paintu003c/au003e or latex-based paint is considered the best paint to use on a stone. They give the perfect finish to the stone surface. You will have the desired coverage with less paint and minimal effort.

Can you spray paint a stone fireplace?

Yes, you can spray paint a stone fireplace. Make sure that the fireplace’s surface is clean and free of dust and dirt. Use a primer specifically designed for stone surfaces. And use high-quality paint that will withstand the heat from the fireplace.

How do you brighten a stone fireplace?

Over time the stones may become dingy and stained. Here are a few tips on how to brighten a stone fireplace.u003cbru003eUsing a power washer to clean the stones. If that doesn’t work, then you can use a u003ca href=u0022 cleaneru003c/au003e. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and test the cleaner in an unnoticeable area before using it on the entire fireplace. u003cbru003eHowever, an ammonia and water mixture can work fine as a homemade chemical cleaner. Spray the mixture thoroughly, and once the stones are clean, you can seal them with a sealant or polish to protect them from future staining. 


Updating a 1970s fireplace is a great way to improve the look and feel of your home. And the best part is you can try out any makeover on your own. 

However, remember about your safety. And it would be better if you could invite a professional in the first place to get an idea of which renovation or installation process you should go for. 

That will bring the whole thing up for you. Moreover, you have these 7 exclusive ideas too. What else will you need then! 

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