Grey Fireplace Mantel

Grey Fireplace Mantel in our Master Bedroom

83% of the time I am a rule follower.

12% of the time I don’t know what the rules are so I just wing it.

The remaining 5% of the time I walk on the wild side while chanting “rules schmules” in my head. Such a rebel.

I save most of my walks on the wild side, where I consider rules more of a general guideline rather than a hard and fast rule, for my creative pursuits like cooking, piano playing, crafting, and DIY projects.

Take my latest project: painting our master bedroom.

Other than hanging art, this is one room we hadn’t touched since we purchased the Colonial Farmhouse.

The room started with blue/grey walls and a creamy fireplace mantel and surround.

james peter cost painting over white fireplace

While I did not mind the paint color in this room, it had been painted extremely poorly. Also, this house was extraordinarily filthy when we moved in. While cleaning remedies the physical aspects of this dirt problem, fresh paint helps banish the memory of the problem.

The walls received three, yes three, coats of Behr’s Arcade White paint. That blue was tough to cover.

When it came time to paint the mantel and fireplace surround I had a decision to make. Should I paint the mantel the same white color as the other fireplaces in our house? (There are three total.)

Or should I play ‘eeny, meeny, miny, moe’ with the paint cans in our basement and see if there was some leftover paint from the previous homeowner’s stash that needed to be used up.

Oh, yeah. Things were about to venture into ‘DIY gone wild’ territory.

I quickly ruled out all the paint cans bearing the Crayola logo. I did not know there was (or still is?) Crayola-branded house paint. There was no way I was going to paint my mantel UnMellow Yellow or Mango Tango. Yes, those are Crayola crayon colors.

I might feel like breaking some rules, but I have not lost my marbles. Pinkie swear.

Grey Fireplace Mantel

Instead, I grabbed a can of leftover grey paint. Sure, it was in a flat finish, which is definitely a big no-no when it comes to painting mantels and wood trim. I’m not sure who makes these rules, but I know your woodwork is not supposed to be painted a flat finish.


Also, I was still stuck in my house during the Covid-19 quarantine, so my ability to care about paint rules had ceased to exist somewhere around week six.

I held out for a long time, folks, but we all have our breaking point.

I did take the time to clean up the mantel and sand off some of the gunk and paint drips that the previous homeowners had oh, so generously left for me to deal with. I might break some rules, but not all the rules at one time. Moderation is key.

Two hours and two coats of paint later, I had a freshly painted grey fireplace mantel and surround.

Grey Fireplace Mantel

Sure, it’s not super wipeable due to that flat finish, but do I care?


The grey fireplace mantel and surround gives my bedroom a whole new look and it complements my James Peter Cost painting beautifully.

Plus, this makeover didn’t cost me a dime, so I won’t feel bad about painting over that grey fireplace mantel later.

Is there a lesson to be learned here?

My attempt at rule breaking is lame.

Odd things happen when you are quarantined at home for weeks on end.


I think the lesson is it is your house. Do what makes you happy.

All this bedroom needs now is a new rug, new window treatments, larger nightstands, and some lamps. Oh, and a new overhead fan to replace the one that is 30 years old. I’d go out of my mind with delight if we had a light switch to work that fan too. Gosh, electrical outlets on our bed wall would be divine as well.

Actually, the lesson is every home improvement project snowballs into something much larger and more expensive than you anticipated. Guaranteed.

P.S. I absolutely adore our LED candles in our fireplace. They turn off and on with a remote! I put rechargeable batteries in them and then I don’t have to worry about always buying new batteries.

P.P.S. Handy Husband doesn’t have many opinions on decorating. It’s one of the many reasons why I love him. However, I didn’t realize how much the dark paint on our bedroom walls bothered him until I painted the walls white and he said, “I love how much brighter it is in here now.” Good to know.

Are you a rule breaker or a rule follower? I’d love to know! While you’re mulling that over, here are some other posts you might enjoy. 

The Story of the James Peter Cost Painting Above Our Fireplace

Easy Hack to Repair Scratches in Linoleum or Vinyl Flooring

Living in Ireland: Want to See My Hot Press?

*affiliate links in this blog post*



Share this:



    Husbands who have no opinion make for happy marriages. 🙂 Isn’t it wonderful what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room? Everything looks lovely! Glad you are back!

  • Saundra Smith

    I like your bedroom make ove. I’m with Jeff. I like thing light and bright. It is lways good feeling to use what you have and not have to spend money. Yes, thee ae things we can do in spite of the vius.
    Welcome back. I missed your posts last week. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

  • Diane

    Love it!!

    For the record, Mango Tango was always my favorite Crayola. I’d actually forgotten that until just now (my daughter is 21 and it’s been a while since we colored).

    • annisa

      That is HILARIOUS that you remember that! I love that so much. I thought that Mango Tango sounded like a lovely name for an adult beverage. Ha!

    • annisa

      Hi Jenna! Thanks for asking. The paint color on the fireplace is Benjamin Moore Stardust 2108-40. Keep in mind our fireplace is painting in a flat sheen and computer screens read color differently. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.