If the cold weather finds you spending more time curled up in front of your fireplace, perhaps it is time to consider a design renovation. Revamping your fireplace surround, or the decorative area around where the fire actually burns, can give your fireplace a much needed facelift. Consider one of these materials to update your surround and create your own fireside retreat! Stone: Go natural with materials such as slate or stone. Natural stone comes in a variety of colors ranging from grays to tans. Stone can also be used in tiling techniques when broken into free-form shards. This material lends itself particularly well to fireplaces located in rooms with an existing all-natural aesthetic or in spaces painted in neutral colors. Stainless Steel: While less conventional, a stainless steel surround will instantly transform your room into a contemporary space. Stainless steel also presents a variety of decorative options. For example, leave the metal smooth for a clean look or add visual interest with a sanded-in pattern. Emphasize steel seams with decorative embellishments or minimize them with mantle décor. Wood: Wood offers a traditional surround material option. Modernize it by using contrasting wood types to create an eye-appealing pattern. Wood also serves as a comparatively low-cost building material and, as such, can be a great optionfor the homeowner on a budget. Brick: Another traditional material, and a great alternative to wood, can be found in brick. Large brick provides a classic look, perfect for the historic home. Smaller or square-shaped bricks can be used to create a modern design. Tile: For a truly customized look, consider a tiled surround. Available in a variety of colors and materials, tile can be construed into virtually any pattern or design. Create a subtle complement to your living space with neutral colors and simple designs, or craft your room’s focal point with a mix of bold colors and contrasting tile materials. Check back next week when we will discuss mantle decorating options!