painted mantel

[This is part of my FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 and How to Paint Moldings series.]

The homeowner on this project wasn’t sure what color her new fireplace moldings should be — white like the large crown molding above or something more subtle.

But she just couldn’t visualize the final outcome.

That’s when I offered to prime them in two different colors.

I had to prime everything anyway, so I bought a quart of primer tinted with the paint color she was toying with; Benjamin Moore’s Muslin, if I remember correctly, and then painted half in white and half in Muslin.


how to paint fireplace mantel

Above  The technique worked really well.

She had no problem deciding on the Muslin paint color as soon as she saw the two colors side by side.

Below  In the process of priming the left side in white.

primed mdf fireplace mantel

Below  This picture demonstrates how the Muslin color shows the mantel’s detail a bit better than the white.

fireplace mantel

Below  It was during this part of the project, after the Muslin primer had dried, that I realized this mantel would have looked great if the finish coats were done in a flat finish.

A flat finish would have made the fireplace look similar to a fireplace made from sandstone.

how to paint moldings

Below   With the decision made, the rest of the fireplace surround and overmantel were primed in Muslin.

primed mantel


So if you’re having a difficult time deciding what paint color you want to paint your moldings, try some different colors during the priming process because it’s easier to cover the tinted primer than it is to repaint finish coats.

[This is part of my FIREPLACE MANTEL-103 and How to Paint Moldings series.]