How to Choose Colour around a Stone Fireplace

When you have a large stone (it doesn’t matter what kind) fireplace, it will totally boss you around when it comes to decorating and choosing wall colour for your home. It’s rare that you can totally ignore it and unfortunately this is one of those times when I would NOT recommend painting it (brick you can paint–not stone usually).

In the two images below, the warm brown and tan colours in the stone have been repeated in the furniture and wall colour which really pulls the stone in and makes the room look attractive and pulled together.


One of the first on-line consultations that I did with one of my lovely readers was a house that had a large two sided stone fireplace right in the middle of it. You could see it from the entry; it was the focal point of the living room as well as the other side in the dining room.

The current colour on the walls was a pale, clean yellow and did not relate to the stone at all so the first (and one of the only options) I gave her was a yellow beige to relate to the stone. Varying tones of warm grays work well with most fireplace stone; however this colour still needs to be repeated in the space for it to work.

(I don’t have an after photo from this consult) Source

 A big reason why people call me is because they want something new, sometimes fresh colour, and fundamentally they want to feel happy surrounded by their new colour!

Even though I could tell she was not happy (in the moment) with the colour I recommended, I stuck to my opinion knowing it would pull her space together. But I was worried that maybe she wouldn’t follow my advice and end up thinking I was a bad designer!


Then a few weeks ago I received an email from her and this is what she said:

“We had a phone consult back in September. It took me some time but the living room, kitchen, dining room, library and sunroom are now all painted. I followed your suggestions and must say I am quite happy with the results. I will admit that I was initially not very excited about the beiges but of course, you were right!! They look fantastic and pull the finishes together. Thank you very much!” Debra

Even my friend Lauren at Pure Style Home chose toss cushions and an ottoman to relate to the stone fireplace in her family room (even though the turquoise wasn’t chosen to work with it at all).

Living room from The Holiday via Cote de Texas

It’s best in the end to select stone that’s more neutral if you want a more cottage or ‘cabin in the woods’ look for your home, like this one from The Holiday movie. This way you won’t be married to the colour scheme forever!

What about you? Do you have a stone fireplace that’s bossing you around?

Related posts:

Are your Colours Married?

Is your Flooring bossing you Around?

Hiring a Designer; Luxury or Necessity

To discover which undertone your fireplace is, download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact us! We would love to help you choose colours, select the right combination of hard finishes or create a plan to pull your room together. You can find our fabulous e-design consultation packages here.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

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  1. I should add it is a flagstone fireplace with the flagstone stacked vertically on its side. Very busy.

  2. So, what yellow beige color did you recommend for picture #2? I have a similar fireplace that’s mostly mid-dark gray and warm tan colors in my den. The room also has lots of dark honey oak – trim, wainscoting, built in shelves, and beams. I thought about going gray, but I don’t have gray in any of my furnishings. My furniture is cinnamon leather, and I use camel and green for accent. The flooring needs to be replaced – I haven’t decided yet on new carpet or hardwoods. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

  3. help our fireplace has mostly brown stone and the mortor is black yes black, what colors can i paint the walls

  4. Maria, I love your blog and you are so right about choosing color to go with a stone fireplace. My stone fireplace is so similar to the one in the first picture. I know that the paint color in picture #1 would be perfect in my house, could you please tell me what color that is? I’m so happy to have found your blog-plan to continue following it and recommend it to my friends. Thank you, Beth

    • Hi Beth,
      That looks like it could be anything from a yellow to a butterscotch like Boardwalk (BM). Maria

  5. Hi Maria! I just came across your blog and stayed up most of the night reading everything I could click on!

    What about a very WHITE stone fireplace?

    It is very demanding in the corner going all the way up to the ceiling! It is in our 20′ high vaulted living room with tons of natural light. We will have dark hardwood floors around the perimeter and berber carpet in the main living area, not sure what color yet (house is still under construction). Do I need white walls and trim? Is white textured sheetrock cheap or sterile looking? Will it be too bright! Or do I repeat it in the furniture (yikes!) or drapery?

    Thank you,

    • The white fireplace should definitely be repeated in your decor but it doesn’t mean you have to paint the walls white. Keep the colour scheme fresh though, earth tones die with white. Maria

  6. Hi Maria,
    I love your blog. Could you please point me in the right direction regarding mantle color?

    Our fireplace stones are gray to bluish-gray (Dior Gray is close) with rust streaks in it. We painted our living room Spoonful of Sugar which is perfect for the olive, rust and yellow-beige tones in the room and also offsets our cherry-stained furniture. It also offsets the rust in the fireplace stone wonderfully.

    My question is whether to stay with warm tones for the mantle or tone down the bold Spoonful of Sugar with a gray that matches the stones. If gray, then should I go lighter or darker than the stone color, or match the stone color exactly? Thanks so much for any advise on mantle color!

  7. I am living in a rental home – but plan to be here for quite awhile. The homeowner has given me free reign to paint as I want. I have a stone wall that has a wood burner – so it also has a multi-colored tile floor area. The stone wall area is surrounded by rough beams that have a red cedar stain on them that do go along with the floor tiles. The room is huge and I was wanting to make that an accent wall. The walls are all an off white color & was wondering what accent color to use on the wall that has the area of stone in the center? My woodwork is also kind of dark.

  8. Hi! I’m stuck! I have large, bossy, dated limestone fireplace. It’s mostly cream with yellow & slight gray tones. My great room is small… My furniture is olive with light wood floors. Should I go with a light pale gray?

  9. I am in desperate need of help with my stone fireplace. It was really old dark so I looked at a few websites that said you could paint it. Well I failed. It’s way too white and now it doesn’t match the taupe walls at all. How would you save it? Mocha glaze, paint remover, repaint the house to match? any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • It’s really hard to say without seeing it, I wouldn’t glaze it with a mocha glaze, that would turn it pink. And I would not normally recommend painting stone, maybe just go creamy if white is too stark. Maria

  10. We have a cave for a living room. It has a 17 foot wall of stones (very rough) surrounded by three sides of very dark stained barnboard. The entire house was built to look like a barn. It is unique, but very dark inside. I appreciate all the knowledge you share, but don’t feel confident enough to begin any changes yet (18 yrs here). This would be a lot to mess up! I will keep reading your ideas and hopefully something will click 🙂 Appreciate all your shared advice so much.