One of the first things we did was remove the mirror. it added emphasis in all the wrong places. Then, since the original firebrick had been painted with a combo of white and red oil paint (aargh!) we painted over it with a flat sage-green color. Next, we unboarded the opening. Husband got some old ceiling tiles from the local salvage yard and cut them to fit the inside of the fireplace. Reddish-greeninsh slate tiles were installed on the hearth area. We're lucky enough to have a professional insert for our fireplace, but wood burning stoves are so expensive in this part of the country. So for now, we're foregoing one.
We added a painting my mom-in-law did...she's so talented. I've always loved this painting...I have a thing for Hereford cows, which this is. A mix-mash of candlesticks and the two stools that originally sat at the foot of our bed, and viola! It could be better, but it is such an improvement over what was there. And here's a closer-ish look at the painting:
We have an ultra-long mantel, so it's a challenge to get it adequately decorated without junking it up. I'm sure it'll change, but the cow is there to stay :)