Without a roaring fire in them, most fireplaces are just sooty, black boxes of bricks – not exactly what you want to look at for the next several months in your living room. Instead, why not try making a colorful screen to hide the black box until next winter?
Look around at thrift stores or building supply salvage yards for some old, wooden window shutters. The width really doesn’t matter much, but the height should be close to the fireplace opening. After a good cleaning and some sanding, you can paint them a color to compliment the room where you’ll be using them.
Then pick up several sets of brass hinges at the hardware store to connect the shutters to each other. Depending on the width, you’ll need three or four shutters to create a great looking fireplace cover.