Having a fireplace in your bedroom sounds really swanky. When we bought this house, I pictured myself reading in bed with a fire glowing nearby, a dog curled up in front of it, and I think I was wearing a silky robe. In reality, it's looked like this for a long time (and I'm wearing clothes covered in paint).
We've had this neglected fireplace insert "inserted" in our fireplace for over a year. Purchased in April 2012 - hauled it upstairs, set it in there, and never touched it again. We knew what we had to do - grind the rust off, polish it up, attach it to the wall - it just seemed SO daunting. I've never ground rust off of anything! It sounded like something I'd want to do outside, and it sounded sweaty.
Then, we rearranged our bedroom furniture about a month ago - just flipped everything to the other side of the room. This means that now, when I'm in bed, the fireplace is in my direct line of site. It made me insane to look at this fireplace every night. It was so easy to ignore before, but then it was just right next to me and looked terrible and would keep me awake at night.
I dragged it outside a few weeks ago and decided I wasn't going to come back inside until it was rust-free. We had two different shapes/sizes of these things that you just attach to your drill, and those worked pretty well. Our insert has a sort of intricate basketweave pattern at the bottom, and it was helpful to get in there on an angle. I don't think I could have done this by hand. It was hard enough holding the drill steady.
It only took about two hours to get it looking great, though my hands were vibrating for days. We rubbed some stove polish on it to get it nice and black (Steven did this - I was inexplicably terrible at it).
While I was grinding the rust away, Steven had also repaired the tiles that had fallen from our surround area. We still had them all, but one was broken.
He rigged it up in some way so that it's attached with wire to the back wall, and he put silicone caulk around the edges. We don't plan to ever use this as a fireplace, though if someone wanted to down the road, they could. We just don't want to spend money on having the chimney cleaned, etc. We're only in it for the charm.
We also felt the mantel and wood surround looked sort of dinky. After finding this great insert with lots of detail, it just seemed cheesy to have this boring chunk of wood around it. We decided to add some trim pieces to beef it up. Nothing too fancy, just something with more personality. We added corner moulding, cove moulding, and some lattice pieces. I nearly lost my mind trying to miter the cove moulding. I ended up just making Steven do it when he got home from work. This also concealed the gap between the bottom of the surround and the floor / tile.
We also were back and forth on what color to paint the mantel. The white made the antique tile look dirty (it's not). We were thinking of a green (to match the green tile) for a while, but that's a little nervey, even for us. We settled on satin black oil paint, which I did over the weekend after adding the trim pieces. I love painting with oil paint. After taking the first brush stroke, I realized I'd never painted anything black before (except with spray paint). How bold it feels!
It really makes our fireplace look fancy. The tile looks nice and clean, and the black + green + white make a nice statement in our bedroom without being overbearing.
If nothing else, it's an improvement over the way it looked when we bought the house.