My absolute favorite home makeover project so far has been painting our 1990’s brick fireplace white. This project took about three hours but the result changed the whole feeling of our living room. Now it’s brighter, fresher, and all around happier!
So this is the first project I’m going to backtrack on. I updated our fireplace about a year and a half ago, but browsing through these photos brings back all of the memories (and trials).
Here we have it. Our red brick fireplace. Although it was more grounded after we added the flooring (compared to when we first moved in), the dark red brick didn’t match our design style.
We’ve talked about remodeling the fireplace altogether (we’re actually still considering it in the future), but I love this herringbone pattern in the brick. It’s a fun little detail.
I wasn’t exactly planning on doing this project. I’d considered painting it, but since we contemplated taking the brick out I had been telling myself to wait. Then one day when I was sitting on the couch and staring up at the thing, I jumped to my feet and decided just to go for it. Our walls are painted Stormy Weather by Olympic, so I grabbed the paint swatch and decided to go just a shade lighter with Quill. I told the gentleman at Lowes that I was painting my fireplace and would like the color in a glossy finish. He made a face at me, said it would look funny, and suggested I get it in a flat finish. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Paint Counter Guy! This was the first time I’d painted in flat, and I have to admit it looks great!
My first thought was to keep the look of the brick by just lightening it with a whitewash. Here’s a tutorial I used during this attempt. After thoroughly cleaning the brick, I basically took a bucket and mixed half water and half paint, dipped a rag into it and wiped it on the brick. Then I took a wet rag and blotted the bubbly paint concoction off.
The whitewash had and interesting look and I didn’t completely hate it. But it didn’t have enough pop for me. Plus it was looking slightly pink…
Once I decided to paint the brick instead, I expected smooth sailing, but it did take a little effort to paint all of the nooks and crannies in the bricks. Also the brick acted like a sponge and drank in a lot of the paint. It ended up taking about three or four coats to get the whole fireplace covered.
Using a roller to cover the surface sped up the process, but you’ll still beed to brush in the cracks. A sprayer would have been mighty convenient! Definitely keep a drop cloth down because regardless of your technique there will be a lot of splatters. Oh and also keep Friends on the TV as some hilarious background noise. I might also suggest The Office.
Overall, I love how it came out! It’s so much cleaner now—literally cleaner! Dust and debris from our winter fires no longer cling to the porous bricks. It was such a quick and easy update that I feel like it was still worth it even if we do decide to rip it out.