When we first bought our home, I said I would never touch the fireplace. I was in love with it. I thought the natural brick was perfect and beautiful.
But the more I stared at it, night after night, the more I realized it had seen better days. It looked worn and dirty no matter how hard I tried to clean it. And to top it off, the paint color I chose for the walls sort of clashed with it. Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt brought out the pink of our old fireplace, and it was time to freshen it up.
Here’s what I used, for a total cost of about $20, since we already had white paint (you may even have all of these supplies on-hand already):
The mantle also needed a fresh coat of paint, (honestly, that would have been a total makeover in itself) so I used less than a pint of this Behr paint. It’s a little bit higher quality for your wood mantle—the same we use to paint furniture.
First, I taped off the entire area around the fireplace and mantle. I thought about skipping this step, and I’m so glad I didn’t. I love cutting-in, and I’m extremely detail-oriented, but painting brick is an entirely new beast. As careful as I was, and even with a drop cloth down, I still found myself scraping off tiny bits of paint splatter on the floor.
Other than that, this process was super easy. I’ve heard some people say it took them only 30 minutes, and others around 2 hours. I’m a bit OCD, so if you’re anything like me, it may take you a few hours. But this project can easily be finished in one afternoon, and it is so worth it!
After taping everything off, I decided to start with the mantle. I took it from an off-white to a bright, crisp white. Such a difference!
Then I moved on to the brick. I mixed 2 parts water to 1 part paint. So beware, it’s more like painting with milk than with thick paint. It will run.
Once I had my area all set up, I tested out a small section. I had read so many different techniques on this, and decided to just go for it and see what happens. You know what I found out? You’ll formulate your own technique and you’ll love it.
I would brush anywhere from 1 to 4 bricks (including grout) at a time, then blot and/or wipe with a rag. I read one article that said to paint about 2 bricks at a time, and another that said to paint a 1 ’x 1’ section at a time. As long as you have a wet rag around, there’s really no messing up (unless you go crazy and paint half of the fireplace before wiping it down).
It can be nerve-wracking at first if you’re a perfectionist, but you quickly figure out a system. I promise.
Some of my bricks where more red than others, so I decided to go back over those with an extra coat or two, because I wanted to reduce the pink tones.
Once I got my system down, everything was smooth sailing. I had a cup of coffee and some country music playing, and it made for a pretty therapeutic Sunday afternoon!
And man, when you finish that last brick … let’s just say it’s hard to hold back the pride.
It really is a simple process. I hope this encourages you to go for it, if you’ve been thinking about it. It is so worth your time. Our living room is completely refreshed.
Questions about this process? Leave a note below, and I'll get back to you :)