{Living Room} Painting the Brick Fireplace

Monday, September 19, 2011

I've been giving the brick fireplace in our Living Room the stink-eye for six years. But since you can't exactly un-paint brick, I've been waffling about changing it. (I have a degree in waffling. It's a B.S.) I love exposed brick, but it jacks up the visual flow and vibe of some rooms.

Namely mine.

living room plan

But no longer! Now my brick fireplace is the perfect balance of creamy goodness and texture.

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The process started out a little rocky. I decided to take the painting in babysteps since you can't go backwards. First I tried mixing equal parts water and paint for a whitewashed effect. Not only did it splatter everywhere, but it gave the brick a chalky finish that I didn't like.

whitewashed brick

Next I gave it an all-over coat of solid paint....Dove White by Glidden. I used a 4" cheapy brush with stiff bristles (I didn't want the rough texture of the brick to destroy my good brushes, and the stiffness made it easy to paint in the cracks), and slid a flattened cereal box under the hearth to paint along the floor.

I didn't saturate the brick, allowing some of the natural color and texture of the brick and grout to still show through. I discovered the Dove White was too cold and blue, and leaving some exposed grout reminded me of gapped teeth. No bueno.

too blue collage

Back to the paint store for a warmer white. I wanted it to be more like the trim color than wall color. Which proved difficult since the walls and trim have had six years to age and change. It's crazy how much colors change over time, especially in rooms with a lot of sun exposure! I chose Bleached Linen by Behr and gave the brick a final, solid coat. Perfection!

painted brick fireplace

There are still a few little holes and gaps, but my goal wasn't to disguise the fact that it's brick. I merely wanted to help the brick mesh with the room by not being such a focal point. Now instead of seeing just brick, you notice the beautiful blue of the armoire, and the mantelscape.


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Here's some Before & After goodness to show how HUGE of a difference the paint made!

before and after fireplace

It's hard to believe this is still the same room!

before and after fireplace/armoire

Apparently someone has been observing my {Outfit Inspiration} photo shoots, and popped in the frame for some posing of her own. She's working the new fireplace for me! Look how pretty she is the rug looks next to the brick now!


model collage
Her toe in the middle pic just kills me!

Once again, another project I can't believe I waited so long to tackle! And painting the brick was fairly painless, too.

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What do you think? Of course painting the brick has opened up a whole new can of worms. I'll hold off exposing it my next quandry. Today I'll just savor another project done!

LIVING ROOM TO-DO LIST
Paint Brick
Paint Hall Chest
Paint/Wallpaper Nook Walls
Paint Backdoor? Nope
Add Nailhead to Wingchair
New Covers for Barrel Chair Cushions
Clean Secretary
Gold Leaf Back of Secretary
More Coordinated Sofa Pillows


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62 witty retorts:

  1. It's beautiful! I'm a long time supporter of bricks painted white:) And the blue on the armoire is just great. Gotta love your little model!

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  2. Oh perfection!!! Makes me want to tackle the brick around our wood burner even more now!!! Wish me luck on convincing the hubby to let me do so! LOL.

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  3. yes, that white is just right! love it! our new house has a brick fireplace that i will be painting gray! i can't wait to get in there and get to work on it. :)
    happy monday, friend!

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  4. Yay! I love it! I also love the black mantle.

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  5. Love it! I waffled about painting ours, but it had to be done. It was drowning the room (we have the brick going to the ceiling). I'm so glad we did it. Check it out at http://afabulesshome.blogspot.com/2011/05/helpful-hand.html

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  6. Oh and for that window, did you see Design Star this year? Meg had a similar problem and framed out the hole to make it more like a window. It could work. Check it out here (pictures #75 and 76) http://www.hgtv.com/design-star/design-star-season-6-photo-highlights-from-episode-7/pictures/index.html

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  7. Great transformation and your daughter is too cute!

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  8. It looks gorgeous! It sure does make the armoire color POP! I love exposed brick too, but this was definitely a fireplace to paint!

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  9. what a great improvement! i love the white paint. we JUST bought a condo and theres a fireplace i have no idea what to do with...might have to pick your brain for ideas later! xoxo jillian:: don't miss my ayofemi jewelry giveaway

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  10. What a great transformation, I so have to do this to mine, I have brown brick the uglyest brick in the world! Not my choice at all but the X's, did you prime it first?
    Thanks for sharing, I think it's the boost I needed!

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  11. WOW! are you not just dancing over this?!! It looks amazing! What a little can of paint can do! Great job.

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  12. Forgot to mention that your little girl is so adorable, loved the toe one too!
    If your interested I'm having a Ramsign giveaway on my blog it ends Friday the 23rd!

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  13. It looks incredible. Exactly what the room needed!

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  14. Looks great Cassie, more of a modern, clean look. Especially with your funky mirror. Great job!

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  15. Wowza! What a difference some paint can make! The room looked great before but this definitely kicks it up a notch. GREAT JOB!!! :-)

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  16. The white looks prefect! Makes the mirror a focal point. Your little model is too cute!

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  17. It looks fantastic! It really makes the mirror pop but it still makes a statement. Just a more subtle one!

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  18. What a huge transformation! That really did change the room so much. It looks fabulous!! Love the room, and I love the photoshoot with baby girl!! Adorable.

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  19. I love it! I'm debating about painting our fireplace too but am nervous that it would just jack up the room's feel. What was the final factor that pushed you to committing to the white brick look?

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  20. I love the white brick. It really allows the mirror and the blue armoire to stand out. Such a big transformation. And little missy is too cute posing for those photos.

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  21. YESSS! This looks amazing! Just perfect! Great job girlfriend! You're on a roll!

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  22. it looks amazing painted, I love the choice of color

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  23. Love it! The mantel really pops now and the mirror looks fantastic. Lemme guess...thinking of painting the walls now?

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  24. GIRL!! That is amazing. And beautiful!! It's amazing how much it pops now and your mirror looks even better now!! LOVE. Pinning this and will stumble it!

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  25. Yes. It's perfect! Can you even believe how much better it looks! Well done!

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  26. Ahhhhhhhhh, Cassie, I love it! It looks SO SO good!!!!

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  27. It looks amazing! I was hoping you would eventually paint your brick - it totally gives your room a new life :)

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  28. I think you def made the right decision I LOVE it painted!!! you have gotten a lot on your to-do list done!

    eileen
    www.acreativedayblog.com

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  29. You found the perfect white! Not easy. And you still finished on time. Impressive. I'd still be {crying} standing at the paint counter trying to choose.

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  30. Almost always love white painted brick and your fireplace is no exception...looks fabulous!!!

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  31. You chose the perfect color for your fireplace--it really makes your mirror above it pop.

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  32. It's like the Goldielocks story...this one was too chalky, *this* one was too white, and this one was *juuuuuust* right! And I couldn't agree more about it being perfect...and what a difference it makes in the room! KA-POW! And little princess is quite the model with her dolly sidekick...too cute!

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  33. LOVE! Great job! Wow, what a huge transformation. :)

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  34. Great job! it turned out amazing!! What a difference paint makes. You have inspired me to get moving on my own painting projects. It's so hard to start sometimes!! :)

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  35. It's amazing what a little paint can do. It looks great. Your model is beautiful.

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  36. Looks fantastic! You are moving right along on that list!

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  37. Oh, that looks really good. I have a brick fireplace that I've been toying with painting for a while. Supposedly, though, the brick we have is from like, the 1860s, so I'm scared to screw it up. Your project has given me inspiration to at least think about it again, though. Hmmm.

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  38. You got the white perfect! It does look so good with the rest of your room now. And how cute is your daughter??!!

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  39. Sorry you had to jump through so many hoops to get the fireplace to look exactly the way you wanted, but the results really are fabulous.

    In our previous house, we had an opening like yours between the kitchen and living room. It was a townhouse and there was no window in the kitchen. The opening was right over the sink. My children were tiny at the time, so it was a great way to keep an eye on what they were doing, but definitely took away from the more formal look of the living room. I bought some indoor shutters and painted them to match the color of the living room walls so that when they were closed it blended in (sort of), but I could open them when I wanted to.

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  40. Love it. Definitely a bold move, and a good one! What if you cut out the bottom half of the wall and had two doors going into that other room? This is my first time at your blog, so maybe thats a kitchen counter or something on the other side... but maybe not? It would balance out the randomness of the opening and give your kids a fun track to race around on! :)

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  41. Great choice. I prefer the bold statement that you chose. Great white choice, by the way - way worth the tweaking!

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  42. Looks great. Love the mirror, where is it from?
    My daughter has the same pjs, they are so cute!

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  43. I love a girl with a list! The fireplace looks fantastic :)

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  44. Looks great! I've always been scared to paint brick but that looks awesome!! Thanks for the inspirations!

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  45. Holy cow! It's like a brand new space! It does wonders for that mirror, too. I always get nervous when I think about painting brick fireplaces, but this was a no-brainer. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing, Cassie!

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  46. Saw your link at Sarah's Before and After party, your fireplace is so beautiful! I've been wanting to paint my brick fireplace and you have totally inspired me! Thanks for sharing your project.

    Heather

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  47. Thank you for inspiring me. I did ours this past weekend. Did warm white on the top brick part and dark charcoal grey at the bottom. Thinking of adding one row of glass tiles to the very top under the mantel to add something interesting.

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  48. have you thought about using wood slabs to make shelves across the opening? you can display things on it.

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  49. I love brick. I love white brick even more. Looks fabulous.

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  50. Wow! What a transformation! And that mirror! Where did you get it? It's crazy what a little bit of paint can do to a space, I just love it! :)

    xo Catharine @ Your Modern Couple

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  51. This is so nice. Love it. I have the same fireplace. Minus the white mantel. Did your fireplace have a brick mantel or was it flat? I just moved into our first home and want to paint the fireplace white as well. It has a brick mantel. Would it look nice to add a wood mantel on top or would that be too much? Also, do you think I could paint the mantel another color like yours. Maybe, white fireplace and black mantel. Thanks for your feedback.

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  52. Gabby -- shoot me an email so I can respond to your comment....your blogger setting has your profile info blocked. :)

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  53. My fireplace was an out-of-place eyesore, too, until I found this fabulous kit from a company called BrickAnew to help me transform it. Check out their Facebook page... my fireplace before and after are the last two photos under "Photos and Videos of Brick-Anew." Every time I look at my fireplace now I am in love with it all over again!
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brick-Anew/128599653850603?sk=photos

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  54. The space looks great! As for closing the opening in the wall, between the fireplace and armoire, there are so many possibilities! You could put up a curtain with a tensioned rod, frame it in and put a mirror, glass, or even wood (painted to match, or in a contrasting color) in the space. It would be a fun and simple project! I can't wait to see more of your To Do List checked off! :)

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  55. You were able to transform the place into a modern-stylish style. What else could I say? I'd love to mingle at your place.

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  56. Wow! You have inspired me to get off my .... and get my fireplace redone... well, not "get" it done but "do" it. I need to paint the brick and mantle but I was thinking black brick and white mantle since the walls are going to be Benjamin Moore Dill Pickle green. I will add the before and after to my blog and hopefully it will be a beautiful as yours!!

    Thanks for your never ending inspiration!

    Darlene
    www.stork1.blogspot.com

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  57. Cassie, Wow! This looks great and what a different look it is!! I need to do my fireplace also, but I was going to paint the brick Black and the mantle White since the walls are going to be Benjamin Moore Dill Pickle green. I hope mine looks as nice as yours!

    I will do before and afters on my blog of my redo...

    Thanks for the much never ending inspiration!!
    Darlene
    www.stork1.blogspot.com

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  58. I was searching the internet for information on painting a brick fireplace and found your blog. Thanks so much for the inspiration. You have convinced me to take the plunge!

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  59. Hi Cassie - just found your blog - I did the same thing with my fireplace, tried whitewashing it first and didn't like it! Too funny. It looks great, and I LOVE your mantle.

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  60. Hi Cassie! I just found your blog - and this post. I did the same thing with my fireplace, whitewashed it first but didn't like it. Too funny! It looks beautiful!

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Your comments are like crack, or popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. And unfortunately, because of insane amounts of spam, I've had to disable Anonymous comments for awhile. I just didn't need any more information on penis enlargements! But you can always email me! xoxo, cass