• Anna

Painting my brick fireplace

We have lived in my current house for about 4 years and for approximately 3 ½ of those years I have been talking about painting my fireplace. When we first moved in, the fireplace was covered in a very dark and modern slate tile, which we immediately tore down and replaced with a traditional brick overlay. I loved the feel of the brick but given the position of the fireplace in our living room, it just felt dark to me. So while I wanted to paint the brick immediately, my husband was vehemently against painting and it took me years to finally wear him down.

I can tackle a DIY project here and there, but typically we outsource many of our home projects for fear of screwing something up so badly that cannot be undone. But I did my fair share of online research for painting brick and figured that I was capable of the project. I found an awesome “how-to” article posted by Sherwin Williams (found here) and followed the instructions to a T. I stopped by my local Sherwin Williams store and picked up every single item on their checklist and got to work to recreate this inspirational picture.

Like any projects that involve paint, the longest and most tedious part of the process was the preparation. I scraped and scrubbed and taped for what seemed like hours (probably 30 minutes max) and the fireplace was ready to go. While some online tutorials omit a primer coat, I went ahead and coated the fireplace in a concrete and masonry primer coat, which allegedly protects the brick and produces better results. The primer stage took some time as it requires that you paint the grout lines individually with a 1” brush. Start to finish the primer phase only took a few hours, but with our hectic summer schedule, unfortunately this step spanned over the course of a few weeks. I will say, I was a little worried after the initial primer coat. It just didn’t look quite right and I feared that perhaps I had made that irreversible mistake.

I finally got my act together and finished with the second coat of acrylic latex paint and over the span of two evenings, declared the project complete. The acrylic paint went on so much faster and easier than the primer and I was so pleased with the results. The only item left to complete is to tidy up the edges where the mantle meets the walls. I’m not sure yet if I will try to put up crown modeling or if I will simply use caulk to line the edges.

Clearly after making such a big change to the mantle it was only natural that I was eager to update the styling on my mantle. My pre-painted fireplace had a few simple black frames but just missed the mark - aka, BORING. So I did a quick tour around my house and pulled a few pieces that were in need of a new home. The simple Moroccan gold mirror is from Nordstrom and is a great anchor on the mantle. I flanked the mirror with some great HomeGoods finds and tried to make the décor feel neutral and natural.

I can’t believe how much the white paint transforms the room. My living room feels so much lighter and brighter. I totally wish I would have done it sooner. Tell me, what's the next DIY on your list?!