How to Whitewash a Brick Fireplace

- Projects + Inspiration

I have been meaning to get to this post for days weeks. I’m still trying to figure out this whole motherhood thing, and sometimes (quite often), finding the time to write a blog post is a little difficult. However, right now, baby Henry is taking a nap and I have a few minutes to myself. Woohoo!

We knew we wanted to makeover our fireplace as part of our home’s “renovation” and after considering all options (tiling over it, painting it, etc.), we decided to try whitewashing it. BUT…the “brick” on the fireplace is not even real brick. I’m not sure what it is, but we were concerned about the whitewash coming out right. So we decided that if we tried and failed, we would just paint over the entire thing an opaque white color. And if that failed, we could always tile over it. I am learning that, with cosmetic changes in your home, things are always fixable. Fixing your mistakes will probably mean spending a little more money, but taking risks and learning along the way is what makes it an adventure. Right? Right.

How to Whitewash a Brick Fireplace via Life on Shady Lane blog

Materials Needed

  • White paint
  • Dark spray paint (we used an oil-rubbed bronze color)
  • Gray paint
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels or an old rag that you can throw away

This fireplace makeover cost us a grand total of about $14. We already owned white paint, so all we needed to buy was the spray paint and gray paint.

OK so…here was our fireplace before. As you can see, there were some pretty sizable holes where the previous owners had hung their TV mount. We pulled out the anchors and were left with this (below). We just filled them with a little spackle – easy fix!

Whitewashed Fireplace

Like I mentioned, the “brick” is not real brick. Here’s a closeup:

Whitewashed Fireplace Whitewashed Fireplace

Also, the hearth was this terrible red tile. We weren’t exactly sure what to do with it, so we decided to go ahead with painting the brick and worry about that tile later. Please pardon our dust. Whitewashed Fireplace

Here’s a close-up of the mantle. We still haven’t done anything to it, but we think that we’ll probably stain it a darker color (maybe the same color that we stained our floors?).
Whitewashed Fireplace

Here’s how we did the makeover:

(Make sure your fireplace is free of any dust/debris before you begin!)

Step 1: Paint random bricks gray. We did some lightly and some more opaque. Then, tape the edges so you don’t get any paint on the walls or mantel when you go over everything with the white paint. Make sure you let the gray bricks dry before you move on to step 2.

Hardware stores typically sell “sample size” paints – they will tint them whatever color you choose. The idea is that you can try the color before you purchase an entire gallon. BUT…we only needed a tiny bit, so this small amount was perfect…and it was only about $4. #winning

I don’t remember the name of the gray color we chose. I’m not very good at choosing paint colors (I deliberate for far too long), so Brandon picked one out. There are some things in life that you just need to give up control over, amiright?
Whitewashed FireplaceWhitewashed Fireplace

Step 2: Mix water with your white paint. We did about a 50/50 ratio.

Step 3: Paint over the brick with white paint. We developed a “system”: paint a couple bricks, then dab/wipe with paper towel to remove excess. You’ll go over the gray bricks too – just do it the exact same way (paint with white paint then dab away the excess). The idea is to have just a little bit of the gray peeking through. Whitewashed Fireplace Whitewashed Fireplace Whitewashed Fireplace

Step 4: Paint a few random bricks opaque white. Whitewashed Fireplace

Step 5: Sand the hearth’s tile with an abrasive sandpaper, and then whitewash it the exact same way you did the brick: Use your 50/50 mixture of white paint and water, paint over the tile, and then dab.

Step 6: Let it dry! Whitewashed Fireplace

Step 7: Tape and then spray paint the metal part surrounding the opening. If there is a technical term for that part of the fireplace, I don’t know it.

Here’s the spray paint we used: Whitewashed Fireplace Whitewashed Fireplace

After taping, we held a piece of cardboard up over the glass panes while spraying to avoid overspray.

And that’s it! 

Like I mentioned, we still haven’t done anything to the mantel because we haven’t decided exactly what we want to do with it. For now, it looks OK…and I’m just happy with how the rest of the fireplace turned out! Easy and inexpensive DIY – you can’t beat that! Whitewashed Fireplace Whitewashed Fireplace

If you try this in your home, let me know how it turns out!

To make it easy for you to find this post later, here’s a picture for you to pin to Pinterest…if you’re into that sort of thing. However, it would be even easier if you’d just subscribe to my emails (top of the page). Just sayin’.

Whitewashed Fireplace Makeover, Easy DIY

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Cheryl K Byerly
    October 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I really love your thorough instructions. I have been browsing through Pinterest posts about this for weeks now. I’m still trying to get the nerve to paint my old dark red brick fireplace. I love your idea about painting some of the bricks gray…that’s the look I want. After much looking, I’m thinking of doing this, but not so much white…maybe just lighter than it is now.

    • Reply
      lifeonshadylane
      October 13, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Hi Cheryl! YES! Go for it!! Your fireplace will look amazing! Let me know if you have any questions at all. :)

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    October 15, 2017 at 1:55 am

    I just have to come back tonight and thank you!!! I could probably write my own blog about this fixer-upper of a house we have! As I posted a couple of days ago (above) I had been thinking for years of painting our massive fireplace. (We moved here 25 years ago!) The fireplace covers almost a whole wall and was just “too much”. It helped a couple of years ago when I found a really pretty piece of furniture that encloses a quartz heater, and that helped put some interest into the space. This year I began to entertain the idea again of painting the fireplace, and I have searched for weeks Pinterest ideas. I gave up a week ago, but picked it up again this week and found your blog. I loved your idea about painting random bricks dark gray, because every brick on my fireplace was…RED. I also totally identified with your idea of using paint you already had. I did not have dark gray but I had dark brown and did just that. It looked really cool. I did not want to use pure white because it felt too stark for me in every Pinterest post I saw, so I bought an off-white from Lowe’s, and then worked for a while adding some brown to it.I had to play with it some to get it just right, but once I got the color right, the technique went really fast. I ended up not having to wipe off paint, but instead just sort of dry-brushed. I’m so happy with it and just wanted to let you know I loved your ideas and it worked beautifully!

    • Reply
      lifeonshadylane
      October 26, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Cheryl! Oh my gosh I am SO GLAD your fireplace turned out well!! That’s so exciting – and doesn’t it feel amazing when a DIY project turns out how you imagined!? I’m so happy you found my post helpful. :)

    • Reply
      Jill
      November 2, 2017 at 3:40 am

      hey Cheryl can you share pics of how yours turned out – I’m interested to see the brown.

    • Reply
      Wanda Pittman
      November 15, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Cheryl,
      I would love to see a picture of how yours turned out! We have a floor to almost 12 feet “used brick” wall with built in shelving on both ends. We also have looked at a lot of photos on Pinterest and also the
      HGTV programs. If you have a chance to send a picture, you can send it to mwpittman@aol.com.
      Thanks!
      And thanks too to Megan! I love the way yours turned out! Very good idea using a darker color under the white! White can often times be too stark!
      Wanda

      • Reply
        lifeonshadylane
        November 17, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        Hi Wanda! Thank you! So glad you liked the project! If you do it in your home, send me a picture!!! :)

  • Reply
    Amy
    December 8, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Hi thank you for this post! I haven’t whitewashed the brick yet but I have spray painted the brass doors outside and a little on the inside. Do you recall if you had any issues with the smell of the psint burn off when you first used the fireplace? I just used it for the first time and noticed it was pretty smelly but we aslso just moved in so maybe it smelled like that before

    • Reply
      lifeonshadylane
      December 8, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      Hey Amy! We haven’t had any issues with paint burn off – it has been perfectly fine!

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