Hey! I am back today sharing the first part of my living room makeover and it’s a project that may upset a lot of men out there: I painted our brick fireplace. Now I’m not one to make gender generalizations, but in this case I feel pretty confident that the idea of painting brick makes most guys cringe more than the thought of shopping for window treatments.
Of course, I don’t have any real data to back this up. But I can’t tell you how many times I have been working on a client project and this happens:
I meet with the woman of the house for a design consultation. After discussing realizing that carpentry renovations are not in the budget, I recommend that she consider painting the brick fireplace so that the color flows better with the other colors in the room. She is a bit skeptical at first, but then I show her pictures of painted brick fireplaces like these:
Source: Design Sponge
Suddenly she is totally on board, and nearly giddy with excitement at the thought of painting the fireplace.
Several days later, I get a call from the same giddy lady saying that her husband totally nixed the plan for painting the fireplace. 🙁
Here are the reasons that they usually give:
“It’s beautiful, quality brick that should not be painted”
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if you ask me, not all brick is quality grade, and not all brick is beautiful. Sure, handmade antique brick would be a shame to paint, but if your house was built in the ‘70s and ‘80s, your brick fireplace is most likely manufactured in a factory and it’s equivalent currently sells for about 39 cents a piece at Home Depot. It is also probably red-ish/orange in color, which limits the color scheme and doesn’t necessarily match the rest of your design aesthetic.
“Once you paint brick you can never get it back.”
Yes it’s true that once you paint brick it’s nearly impossible, or at least extremely messy, to strip it down to the bare stone again. But let me ask this question; why would you want to bring your fireplace back to 1975? I have personally never heard of anyone who has actually tried to restore their 1970s/80s brick fireplace back to its original finish. I am sure that there is someone out there that wants to but it makes me wonder if they are also the same people who continue to get their hair permed.
“You can’t Paint brick”
Yes you can! And I am here to prove it. I have actually painted brick before using masonry paint but I thought I may like a white-washed look so I decided to try painting the brick with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
The process was super easy, and took me about 30 minutes.
Here’s what the fireplace looked like before I painted it:
A little too red for my liking, especially because I was going for a more serene, contemporary “vibe”.
I started by scrubbing the brick with a solution of water and a teensy bit of TSP. Next I mixed some Annie Sloan Chalk with water (2 parts paint to one part water) and started painting.
I ended up not liking the white-washed look because I thought it looked unfinished and too “shabby chic” for my liking.
So, for the next coat I added a little less water and more paint. Using water at this point probably wasn’t necessary, but I found that keeping the brush wet helped spread the paint better.
And here it is all finished:
The whole process took only about 30 minutes from start to finish and I love how it came out. The best part? My husband loves it too.
Now I just have to paint the inside black and figure out how to get my male clients on board with painting brick!
What do you think? Is it ok to paint brick, or do you also consider it a cardinal sin?
Be sure to stay tuned for more posts about my living room makeover on a low budget!