Need help with huge ugly fireplace

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We are remodeling our house and right smack in the middle of the kitchen/dining room/formal living room area is a HUGE, grey, porous brick fireplace. I'm afraid painting it would just result in the brick soaking up gallons of paint and looking worse. Does anyone have any suggestions?
q need help with huge ugly fireplace, fireplaces mantels, home decor, home decor dilemma
q need help with huge ugly fireplace, fireplaces mantels, home decor, home decor dilemma
q need help with huge ugly fireplace, fireplaces mantels, home decor, home decor dilemma
q need help with huge ugly fireplace, fireplaces mantels, home decor, home decor dilemma
q need help with huge ugly fireplace, fireplaces mantels, home decor, home decor dilemma
  31 answers