Painted Brick Fireplace - The Nuclear Option

I have been making small changes here and there in the attempt to lighten up our dark and brick-filled living room. We finally couldn't take it anymore and I couldn't think of any more small things. So we painted the whole thing white! That, combined with removed the overstuffed and overbearing Elfa shelves, gave us a whole new room!
Painter’s tape
Primer (we used Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3)
Roller with 1″ nap for textured surfaces
Flat latex paint in white (we used Benjamin Moore Extra White)
Paint trays
3″ Paintbrush (medium quality – it will probably be ruined but you don’t want hairs in the paint job)
1″ Artist paintbrush
White paintable caulk
First we lifted off the mantel which luckily was super easy. Then we spread the dropcloth around the chimney and used painters tape to secure it. We knew we’d be painting the walls and the ceiling is already white, so we decided to skip taping those off. We rolled on a coat of primer. The thick nap picks up SO much paint.
After the first coat, we decided to only use one roller because using two was a huge waste of paint. After the first coat went on, I used the larger paintbrush to get primer into the mortar lines where the roller couldn’t reach, and around the edges. Then I went back with the 1″ artists paintbrush to get the even tinier spots.
There were lots of nail holes in the chimney that became extremely prominent once the bricks were white. I filled the nail holes with paintable caulk and while I was at it, realized how much better it would look if the spaces between the chimney and the ceiling and walls were filled as well, so I went around those with caulk as well.
After about 2 hours we repeated the painting steps – rolled on and then touched up. The next morning, I rolled a coat of flat latex paint over the primer and touched up around the edges, but didn’t need to go back with the small paintbrush because the little crevices were already white and I couldn’t tell where I would need to touch up. Darn.
We planned to leave the apron until everything else was done so that we could stand on it while we painted the rest. However, when it came time to paint it we realized that we really liked having just a bit of the brick left. Once the paint was dry we popped the mantelpiece back on and moved on to the walls. And there you have it. I could not be happier with it. It is basically a whole new room.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Ste10300839
    on May 10, 2017

    What did you paint the inside of the fireplace ( black )? And can you have a fire in the fireplace? Thanks, Causey3124
    • Amy Stapleton
      Amy Stapleton
      on Jul 29, 2017

      You only paint the brick. Painted brick should hold up if you have a fire in the fire place.
  • Chr6666917
    on Jul 29, 2017

    Please add a picture showing the skirt untouched. I can see a little bit in one picture but woukd like to see whole effect.
  • J
    on Mar 11, 2018

    Your room is completely transformed, I love it ! I will go with the white you used for the brick, but what color are your walls? I want white walls but wondering if there should be some contrast?

    thanks for sharing your beautiful project : )

    ~ jean

Join the conversation

2 of 16 comments
  • Marcia
    on May 10, 2017

    It's so clean looking. Amazing what white does to a space. Your eye keeps on moving and doesn't get trapped on the brick. Love the gold accents too! 👌👌👌
  • Aee28326054
    on Dec 11, 2017

    My brick fireplace had holes in between the bricks, so I stuffed cotton balls in the holes then painted. You can't find the balls once painted and really does the job, and looks great !
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