Whitewashing a Dark Fireplace

3 Materials
2 Hours

We moved into our house a little over a year ago and we've been making updates ever since. When we got to the living room, we knew we wanted to paint the walls and somehow update and brighten the dark fireplace. We loved the big stone look, but it was too dark for us. We didn't want to paint it a solid color, so we decided to whitewash it.
Watch the video for a detailed tutorial!
Here is the original look. The stones and the mantel were both dark brown colors. We wanted to lighten the look of the stone but keep the mantel the dark wood so that it stands out more.
The first step of whitewashing is to mix water with paint. We added 1 cup of water to about 2 cups of paint and then stirred it well.
We started by brushing on the whitewash mixture onto a small stone on the lower side of the fireplace. It was a little darker than we wanted so we used a dry rag to remove some of the excess color. The dry rag wasn't working as well as we wanted, so we dipped the rag in water and started removing the excess with the wet rag. The wet rag was working better to get the color we wanted.
After the first stone, we knew we wanted to lighten the color so we added a little more water and stirred it up again. With this more watered-down mixture, I started applying the paint in small sections on the next stone. I would then use the wet rag to remove the excess before I moved on to the next section of the stone. Since the mixture was thinner, the paint was a bit more drippy, so brushing on the paint and then dabbing it off in smaller sections helped prevent too much dripping and prevented the color from drying too fast.
After the second stone, we knew we had a good pattern to get the look we wanted, so we continued painting the rest of the fireplace stones. We wanted to keep the natural gray color of the grout, so we only focused on coloring the stone. We thought the natural gray was a good contrast to the whitewash color.
Here is the final look! We also painted the walls a light, natural gray color and added a pop of color at the top with a dark blue. Overall, we are thrilled with the new look. The whole room feels brighter and a bit more updated.
Before and After.

Resources for this project:

Behr Polar Bear paint
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

18 Stunning Backsplash Ideas You Do Not Want To Miss!
Easy DIY Ideas To Add Some FUN To Your Office Space
Grab Some Pool Noodles And Copy These 3 Ideas
Use Ribbon To Decorate For Christmas With These Last Minute Ideas!
31 Creative Ways To Fill Empty Wall Space
31 Gorgeous Homemade Candle Ideas You're Going to Want to Try
30 Address Signs That'll Make Your Neighbors Stop in Admiration
15 Simple Projects Under 30 Min To Get You Ready For The Spring Season
32 Space-Saving Storage Ideas That'll Keep Your Home Organized
The Cutest Ways to Decorate Your Front Porch for Easter!
3 Easy Ways To Upgrade Your Pillows To A High End Look
21 Ways to Have More Polka Dots in Your Life
31 Astounding Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Contact Paper
15 Memorial Day Crafts
23 Valentine's Day DIY Ideas That You Don't Want To Miss

Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Katen
    on Feb 1, 2020

    Did you do anything to prep the stone? Soot from previous fires prevent paint from sticking. Did you need to do any tuck pointing of joints between stones. I like your finished project

  • Betty French
    on Feb 1, 2020

    Would this work for a reddish brick fireplace.

Join the conversation

2 of 21 comments
Your comment...