Looking for ideas for my old fireplace

Olena Beloous
by Olena Beloous
I have this old red brick fire place and I am Not sure what to do with it. At first I was thinking to paint the brick with white paint. Now I'm thinking to put the mosaic tile over the brick. Do you think this is doable or should I remove all the bricks? Maybe someone has better ideas. Thank you!
  44 answers
  • Sandra Sandra on Dec 17, 2014
    Either just paint it white or for a much more modern look try cement rendering the brick for a really nice sharp look.
  • Judy Handy Judy Handy on Dec 17, 2014
    I covered mine with Marble tile. A friend covered his with mosaic tile. Both are beautiful.
  • Anne B Anne B on Dec 17, 2014
    Judy, did you remove the brick first or go right over? I have almost the exact fireplace :)
  • Jerri McClennen Jerri McClennen on Dec 17, 2014
    I whitewashed mine & painted the mantel. I was surprised at what a difference made! It's a cheaper alternative to tile. There are lots of tutorials on the Internet. Very easy! You could try it first then if you're not satisfied change it to tile.
  • Lisa B. Lisa B. on Dec 17, 2014
    I'd add some stock moulding to make the mantel more prominent and bring some wood and moulding all the way down to and around the sides of the hearth. Leaving however much width of exposed brick that your fire ordinance requires. I did this to mine and now it looks more traditional and custom. I found the plans for mine in an old issue of Southern Living Magazine
  • Charmagne Charmagne on Dec 17, 2014
    You can cover the brick by just putting mastic up and tiling right over it. But if there are any irregularities a, it will mess with the end product. I want to do the same with mine and a contractor told me the best way would be to adhere backer-board then tile on to the backer-board. Check out stacked Quartz stone products.
  • Alice Alice on Dec 17, 2014
    I whitewashed the brick on mine also. I used watered down paint (same color as walls) then painted the ugly dark book cases and mantel a chartreuse...Big improvement!
  • Christine Jess Danbrook Christine Jess Danbrook on Dec 17, 2014
    Whitewash, it looks amazing when done. There are several on this site you can check out...
  • Lrd351996 Lrd351996 on Dec 17, 2014
    I took mine out with an air hammer and stuffed insulation inside, then put drywall over the opening. No more fireplace!
  • Pat Nolan Pat Nolan on Dec 17, 2014
    Roughly, the choices add up to: 1.) cover it up, or 2.) rip it out. Give us more details?
  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Dec 17, 2014
    I could see the bricks covered in a smoke or charcoal color tile to match the insert ... But that mantle and the inset above is absolutely gorgeous A mirror in that inset would draw you into a depth of the room... just a thought.
  • Olena Beloous Olena Beloous on Dec 17, 2014
    I think I am trying to come up with more contemporary looking fp. To rip it out means more mess and extended remodeling project, plus I like how hearth gives more depth to it. I would be getting contemporary furniture near the fp.
  • Olena Beloous Olena Beloous on Dec 17, 2014
    Can brick fp be contemporary?
  • Marcia Mason Marcia Mason on Dec 17, 2014
    I put mosaic tile over mine and love the results. I used E6000 to adhere then filled in with grout.
  • Monique feldman Monique feldman on Dec 17, 2014
    This is what I did with my brick fireplace
    • Terry Neason Terry Neason on Apr 09, 2017

      Love it Monique.It might not suit everyone's taste but it does mine.Regards Terry.

  • Mary Mary on Dec 17, 2014
    Our home sustained quite a bit of damage during the 2011 Oklahoma 5.7 earthquake. We had to move to a mobile home for six months while repairs were being done. Our family room had paneling and a large red brick fireplace. We had the workers take off all the paneling (which was damaged anyway), paint the entire room "Interactive white", including the fireplace brick. Then we had them put a brown glaze over the brick and wipe it off (had the same technique done to the new kitchen cabinets as well). Love, love, love the look and how much brighter the room appears. Good luck with whatever you do with it; it will be great! Merry Christmas!
  • Christine Willson Christine Willson on Dec 17, 2014
    I have painted several fireplaces and they all turned out great! I'd like to look into whitewashing and see how that looks. I am also looking into covering my brick with riverrock for a warm cozy feel. It depends sometimes o the rooms style your fireplace is in. I have also covered mantel if they are cement with a traditional wood mantel, very nice. You don't need to take off brick whatever yoou decide. Good luck and send pics when done.
  • Pamela Langone Pamela Langone on Dec 17, 2014
    cover it with plaster board and put pennies on it then grout. Look at mine I did the whole fireplace wall
  • Sharon Sharon on Dec 17, 2014
    Hi Olena, I thought contemporary when I saw the top. The bricks don't match that style. You could paint them the same as the wall color to blend them in or white, black, charcoal gray. I also like Marcia's suggestion of mosaic tile. Once the brick is covered with Sheetrock, u have many options. Google 3D wall panels for another modern option. I would consider putting art in the inset & surrounding with mirror tiles. Or use wallpaper on the whole wall. There are many removeable options now. Also check out Houzz and search contemporary, modern or minimalist fireplaces. Consider a visit to a tile store for inspiration. To really set the vibe, consider closing off the fireplace & using a hang up fp. If you're keeping it to use it then at least paint the brass and doors with high heat black paint (like for gas grills.) I would plan the whole style of the room first, even if will be done over time, to avoid costly mistakes. Paint is the cheapest biggest bang for the buck. Why not try that first? Just paint floor to ceiling in a stunning modern color. Think bright bold colors. Teal is in right now but also think energetic colors like lime green, or pink. But if u want a more calm, relaxing space, go with a charcoal color in a matte finish. Then use white accessories on the mantel. Good luck & please post it when ur done.
  • Maggie Maggie on Dec 17, 2014
    My daughter had the same color brick that you have. They was redoing their hard wood floors in there. She knew she didn't want to paint the brick, so she took some of the stain from the floors and stained the brick darker. Turned out beautiful I think.
  • Ba coe Ba coe on Dec 17, 2014
    Paint it white after the paint dries, paint it with a dark stain and wipe it off. The grooves in the brick keeps the stain, it looks antiquing. I did it to mine probably 35 years ago, still looks great.
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Dec 17, 2014
    As I did with a faux brick fireplace. Wash down with TSP,rinse off well, let dry then paint on primer usually it is white. Get all the nooks and crannies. Start from top to prime and catch any drips running down as you go. I used BullsEye Zinnser 1 2 3 . Have damp cloth ready to wipe off any splatters on floor , wall, mantle, hearth. White looks good as final coat.
  • Pamela Golden Pamela Golden on Dec 17, 2014
    I would paint the fireplace, mantle, and insert a dove gray paint. Then after the fireplace has dried, "antique it with an eggshell colored paint and whip off as to go. A beautiful beveled mirror in the insert would be the icing on the cake.
  • Pat Pat on Dec 17, 2014
    We had faux stone applied and it turned out great!
    • Barbara Burnham Barbara Burnham on Dec 17, 2014
      I'd either do that or tile directly over the brick (mastic and a say subway or larger tile would work fine without sheet or duro-rocking over brick. Carry any feature all the way up the wall and a special piece of art of accent tiles/mosaic in the inset.
  • Vicki Martin Straw Vicki Martin Straw on Dec 17, 2014
    I covered my fireplace with drywall and used granite around it and for the hearth. See picture below.
  • Sheri McBride Sheri McBride on Dec 17, 2014
    Paint, Paint, Paint. Grey, beige, off White. Then paint in inside of your recess the same color. I am sending a recent picture that we did with a white enamel FP. Changed the whole look of the room
  • Hooked On Pinterest Hooked On Pinterest on Dec 17, 2014
    We put mosaic tiles on ours and it turned out great. We used tiles that were already on a grid, this made it really easy.
  • Pat Pat on Dec 18, 2014
    Your rest of your decor and your budget all factor into this decision. What is the look your are going for and how thrifty do you want to be?
  • Zuz345178 Zuz345178 on Dec 18, 2014
    It would be extremely easy to put cultured stone directly over the old brick. There are many styles and colors to choose from. Yes, you do have to mortar them, but its very easy especially if you use pre-mix mortar. Use application without joints, especially if you haven't worked with the stone before. You don't need much material to clad your fireplace, look for leftovers from larger projects to cut cost. Don't paint, you'll regret it.
  • Ellen Knox Ellen Knox on Dec 18, 2014
    We had stacked stone veneer installed over our painted white brick. The installers had to sand off all the paint before I Installing the veneer. It looks beautiful now. Stone veneer comes in a wide variety of stone and a wide variety of colors.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Dec 18, 2014
    Is this a working fireplace? If so, painting might be a real pain to keep clean looking. I'd leave it. Think the prob is so much contrast between it and all the white. Just my taste but find white trendy and antiseptic. I'd do the mantle a natural dark wood colour and put some colour on the walls to provide the cozy factor..
  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Dec 18, 2014
    Personally, I love it. How old is the house? I suggest putting in your flooring, maybe sprucing up the mantle, and then waiting to do anything to the brick. If you still want to paint or cover the brick down the road, then go for it. However, you might find the entire look changes once you have your new flooring installed. I think the brick is a point of interest.
    • See 3 previous
    • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Dec 27, 2014
      @Olena Beloous Yes, it is challenging without furniture in the room. Tiling would definitely make it look more modern, but I am wondering if changing the mantel might be a good interim solution. You could do a lightweight board mantel, and cover it in cement like people do with countertops. There are several tutorials on this hometalk site. The cut-out above is already contemporary. A nice modern painting up there would draw the eye from the brick. I am not opposed to different kinds of fireplaces. I just hesitate to make changes to brick right away because it is such a miserable pain to fix if the results are not good. JMO though, and I am a slow decorator. :)
  • Sheila Moore Sheila Moore on Dec 18, 2014
    @Olena Beloous I tiled right over my brick fireplace 2 years ago...so easy to do and it looks great...
  • Pat Pat on Dec 18, 2014
    For a modern look, a mosaic would be nice. The cheapest thing would be white or light grey. There are so many options!
    • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Dec 27, 2014
      @Patmacb I do like the idea of a mosaic though over a straight tile design. That would make it a very interesting focal point.
  • Vicki Vicki on Jun 18, 2015
    replaster over bricks for a modern /smooth look...it all depends on the look you are going for...and of course if you still use fireplace...
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Feb 24, 2017

    I just read another fireplace makeover done in a dark charcoal gray...the entire wall and it was beautiful. It really drew your eye to it and created a wonderful focal point for the room. Anything you add to the surrounding wall will pop! Best of luck.

  • I love the look of a painted brick fireplace... in fact yours looks a lot like my daughter-in-law's and she drastically transformed hers! I wrote a post about it a couple years ago. Here's a link to see that transformation: simpledecoratingtips.com/2013/04/18/someone-elses-house-drastically-change-a-vintage-fireplace-with-paint-and-a-little-bit-of-fabric

  • Angela Allred Angela Allred on Feb 25, 2017

    I had an awful red brick fireplace and limited funds so l did paint it. I used high heat resistant paint in a charcoal shade and even mixed in a dusting of micro glitter. I repainted the wooden mantle with a "granite finish" spray paint and was quite pleased with the results. Painting might not be the best method but it was easy and inexpensive!

  • Jill Jill on Feb 26, 2017

    We bought a 1905 house that the previous owners painted the two antique brick fireplaces with white high gloss paint. We are now stuck with this. Try your other options in the room.

  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Feb 28, 2017

    I had a faux fireplace for a gas old 1942 fireplace which was disconnected way back before I had bought this house. The brick was sick pale green. I cleaned mine up, the bricks and primer painted and then final coat of white. Did it ever make a difference to my small living room. I kept the mantle natural wood. The white freshened the room up. Just need to find a electric fireplace insert that will fit that would sell with house when ready to sell.

  • Alfreda Dixon Frye Alfreda Dixon Frye on Jun 17, 2017

    Hello. Mine is the red brick. I want to change to tile or mosaic. Single mom on a budget. Which would be the best for me. Email me at

    fredadixonfrye@gmail.com if you all have any suggestions. Thanking you in advance.

  • Bjn12653061 Bjn12653061 on Jun 17, 2017

    I had two brick fireplaces. I filled in the brick with a layer of thin set cement and then stuccoed over it. I painted it a shade darker than the walls and it is contemporary and fresh. I also removed the brick hearth making it flush to the floor. I then used crema marfil marble tile in order to have the required hard fire proof surface in front of the fireplace.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 13, 2022

    If you don't like it - Whitewash it or Paint it . If you don't like that you could Board it over, or have it Rendered, or Have it Pulled out and replaced, the choice is yours.