NOTE: If you were looking for some guidelines for painting brick, scroll down to the bottom of the blog. Michelle added the technique she used!
Amidst all the holiday cheer we took some time to finish up a few household projects that have been on our to-do list for awhile. There were some moldings that needed to go up, some closet shelves I’ve needed for ages and my big project was updating the fireplace in our family room. It is one of the those built in the 70s full wall of brick deals. I love having it and enjoy its unusual shape but the dark orange brick sucked all the light out of the room and made it feel as though you were sitting in a cave in the evening.
Since the day we moved in, over five years ago now, I’ve toyed with the idea of painting it but was reluctant to cover up the ‘real brick.’ There is no going back once you start. But I was ready for a massive change in the room and decided to try for a faux brick finish first… just in lighter colors. I went into the project armed with a stack of sponges, various paints used elsewhere in the house and accepting that in the end I might just end up painting the whole thing our trim color. There was a layer or two of color that had me doubting the whole project but the final results ended up very close to what I had been hoping to achieve and we are all enjoy our fresh ‘new’ fireplace.
BEFORE – Dark, dirty bricks
SCARY – First coat of paint
AFTER – Much lighter, brighter room
EDIT to add some details. I’m hardly an expert here but I will give you an idea of what I did. NOTE: I did not paint the inside at all… just the front so I didn’t worry about fire safe paint. Obviously if you are painting an area that might be in contact with flame you will need special high heat paints… ask at the hardware store.
First I dry brushed a coat of our off-white trim paint. I’m not sure I needed to start there but it seemed like a good way to lighten up the base. If you have very dirty bricks… you will probably need to clean them before this step. From there I worked in sections so that the paint didn’t dry between layers of color… I wanted to colors to blend. I mixed up a bit of the white with our yellow wall paint to get a cream/beige color. I sponged it on fairly thick but still leaving some of the cracks free of paint and was super careful not to get it in the mortar. I mixed another color of more yellow, little bit of white and a bit of brown that I had a small sample jar of from picking our outside trim color. I sponged that on only some of the bricks… in a random pattern. I had another mixture that was a bit more of the white and just a touch of the other colors that I did over that – to tone it down again. The last thing I did was touch some of the darker bricks with just a bit of the straight up brown. This was truly a trial and error sort of project. Mainly you need several colors that blend well together that you layer over the bricks using sponges. You can buy Fireplace Painting Kits… just google that term. It did not take much paint and my project took about 5 hours. Hope that helps somewhat.