You want to enjoy your brick fireplace during these cold, snowy winter months but every time you go to relax by the fire all you can think is…”Does my fireplace need a quick update?”

If you  have dark, heavy-looking “Brady Bunch” brick that’s ruining your room’s decor and keeping you from enjoying your nights by the fire, no worries.  If you have just a few hours of free time, I’ll share three easy do -it-yourself painting solutions for your outdated brick that can change your fireplace from frumpy to fabulous in a snap.

First, prepare your brick for painting.  You need to clean your brick with a brick and mortar cleaner and/or trisodium phosphate (TSP).  Be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves. Take a wire brush and scrub the bricks to remove any soot, dirt, or dust.  Rinse and let dry.  Use painter’s tape to tape off areas you want to be paint-free.  Lay down a drop cloth to protect your carpet, wood, or tile floor.  Whether or not to remove your mantel or work around it during the painting process is up to you.

Painting Your Brick A Solid Color

The first solution involves using a solid color paint to cover all your brick.  With the right shade of light-colored paint, this process will instantly lighten your room.  If you’re painting a brick wall or fireplace in your basement where you have few windows to get natural light, this idea will make your space seem brighter and more open.  First, apply an oil-based primer that blocks stains.  Follow the fireplace paint manufacturer’s instructions on the can as you apply the primer to the entire surface of your bricks.  After the primer dries, apply a latex paint, using a roller, to the brick surface. You can choose a flat, semi-gloss or gloss, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.  Have a small paint brush handy to get areas that your brush misses, especially if you have rough, jagged brick.  You can apply a few coats of paint if you choose.  Make sure the paint can withstand heat from your fireplace, about 200 degrees.

White Washed Brick

If you don’t want to paint your brick a thick, solid color, you might consider a white washed look.  This process involves covering your brick with a thin, white paint mixture that tones down the look of dark brick and allows some of the original brick to peek through.   You’ll have  a fresh, light “pickled” look that works well with cottage chic or beachy decor. Simply mix equal parts latex paint and water and use a brush to apply the mixture over all your brick.  Before the paint dries, use a rag to remove any excess paint to achieve a thin, see-thru look.

Brick-Anew Paint Kit

If you want to keep the “real brick” look and not just paint over your brick with a solid color or wash, there’s an online  brick paint kit you might want to try. The Brick-Anew paint kit comes with shades of paint that work together to give the impression that  you rebuilt your fireplace with a different color brick.  In other words, even though your bricks are painted, each brick will have a mottled look that mimics real brick.

The paint kit comes with everything you need…five shades of latex brick paint product, painting tools, and instructional DVD.  First, you brush a base coat (no need to prime first) over all your brick and then apply 4 other shades using a small roller or sponge.  It’s an easy process with dramatic results and a money back guarantee. There are three color kits to choose from including taupe, tan, and gray.

I hope these painting solutions have given you food for thought and some motivation for an indoor project on a cold winter’s day.  After all, spring is just around the corner when all those outdoor projects and gardening will crowd your agenda.  I’d love to hear how your project turns out!

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