If you’re looking for the easiest and cheapest way to update a fireplace, you’ll want to put your tile away and pick up a paint brush. I truly believe the biggest impact you can make to your living space is a clean and bright painted brick fireplace (see below for proof!). Bonus—making and applying whitewash paint is an easy and cheap DIY project that can be completed in a few hours!
How to Whitewash a Brick Fireplace
This easy tutorial walks you through exactly how to whitewash paint your own fireplace. We have done this twice now, and it is one of the easiest, cheapest and quickest DIY’s you can do. The difference a painted brick fireplace makes is HUGE, especially if you feel that your living room is too dark and boring. This quick change will immediately get a “wow” from your friends that visit.
How to Whitewash a Fireplace: Step 1 – Clean
When you start your whitewash brick project the first thing you will want to do is remove any and all dust and debris.
If you are planning on changing out your fireplace mantel this is a great time to go ahead and do that too…like we did with our DIY new fireplace mantel.
Use your vacuum and suck out as much of the dust as possible, then go over it with a microfiber rag, or use these dust wipes like we did (affiliate link) to remove the remaining dust so it doesn’t ruin your painted brick fireplace.
How to Whitewash a Fireplace: Step 2 – Make Whitewash Paint
It’s time to make your whitewash paint. I always make my whitewash by creating a simple mix of 50% latex paint and 50% water. If you search for “how to make whitewash paint” online, you’ll find all kinds of recipes from using acid to a lime wash brick fireplace (yes, with actual lime!), but I’m all about doing thing the simple way! This method has worked on two of our fireplaces so I’m totally confident that it will work.
How to Whitewash a Fireplace: Step 3 – Start Painting!
From there it’s painting time.
Dip 1/3rd of your brush into the paint mixture and gently scrape against the side of the container, allowing it to drip before applying. I work in 1 x 1 foot sections to have better control on the evenness of the paint. It works best to make your way down since the paint will have a tendency to leave drips (stay on top of that rogue paint!).
When you finish your first section from top to bottom, work your way across until you finish your first coat. It is important to get between the bricks so the mortar gets plenty of the paint otherwise the whitewash brick will look incomplete.
It is also possible that you will want to do a second coat of paint on your new fireplace, but this is completely up to your preference. We ended up doing two coats of paint and I think it looks amazing! 🙂
I also finally had a chance to get some of my books put in the cabinet next to the fireplace—all arranged by color of course! 🙂
White Washed Brick Before and After
I’m so happy with how bright and clean the whole space looks now…much improved! 🙂 Here’s a nice before/after shot so we can take a walk down memory lane. So much better!
Frequently Asked Questions About a Painted Brick Fireplace
How do you make a whitewash?
The easy way to make whitewash paint is to mix 50% latex paint with 50% water and use a standard paint brush to apply.
How much does it cost to whitewash a fireplace?
You can totally do a whitewash fireplace style for less than $50 (or even FREE if you have supplies on hand!). Of course, it would depend on the size of your fireplace but a standard floor to ceiling fireplace 5-foot-wide would only take one gallon of paint and any brushes you need to buy.
Can you whitewash with any color?
Yes, you can mix any color paint with water to apply it to your whitewash brick fireplace. However, white seems to be the most popular, with a gray whitewash brick a close second.