How to Whitewash a Fireplace

Whitewashing your brick fireplace is a really easy how-to that updates your home beautifully.

A brick fireplace is a gorgeous focal point for any home, but the dark, natural brick look can be really outdated.

Many people choose to paint the brick a solid color. A more natural looking, timeless option is to whitewash the brick. Whitewashing the brick allows for the color of the brick to come through the painted finish, giving variety and texture to the fireplace.

Here is how the fireplace looked before I whitewashed it.

When I moved into my home, the fireplace looked like this.

So dark, right?

It made the whole room look dark.

After looking into my options, I decided that whitewashing would be the easiest and cheapest way to change the look of it.

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It was also the scariest!

What if I messed it up?  What if I hated it?  After putting paint on brick, there is no easy way to turn back.

But, as they say, no risk no reward.  So I got down to business.

I thought that whitewashing the brick may turn out to be a pretty messy job, and I was right.

Luckily, we were replacing the carpet in the home anyways and had already torn it out.  I think it would have been really hard to cover enough of the floor surface to make sure that no paint got on it.

With the floor being down to just subfloor, my prep work was pretty minimal.  I removed the fireplace screen and the mantle.

Then, I found a can of white paint in my basement and started to thin it out.  Because I wanted a really soft white wash with some of the brick color showing through, I ended up with about a 1 part paint:4 parts water ratio.

This stuff was liquidy.

I enlisted my husband’s help with this project because I wanted to make sure that he was part of the ruining process if that was how this thing ended up (then he couldn’t blame me!).  Also, I knew that I did not want the paint to sit on the brick for very long before wiping it.  So I truly did need his help.

So here is how we whitewashed the fireplace.

I painted the paint/water mixture on, and as soon as I picked the paint brush up off of the brick, my husband wiped the brick with a towel.  He wiped it so fast after I painted it that half of the time he was knocking my hand out of the way.

This was critical to get the look that we wanted.

I made sure to run the paint brush along all of the mortar because I wanted that to come out nice and white.

In all honesty, paint got everywhere!

I had an old couch sitting about four feet behind us and it was splattered with little tiny flecks of paint water that never came off.  The paint got all over the subfloor just from running down the brick.  So take note, if you are planning to white wash your fireplace and have a floor that you want to keep nice, cover it REALLY well with something waterproof like plastic and tape it down.  Cover everything nearby that you do not want paint on.

I LOVE how it turned out.

It brightened up the room, and really became such a gorgeous focal point.

I chose to leave the dated brass fireplace screen off, and instead opted for some birch logs. Since the mantle was already a beautiful wood finish, I put it back in place.

After I whitewashed the brick, I painted all the trim white. I also chose a creamy white color from this whole house color scheme to finish the look.

Follow the instructions below to whitewash your own fireplace!

How To Whitewash A Fireplace

How To Whitewash A Fireplace

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Learn how to whitewash your fireplace to give your home an updated look.

Materials

  • White Paint
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Paint Brush
  • Lots of Rags/Towels
  • Painters' Tape
  • Plastic Dropcloths

Instructions

  1. Cover everything around the fireplace. Cover the floor with plastic and adhere it to the area around the fireplace with painters' tape. Cover the walls and floors that are within 2-4 feet of the fireplace.
  2. Move furniture that is near the fireplace. If you cannot move it, cover it.
  3. Pour 1 part white paint in the bucket.
  4. Pour 4 parts water in the bucket.
  5. Mix with a paint stirrer. Your mixture will be very watery. This is how you want it.
  6. Starting at the top, use a large paintbrush to wipe the water mixture on the brick.
  7. Working quickly, paint the entire surface of the brick with the paint/water mixture.
  8. Let the fireplace dry for a few hours.

Notes

This water/paint mixture splashes a lot. If you do not want paint on it, cover it!

The more watery you make the paint/water mixture, the more color of the brick will show through.

If you desire a more see through finish, wipe the brick off with a rag or towel immediately after painting it. You will not pull all the color off of the brick, but it will lessen the amount of paint that sits on the brick.

If paint drips down the brick, wipe it quickly, as the drips may show through when you are finished (similiar to if you had done two coats in the areas where the drips are).

When you are sure the paint/water mixture is no longer dripping, remove the covering from the floor. If any drips escaped underneath the plastic, they should still be wet enough to wipe up at this point. Wipe them quickly, with a rag.

How to Whitewash a Fireplace

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