How To Paint a Brick Fireplace

Fireplace too dark? Use our step-by-step guide to brighten it up and bring some life to your room.

While some bricks are beautiful and shouldn't be painted, others might not have that classic character and longevity—that's where a fresh paint job can truly do wonders for a lackluster fireplace in any room. Below, Campbell Minister, the interior designer and founder of Decorated Interiors, shares advice for how to paint a brick fireplace effortlessly.

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Laurey W. Glenn, Styling: Matthew Gleason

Step 1

First, you should clean the brick before you begin painting it. To do this, use a wire brush and soapy water to scrub down the brick. Make sure the brick is completely dry before you begin the painting process.

Step 2

Next, you'll want to sand down any rough spots on the brick. "After that, you should find primer like Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start, a Rust Oleum primer, or Zinsser product to help adhere to the brick before you paint—this is an essential part of the process," says Minister.

Step 3

Painters tape comes next. "You need to figure out what you're going to paint, and what you will leave untouched," says Minister. "In some instances, the mantle and hearth may stay a separate color—taping this off well is key."

Step 4

After taping and priming, next comes the color. "Some paints will absorb into the brick, so be prepared to test it out and see," says Minister. "You may have to apply two coats if the brick does absorb the paint." The finish of your paint will affect this, and Minister often recommends a satin finish for a slight sheen, and semigloss for a bit of a reflective value. "Every paint brand has different finishes, so it's best to check with your store on what will achieve the look you're going for," she says.

Step 5

Last up is deciding if you will paint the interior of your fireplace. A high-heat black paint will make a nice fresh start for any aesthetic you are trying to achieve, according to Minister. "If you have family members who are sensitive to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or off-gassing, it's best to check with your painter and/or paint store regarding the product you select." With a true wood-burning fireplace, painting the interior is not advisable. If you have a gas insert or if the fireplace is simply for an aesthetically pleasing focal point in the room, then that should be fine to do. Always ask an expert if you are not sure.

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