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Brick Fireplace: To Paint or Not to Paint?

White Painted Fireplace

Image from Maiedae.

Woaaahhhh buddy it’s so fun to be in a house where you can paint things and smash walls and rip out linoleum if you don’t like it! Apartment after apartment had really gotten me into the mindset of not being able to change things up a whole lot, but this is an entirely new ball of wax, gang. It’s so fun to daydream about the changes that we want to make on the house, and start to switch things up little by little. Our newest debate: painting the brick fireplace.

I love fireplaces. Looooooove fireplaces. I used to beg my dad to stock our house with firewood and I was always the one who set the fires up and kept them going. It’s just so cozy and so… good. So I’m pretty pumped to be back in a house with a fireplace. The thing is, with the other updates we are making on the house, the fireplace is looking a little -ahem- rustic. Not that I don’t love rustic. But you know. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes fireplace snap from our house a couple of weeks ago:

brick fireplace

So how do you feel about slapping a beautiful coat of paint on an original brick fireplace? Brilliant? Blasphemy? I know there are definitely two camps here, and I’d love to get your thoughts. Do you have a fireplace that you’ve painted and loved (or hated)? Some of the inspiration I’m finding around the web is just beautiful, and I think it would make a world of difference in our space. And then, what do you paint it? White? Black? A color? Help me here, peeps! xoxo

Black Painted Fireplace

Image from The Brick House.

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23 thoughts on “Brick Fireplace: To Paint or Not to Paint?

  1. Im loving the white brick with the wood shelf too! I think its your space, do what you wish, make it your own 🙂 It is scary to paint such beautiful brick but I dont think you will regret it – how fun to get down in dirty with your new space enjoy!

  2. Your fireplace is gorgeous! I would say leave it as is – it always hurts my heart a little to see painted brick, but I know whatever you do will be lovely! 🙂

  3. I love the raw brick. Maybe consider just painting the shelf a bright color, maybe yellow or teal or just a bright white??
    I have a friend who had a black painted fire place and it was pretty lovely. But I never saw it before the paint.

  4. I am so jealous of your wrecking ball possibilities! I am still in that apartment phase of life (not allowed to change light fixtures, paint, drill into the walls, or make the place nicer in any general way). I’ve got to vote white on this one. A gorgeous white wash of paint that still allows some of the brick to show through.

    Can’t wait to see the after!

    xo Rachel

  5. Isn’t it so fun NOT to ask permission from a alandlord before doing anything!? We’re about to own the house we are renting so we get to finally consider new exterior paint colors. I think a white fireplace with a wood shelf would be gorgeous.

  6. Your current fireplace is a great size if you keep the brick unpainted. I’m usually all for white brick if the fireplace takes up the entire wall (

    We have one exposed brick wall in our house and everyone loves it — and it makes a nice space to hang art. Maybe you could do something similar here if you do not paint. I think either way is fine, but I had to comment to say I am not wild about the black. It’s cool in that room, but I could see it looking very dated in a few years!

  7. I love the idea of painting it, I think it looks beautiful. My favorite is probably the white one, it’s very fresh and it definitely makes the room look bigger 😉

  8. I’d say you shouldn’t let the fact that it’s “original” keep you from doing whatever you think fits your personal style best. It’s YOUR home! Do what you want with it!

  9. Hmmm, that’s a tough decision. It does look pretty rustic, but not so very “rustic” that you have to paint it. I think that you should go ahead and paint it if that’s what will fit you best. But if you like it the way it is, then it would be fine on its own. Either way, I think it will be fabulous!

  10. I would probably let the rest of the room evolve and then see if it needs painting. Painting brick is really the only thing that’s impossible to undo. I think the raw brick could look great with the right accessories. Ultimately its yours, but if it were me I’d wait until I was like 90% certain, and until then see where the rest of the room takes me.

  11. I have a wood burning stove as my sole heating unit for the house. It is in the corner with dark brick behind it. I painted the brick a warm caramel color and the room just opened up! I think the painted brick is soooo charming. Do it! I loved mine!

  12. Paint! I love both black and white (I secretly would love to buy an old brick house just to paint it black). I think it depends on what look you’re going for as to which colour. Although, I do agree that sometimes true brick really works, too. So maybe do up the room first the way you like and then decide what works.

  13. What a gorgeous fireplace! My first instinct would be to leave it as is (and maybe paint the shelf) but I agree that painting it white could make the room look more spacious and modern. Perhaps you should put your furniture in first and then make a decision? Otherwise a whitewash could be a good compromise 🙂 Can’t wait to see the end result.

  14. Honed slate tile! Modern gloss large format tile! It could be reversed if ever desired. Paint can’t be and I always look at a painted fireplace and think, ew, it’s coated, not a real natural solid substance—

  15. Keep it! We’ve been house shopping and it is so frustrating to see all the white painted fireplaces! Stop it people!! Lol

    1. Thank you. Thinking about selling in a couple years. To “update” or not? In many parts of the home – yes! Brick fireplace? I think I’ll leave it natural!