We bought our house almost 3 years ago, and the first features I noticed when we walked into the living room were the beautiful picture windows that flanked the very large fireplace. However, the fireplace was, in my opinion, dingy looking and left the living room feeling dark. The fireplace blended in, rather than standing out as a focal point. The original plan was to re-face the entire fireplace using a stone façade. Due to the size of our fireplace, this would be a costly project ($3,000K+) so I knew I would have to be patient. I do not have a patient bone in my body.
After a couple of years, I couldn’t be patient anymore. I couldn’t handle the dark room and I knew the fireplace was the key to brightening the whole space. The need for change was eating at me every time I walked into the living room. My husband was very resistant to letting me paint the fireplace. He didn’t want “just a large painted fireplace”, but something needed to happen. So I begged and begged him to let me paint it. Something to get me by just until we were ready to reface it.
And can you guess what happened? I painted it, and he loved it. And so did I. It’s so much more than “just a painted fireplace” and gives the entire room a new feel. The fireplace is the first thing you see when you walk in now, and makes the living room look so much more spacious. I don’t know if we will ever tackle the stone façade. I’m not sure we even need it anymore.
Here is the tutorial for faux finishing your fireplace. It’s a budget and beginner-friendly project that can dramatically impact your room, and probably even add value to your home. Of all the projects I’ve done, this was the best use of one weekend and $75!
Cost: Less than $75
- Flat Interior Paint – Base Color
- Creamy Ivory: Valspar, Desert Fortress (#2008-10B); Purchased one gallon
- Flat interior Paint – Faux Finish/Top Color
- Taupe-Gray: Valspar, Smoked Oyster (6005-1C); Purchased one quart (a sample size may be sufficient for smaller fireplaces)
- Paint Roller
- Small Paint Brush for painting trim (1-2 inches)
- Small art/craft brush (optional)
- Painters Tape
- Sponge (about the same dimensions as one brick)
- I used this Home Depot “HDX Automatic Sponge Mop Refill” sponge, which is meant for a mop because it was is longer and fits the size of my brick almost exactly, 9 inches in length
- Paint the entire fireplace with a roller using the base color. Multiple coats may be required, depending on the texture of your brick, but don’t worry about trying to get paint on the mortar between the bricks with the roller
- Use a small paint brush to paint the mortar between the bricks, as well as any nooks and crannies you couldn’t get with the roller. For some of the tiny, deep recesses, I actually used a small art/craft brush
- After the base coat is completely dry, apply the top color to each brick using the sponge. I used a medium taupe-gray for the top color. The trick to applying the sponge faux coat is to use a very small amount of paint. The idea is to get soft texture. Barely dip a small paint brush (1-2 inches in size) into the can of paint, then blot the brush on a paper plate to get most of the paint off the brush. Next, randomly cover the surface of the sponge with the paint brush. Again, you want a very small amount of paint on the sponge, and you want the pattern and amount of paint applied to each brick to vary. If you apply too much paint to the sponge, you will be left with a solid sponge mark of paint instead of light texture
- After applying the paint to the sponge, carefully place it on a brick and gently pat in different areas. Play around with this technique with each brick until you see how much pressure leaves the right amount of paint. If you mess up, you can easily cover that brick with more base color, and try again
- The top layer will darken as it dries, so start with a few bricks and use a hair dryer to dry the paint to get a feel for the finished look before you move on with the rest
Here’s an up-close look at the texture after the top coat has dried. You can see the variance between the darker and lighter bricks.
Here is the finished look before we built the new mantle. You can see the texture and pattern varies from brick to brick, and I kept the texture very light. I made sure to avoid any dark blocks of gray paint. When you stand back, it can be hard to tell that the brick is even painted.
For the mantle, which was a separate project, we chose to use the same color paint as the base coat so it would complement the fireplace, without interrupting the eye. This was a last minute change of heart as we originally planned to go with a stained wood mantle for more of a rustic look. I absolutely love the finished product and the visual impact the fireplace now has in my living room.