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How I Updated My Fireplace

One of the biggest statement pieces in your house is not what you might think. It’s usually overlooked and just there for the functional reason to warm your home. But your fireplace makes a huge statement.

When you change the fireplace, it changes the entire room. It sounds expensive, time consuming and pretty messy to change it. It can be, but it can also be as simple as a can of paint. When I redid my first fireplace at our first home, it was new construction and made of a typical red brick.

This picture was taken over six years ago and one of the only pictures I could find with the original fireplace color. This is my daughter’s two year old birthday party. I was nine months pregnant with our second.

As we renovated the house, removed carpet and brightened up the living room I grew tired of the dark fireplace. I googled how to paint brick, bought a can of white paint and went to town. I learned brick soaks up paint very quickly and was very easy to control your color. I wanted to white wash the brick and not paint it bright white.

The finished product. You can see how the different brick shades are still coming through.

Our next move was into a fixer upper stuck in the 80’s. This poor fireplace needed a lot of love. My husband and Dad tackled removing the heating unit in the fireplace and put in gas logs.

With all the renovations that needed to be done I did not want to spend a large budget on the fireplace. I decided to white wash the brick again. This time I also tackled the dated brown mantel.  I painted the base and sides bright white, sanded and stained the top espresso.

The whole project cost around $50. That does not include changing to gas logs.  If  you look at the original picture, you can tell I painted a lot more than just the fireplace. White paint and I became quite close with all the window and door trim painting I did. I had planned to have all the trim, molding and doors painted professionally but I quickly found out it was so easy to do myself, expensive to hire someone and really just time consuming. If I can save money by doing something myself that is always a win. Sometime as simple as paint though changes the entire tone of the room. A lot of people are afraid to paint themselves because they fear they will mess it up. Latex paints wipes up when splattered, if you get a spot on the ceiling it’s also an easy fix. It’s pretty hard to mess up paint so just go for it! I love having a bright white fireplace, it really has opened the whole room up and is now a beautiful focal point.

My fireplace saga did not end though with just paint. Nature had another plan. A large pine tree branch the size of a tree fell on our chimney during a snow storm and destroyed all my hard work. Thankfully we had great homeowners insurance and unfortunately had to file a claim.

This time I got to have a lot of fun and totally redesigned the entire fireplace

As much as I love my new stone fireplace it did take time, was messy, dusty renovation and took professionals to complete. I adore the finished product and am proud of all the work that went into the design. But you don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to make a big impact. I honestly loved the white washed brick too!

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 I wanted the look of white washed brick where some of the original brick color still came through. The brick will absorb a lot of the paint and the paint will splatter a little when you run the brush over it so lay down a drop cloth and tape anything you dont want paint on. I always use latex paint so I can wipe it up. You dont need a high quality expensive paint for this project. Any old white paint will do.

Instructions and materials

Needed: one can of white latex paint quart to a gallon depending on your fireplace size and desired coverage

Disposable cup

A good paint brush- link to my favorite

Drop clothes and painters tape

Instructions:

Mix one part white latex paint to two parts water in a solo cup. Use less water if you want more coverage and no water if you want all white with no brick showing through. You will need to do several coats in that case. Carefully start to paint the brick. If you’re nervous try to find a small place you can test on the brick. A lot of fireplaces are made of the same brick as your house so it may be easier to find a place behind some bushes to do a tiny test.

Using the paint brush, brush the water paint mixture over the brick. Remember, because the brick the rough it will splatter. Make sure you cover anything you do not want to get a little paint on. I ended up doing two coats, letting the first coat dry then adding a second because when it dried, it was way darker then I wanted. That brick is SO absorbent. If you want less brick showing through, keep painting and drying until you reach your desired look.

You will be shocked at how just a little paint can really brighten the room.  Happy painting!

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