One of the first things I wanted to change when we moved into our home was the fireplace. I have always thought of the fireplace as the focal point of any room and ours was in desperate need of an update. The red brick and brass just had to go but after just purchasing a house and getting thrown into the world of mortgage payments (yuck!) we had to find a way to change the look on the cheap. The first step was to gather the supplies. We made a quick run to Home Depot and bought a can of Rustoleum HIGH HEAT spray paint in a flat black color. You MUST make sure that it's high heat because well...it's a fireplace! The next thing we picked was a paint color for the brick. I chose a light gray (because I am a gray freak!) and a $3 sample size was plenty enough to cover the entire surface. We also grabbed painter's tape, a small plastic paint bucket with measurements, and a plastic drop cloth. Note: we also needed a screwdriver to remove the screen, a paint brush for applying the paint to the bricks, as well as an old rag for the white-washing (which I'll explain in a little bit).
So here's a list just to make it a little less cluttered:
- 1 can Rustoleum High Heat Spray Paint (We used flat black)
- A sample sized container of paint (We used a light gray color called Behr Porpoise)
- Painter's tape (just to keep the paint from getting on the mantle)
- A plastic paint bucket with measurements
- A plastic drop cloth (just protective for the floor around the base of the fireplace)
- Paint brush (any size you like but do NOT use a roller...too messy)
- Screwdriver (to remove the fireplace screen if yours is like ours and is attached)
- An old rag that you do not mind ruining!
The first thing we did once we had gathered all the supplies was tackle the fireplace screen. Bye bye brass! We unscrewed the entire thing from the top and removed it completely. We brought it outside and covered up the glass parts with newspaper scraps and painter's tape so they would not get painted black. Then went to town with the high heat spray paint! Once it was fully covered (it took a couple of coats) we left it outside to dry and came in to start on the bricks. For the bricks, we used a technique called white washing, although instead of using white paint, we used gray. Gray washing? Basically to white wash (or gray wash) something, all you do is make a mixture of equal parts paint and water. This is where that paint bucket with the measurements comes in handy! We added the paint and water, mixed it together really well (it will be very thin) and set it aside. Now it was time to prep the work space. In order to protect our carpet and our very white mantle, we lined the whole perimeter with the painter's tape and spread the plastic drop cloth around the bottom of the fireplace. We even used more of the tape to secure the drop cloth so there was no risk of gray paint splatter on white carpet! Once the area was ready to go, we brought in the paint, the paint brush, and the old rag and we got to work. White washing (in my opinion at least) is a lot like staining. You brush the paint/water mixture on the surface, and then wipe the excess off with the old rag. I told you...the rag is toast. The whole process did not take long at all and was surprisingly easy. The mixture actually covered our red brick really well. Once we had finished our gray washing, we stepped back and allowed the whole thing to dry completely. It took about an hour or so. By that time, the fireplace screen was ready to come back inside. We removed the newspaper and tape (and were quite relieved to see that the glass stayed unpainted). Then we carried the whole thing back inside, re-attached it to the fireplace and BAM! We had a whole new look...for almost no money. Now that's my kind of makeover!
(Per usual I apologize for the quality of these photos...they were taken with my old phone!)
Just to make it a little easier to see, here is a step by step for the white washing process:
- Make a mixture of equal parts paint and water (any color paint you want and you should not need more than a sample size to cover this size space)
- Paint the mixture (it will be thin) onto the bricks
- Come behind it and wipe the excess paint mixture off with an old rag until you get the look/coverage you desire
P.S. You may notice that at the time these photos were taken, we had not added our DIY Shiplap over the mantle. That is another tutorial coming very soon!
Here is the fireplace before we moved in, and here it is now!
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