A whitewashed brick fireplace can completely transform the look and feel of your living space. The fresh, bright white finish gives off an airy farmhouse vibe while still allowing the charming texture of the original brickwork to peek through. With just a few simple supplies, you can easily DIY this stylish yet classic look in a single weekend.
With a few tips and tricks, you can unlock the full potential of your brick fireplace and complement your home with a gorgeous new focal point.
Choosing the Perfect Whitewash for Brick
When selecting a whitewash for brick, you’ll want to consider the finish, ease of application, and durability. Chalk paint is a popular choice for whitewashing brick because it leaves a trendy matte, velvety appearance that looks like authentic aged limewash. Be sure to choose a chalk paint formulated specifically for high heat applications if your fireplace is still functional.
Alternatively, traditional limewash will create a mineral-based, naturally white finish. Although limewash takes more skill to apply, it is highly durable and gains an antique patina over time. Sample a few options to determine whether you prefer the look of opaque chalk paint or translucent, layered limewash on your specific brickwork.
- Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint – Ultra matte, great coverage
- Magnolia Home Chalk Paint – Subtle texture, matte finish
- Romabio Classico Limewash – Traditional lime plaster finish
- General Finishes Milk Paint – Powdered limewash mix
Proper Brick Surface Preparation
Before whitewashing, ensure your brick is clean and ready to accept paint. Use a stiff wire brush to scrub away any dirt or grime buried in the crevices. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the brick to dry fully over 24-48 hours. Repair any damaged or missing mortar beforehand for the best results.
For added texture, consider sandblasting the surface. This removes the outer layer of the brick for a more aged, rustic appearance perfect for whitewashing. Alternatively, a simple vinegar wash will create subtle etching if sandblasting is not an option.
Whitewashing Technique for Flawless Coverage
Dilute your chosen paint with equal parts water in a large bucket and stir thoroughly. This will thin the paint to a milk-like consistency required for transparent whitewashing.
Work in small sections for the most control. Use a soft chip brush to lightly dust on the thinned paint, letting it settle into the crevices and cover the surface without overloading the brick. Allow the first sheer coat to dry completely before adding additional layers to build up opacity.
Wipe away any drips or excess paint with a damp cloth as you work to prevent streaking. Step back frequently to check coverage and ensure the paint is blending smoothly for a cohesive overall look.
Don’t Forget the Mortar
For the most seamless, blended effect, whitewash the grout lines between bricks in the same manner. This visually minimizes the contrast between the brick and mortar, letting the texture itself take center stage.
Use the same whitewash and application method as on the brick when painting the mortar for a unified appearance. Take care to wipe away any excess paint that drips onto the face of the brick as you work.
Achieving a Natural, Organic Look
The beauty of whitewashed brick lies in its imperfections. Strategically allow some of the original brick color to show through in places for added depth and dimension. You can also weather the finish after application by lightly sanding to break up areas of paint and re-expose the underlying brick.
Build up sheer coats of whitewash slowly to prevent it from looking heavy or painted on. The more layered and irregular the finish, the more genuine and timeworn it will appear.
Enhance Whitewashed Brick with Color
For added interest, consider painting your grout lines a contrasting color prior to whitewashing. Deep charcoal or crisp white mortar will make the texture of the brick itself pop. You can also stencil patterns over the cured whitewash to incorporate color and customize your fireplace.
Paint select focal points or entire accent walls in a bold shade to offset neutral whitewashed brick. The combinations are endless for complementing and showcasing this fresh, vintage look in your home.
Caring for Whitewashed Brick
Allow whitewashed brick adequate curing time before exposing it to heat from fireplace use. Apply a protective clear sealer if desired to protect the finish from potential smoke or soot damage over time.
With proper prep and application, whitewashed brick requires very little maintenance. Simply touch up any worn areas as needed. Plan to reapply a fresh coat of whitewash annually to maintain the lustrous, muted finish.
Whitewashed Brick Fireplace Inspiration
From traditional to modern, a whitewashed fireplace can complement any style. Here are just a few gorgeous examples to fuel your inspiration:
Classic Farmhouse Charm
A whitewashed brick fireplace surrounded by beams and wood surfaces embraces timeless farmhouse aesthetics. The muted white brick contrasts beautifully against natural wood tones.
Exposed whitewashed brick paired with metal accents and furnishings brings an urban loft vibe to this industrial space. The brick adds welcoming warmth and texture.
In a cozy cottage setting, a whitewashed fireplace creates a light and airy focal point. Varying paint opacity levels result in a beautifully variegated finish.
Crisp white paint lets the fireplace blend seamlessly into this bright, modern room. A hint of the underlying brick shows through for subtle contrast and texture.
With just a few simple materials and techniques, you can transform your brick fireplace with a whitewashed facelift. Proper preparation, application of diluted paint layers, and strategic distressing will allow you to achieve a flawless, authentic finish.
Incorporate this fresh, vintage look to complement any design style and bring renewed life to your living space. A whitewashed brick fireplace serves as the perfect rustic yet refined focal point for gathering and unwinding in stylish comfort.