Does your traditional red brick house blend in with the neighborhood instead of stand out? Are you itching to update the exterior but aren’t sure where to start? We’ve all been there. Red brick facades offer classic curb appeal, but achieving a modern refresh can feel challenging.
The good news? You don’t have to take on a full-scale remodel or commit the design faux pas of painting over beautiful brickwork to give your home a contemporary edge. With strategic tweaks and accents, you can honor the existing architecture while bringing it current.
Assess the Current State of Your Red Brick Exterior
First things first, take stock of what you’re working with. Conduct a thorough inspection of the brick, mortar, trim, fixtures and other exterior elements. This allows you to identify any necessary repairs to ensure your brickwork is restored to its full glory before adding updates.
Consult a trusted masonry specialist to diagnose the condition of the brick and mortar. They can recommend spot repairs, repointing of worn mortar, or replacing individual bricks as needed. Proactive restoration maintains the structural integrity of your home’s skin and maximizes curb appeal.
Repair Damaged or Deteriorating Brickwork
Damaged, cracked or crumbling sections of brickwork are not just unsightly, but can allow moisture to seep in and cause ongoing issues. Replacing broken bricks and repointing mortar fills in gaps between bricks caused by weathering. This restores a smooth, continuous surface and prevents further damage.
Don’t ignore small imperfections – addressing them now creates a clean backdrop that lets your modern updates shine. The repairs blend in while allowing the best qualities of the brick to take center stage.
Modernize Archives Brick Elements
Entryways, windows, doors, lighting, railings, hardware and other brick accompaniments present prime opportunities to mix modern flair with traditional material. Swap out worn brass doorknobs for sleek black handles and aged exterior lanterns for copper pathway lighting.
Updating these secondary players contrasts crisp, contemporary touches against the timeless brick backdrop. Bonus points if you can incorporate smart home elements for heightened function. The updates breathe new life into your home’s exterior!
Change Up the Color Scheme
Altering the color of surrounding elements develops contrast and allows the red brick to pop. But for bolder impact, consider applying color right on the brick itself with stains, washes or limewashing. Don’t worry – these techniques still let that gorgeous texture show through.
Stain or Wash the Brick Itself
For a more drastic color change, penetrating brick stain or exterior mortar wash re-hues your red brick without obscuring its natural appeal. Brick stain sinks into the material, bonding with the surface while allowing texture and character to show through. Mortar wash adheres to the exterior with a matte finish.
Properly prepare and test product samples before diving into the full project. Hiring a pro ensures proper application and coverage, especially on multi-story homes. The results lend rich, modern contrast to your home’s traditional bones.
Limewash for a Light Refresh
Splitting the difference between brick stain and mortar wash, limewashing offers a lighter coating that allows glimpses of the original brick peeking through. The effect is subtle and more temporary than staining, but provides flexibility in color options from pale pastels to bolder shades.
Limewash adheres to brick for a matte, blended finish that doesn’t fully obscure the texture. It can refresh worn areas and downplay imperfections. For red brick, limewashing in shades of white or cream brightens up the facade.
Paint Trim and Accents
Take the easy path to high impact with a fresh coat of paint on exterior railings, shutters, window trim and other decorative elements. Blacks, dark greys, deep greens and navy blue work wonderfully to modernize and provide contrast against traditional red brick.
A crisp, glossy finish allows trim and accents to stand out. Mixing paint finishes, like flat brick and high-gloss railings, adds appealing dimension. The bold pops of color lend a contemporary edge.
Complement the Brick with Natural Materials
Wood and metallic accents blend seamlessly with red brick’s inherent warmth while upping the modern appeal. Natural materials provide an organic balance to the man-made brickwork.
Incorporate Rustic Wood Accents
The rich patina of weathered wood adds texture and hominess. Accentuate the brick with horizontal beams or vertical board and batten siding. A modern pergola over the entryway makes a statement. Consider a wood feature wall with geometric patterns as a focal point.
Metallic Copper as an Industrial Touch
The eye-catching glint of copper injects a bold, contemporary edge. Use copper accents in gutters, downspouts, light fixtures and hardware. The metal’s natural patina over time adds character.
Copper’s rustic, rugged quality finds common ground with humble brickwork, while the metallic sheen and industrial vibe align with modern aesthetics. The striking contrast gives brick a refined, artful look.
Refresh the House Profile with New Architectural Details
Updating the overall outline and shape of your home frames the brick exterior in a fresh perspective. Extend the roofline or add a modern awning over the front entry to highlight the door. Stacked stone or cladding complement the brick while adding contrast.
Geometric patterns and angular shapes in new architectural details feel contemporary. Try a decorative brick border along the home’s profile as an eye-catching detail. The structural changes align traditional construction with modern design.
Embrace Greenery for a Soft, Modern Effect
Plants and greenery provide living contrast to the sturdy red brick exterior. Strategically placed trees or shrubs prevent the facade from feeling flat and stark. Go vertical with climbing vines or an elegant trellis covered in greenery.
Hanging flower pots, planter boxes and sleek rectangular gardens create pops of interest on porch columns. The natural elements soothe and balance the strong lines of the brick architecture.
Add Dimension with Geometric Shapes
Shapes like triangles, circles, squares and diamonds catch the eye when incorporated into exterior accents. Try a circular window, triangular raised garden bed or geometric stained glass door. Paint a diamond, square or zigzag pattern across patio decking.
Crisp lines and angles feel fresh and modern against the brick backdrop. Use restraint – simple, structured geometric patterns pack more punch than overdoing shapes.
Embrace Minimalism for Maximum Impact
Restraint allows the handsome red brick to take center stage. Opt for a stripped-down, minimalist look with clean lines, plenty of negative space and little ornamentation. Landscaping with a modern, minimalist ethos prevents clutter.
A sleek glass and steel entryway flows with the brick instead of fighting for attention. Let the inherent texture and character of the brick shine through by keeping decor simple and utilitarian.
Infuse Glass for Light, Transparency and Interest
Glass inserts, walls, panels, doors and windows reflect and refract light across the brick exterior in an intriguing interplay. Try a glass garden wall, front door with glass panes or transom window stretching horizontally for a contemporary look.
Installing glass bricks in a bathroom exterior wall or accent wall panels made of colored glass blocks create artistic flair. The transparency and reflectivity add airiness against the brick’s solidity.
Incorporate Metal for Sleek, Modern Contrast
Mixing metals like stainless steel, chrome, aluminum and galvanized tin with traditional red brick accentuates the blend of old and new. Try a modern metal roof or installing a corrugated metal awning over outdoor living spaces.
Wrought iron or black metal railings make a dramatic style statement on porch steps. A sleek metal front door and modern exterior sconces continue the motif. The cool, lustrous metal pops against humble brick.
Experiment with Color for Facade-Friendly Impact
A captivating color scheme still allows the allure of natural brick to take center stage. For low-commitment pops of color, paint the front door an unexpected hue like emerald green, sapphire blue or rich yellow ochre. Shutter and trim colors in bold blacks, navy or charcoal contrast beautifully.
Colored window glass, whether stained glass or tempered tinted glass, casts intriguing jewel tones onto the exterior. Paint or finish a wooden pergola structure in deeper shades of purple, green or indigo for added drama.
A red brick home holds classic appeal, but applying modern design principles can reveal its full potential. Respecting the existing architecture while incorporating creative updates allows your home’s best qualities to shine through.
With strategic color schemes, materials, accents and details, you can refresh your home’s facade without compromising its integral character and construction. Your revitalized red brick exterior will stop passersby in their tracks while remaining true to your home’s roots.
Does your red brick home need a modern, exterior revival? Our team brings extensive experience updating brick facades without erasing their inherent craftsmanship and charm. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!