Though brick fireplaces are often considered visually attractive, structurally sound, and durable, sometimes a brick fireplace can look outdated and drab in an upgraded room. However, this does not need to be the case. Without resurfacing or removing the brick from the fireplace, you can create a contemporary design just by applying a few coats of paint on the natural, original brick.
The colour you choose to paint your fireplace will decide how much emphasis is placed on the fireplace in the room. For example, if you just redesigned your room with light, soft colours, your fireplace will really stand out if it displays dark brick. To de-emphasise the fireplace, you could paint it the same colour as the walls. To make it stand out but also correlate with the colours in the room, you could paint it the colour of an accessory in the room, such as a window treatment or a couch. If the fireplace is only used as a decorative piece, you could even paint the inside of the firebox for an all-around contemporary style. If the fireplace is still used, however, just paint the surfaces on the outside of the fireplace.
To ensure that the end result looks good and lasts long, you need to have the correct supplies on hand. An article from the Trading Spaces website recommends first rubbing the brick with sandpaper to release any loose dirt, mortar, or paint, and then scrubbing the bricks with soap, water, and a stiff brush. Once the bricks are clean and dry, paint a primer onto the bricks, such as an interior latex primer that is suitable for brick surfaces. Then apply at least two coats of the paint, preferably an acrylic latex paint. Apply the paint with a roller, and have a paintbrush on hand for the deep crevices between the bricks. Allow plenty of time for the paint to completely dry.
Fireplace painting kits are available that include all the supplies you need to paint your fireplace. Kits are convenient because they allow you to obtain everything you need for the job in one purchase. Kits vary, depending on the company that you choose to purchase one from, but most kits include multiple shades of paint for you to choose from, a DVD or paper instructions that provide you with step-by-step instructions and tips, and a variety of rollers, sponges, brushes, and other painting tools you’ll need. Other kits might also include paint made especially for bricks, a base coat or sealer, a clear matt finish, and brick cleaner.
If you want your fireplace to portray a particular style or look other than a solid colour, there are ways to apply the paint differently. For example, the Trading Spaces article suggests creating a rustic, weathered look by mixing 1 part water with 2 parts semigloss latex paint. Apply a thick coat of the paint mixture on to the bricks with a roller, and then immediately use a sponge or clean rag to wipe off some of the paint. This process might need several coats before it reaches the desired shade. Matt or faux finishers are also available for you to apply over the paint and experiment with the style.