Wife says paint the fireplace white or off white!

kabirJuly 17, 2014

Will it look better? Brick gives it a kinda old look.Ivory can be a good contrast with hardwood flooring. Will definitely paint the fireplace trim to matt black instead of brass look.Appreciate any suggestions.

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I would sooner place a white painted mantle and surround and keep the brick. It's natural, maintenance free, and once you paint it it would be difficult to restore.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:00AM
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I would wait. Do some of the other decorative changes you have in mind, get your own furniture and art in place then live with it for a bit - a few weeks or so. You may find it's an element of warmth and a natural element that makes the space. I agree with houseofsticks - once you paint it's all but permanent so consider the implications well before you take that leap.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:54AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Never paint brick. Never.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Give the brick a good cleaning. That will make a world of different.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:03AM
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Here's a link to a pin board of inspiration photos of painted brick fireplaces ....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- painted brick fireplaces

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:08AM
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I think decorating the room and the fireplace and painting the walls a warmer color would make the room look better. The brick does look like it needs to be cleaned. I wouldn't paint it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:59AM
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I totally agree about NOT painting the brick! If it were in bad condition and horribly stained then, yes, paint it, but it seems like it's in good shape so I would just clean it, as other people have suggested, and have fun updating the mantle and metal trim. Also if you paint that wall an interesting accent color it will totally change the look of the fireplace.

Painting brick is an absolute last resort, in my opinion. It's also not easy to do and have it look good. Just clean it and update around it, you'll be happy you did :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:58AM
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Do not paint it. If this were a small brick fireplace in a cozy hearth side room and you were trying to pull off a shabby chic thing then I'd say yeah , go for it. But the design elements of this room (vaulted ceiling, open loft, contemporary stair rail...) would make painted brick seem utterly out of place. Leave as is.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:35AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I would hesitate to paint a brick fireplace because it would be very difficult to remove it at any point and you might end up with peeling paint down the road and a big job trying to sand and repaint. Just a problem waiting to happen.

But I can see why your wife wants to paint it. That's a LOT of brick in that room. And it definitely needs cleaning at the very least.

What about having a carpenter build a box around it from the ceiling down to the mantel and put in a larger more substantial mantel with a surround? And replace whatever that is around the opening.

Has to be another solution that would be easier and more long term than painting.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:51AM
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A lot of people see painted brick and think it looks great. But the brick itself has a lot to do with it. The brick in the photo would not look good painted. To me, the only good looking painted brick is the real old chipped, cracked brick with the edges broken, etc.

I'm not advocating painting that type of brick, it's just the only brick that looks decent when painted.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:27AM
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I personally love painted brick but you have too much of it to look attractive if painted. Paint that dated brass with a high heat black paint and maybe paint the mantle white or off white. That will change the whole tone of the brick.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:16AM
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I don't agree about "never" painting brick or wood. Maybe in an old craftsman bungalow or an historical home perhaps. But too many builders just make bad (or cheap) choices. We had a nondescript brick fireplace that was supposed to look retro in a newer home that looked out of place. We made a whole new facade to cover the brick and it made a huge difference in the room because it fit the style of the home much better. I love the painted fireplaces in the Pinterest link above--why live with ugly brick that dictates the whole room when you can paint with something more neutral that enhances your space instead?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:27AM
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The interesting thing is:

Brick walls: Oh, yes!
Brick fire place: Oh, no!

Paint the brass and maybe look into whitewashing if you still hate it.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:39AM
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For resale, do NOT paint. People prefer original details to someone else's interpretation of an "update". For your own personal enjoyment, try all other avenues first. If you paint it, you can't go back. It would be better to remove it and start over with some other cladding in most respects if a fireplace is to be used.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:48AM
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The brick provides a strong vertical accent ... maybe too strong for your wife's tastes. Right now, with no furniture or rugs or other visual weight on the bottom of the room, it looks HUGE.

But that's because the room is bare.

1 - Clean it thoroughly
2 - Paint the surround

3 - Add some weight to the bottom of the wall ...

Turn that sink thing 90-degrees
Build it into a whole-wall bookcase and/or storage unit that takes up the spaces on either side of the fireplace.

You have a natural division ... the red line along the bottom of the upper windows lines up with the landing for the staircase. (upper arrow) Below it is "room" and above it is "space" ...

With some weight and width at the bottom the fireplace will be less overwhelming.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:12AM
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I will offer a slightly different opinion. We are dealing the monstrosity in the attached photo. One spouse says "no! brick cannot be painted, touched, etc". The other ( me) says: The brick must go! . The issue is not yet settled but I plan to prevail by offering an option that involves re-facing with a lighter, more updated stone. If it suits YOU to paint/update, etc, do it! Sometimes the answer is, "the red brick needs to go!"

This post was edited by wethepeople on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 11:18

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:16AM
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I just did a fireplace makeover at our house. I just used Rustoleum High-Heat black spray paint on the gold fireplace cover and then added a white mantle. Made such a difference (see picture above). We kept the original stone to go with the era of the house. I think doing the same to your fireplace would give it a huge update without covering the beautiful brick!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:25AM
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I like the idea of adding built-ins, they would definitely help ground that brick and make the room more functional. Changing the mantle to something more substantial and also painting the brass will also help. I would only paint the brick as a last resort.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 12:30PM
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wethepeople ...

That fireplace is WAY too massive for those rooms, especially with the formal, delicate decor. If it were painted, it would still be the 800-pound gorilla in the room. But a painted gorilla.

I'd slim it down by removing the ledges, anchor it to the far wall by building bookcases, and frame in the sides a bit to reduce the amount of brick looming in the middle of the floor.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:37PM
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lazygardens: Agreed. I cant get the "other" ( who thinks it is great) to recognize the gorilla tendencies. We have contemplated the things you've suggested but have not yet agreed on the way ahead. BTW, the décor in the photo is belongs to the former owners. It is gone now.
I LOATHE that fireplace! *sigh*

This post was edited by wethepeople on Fri, Jul 18, 14 at 15:44

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:29PM
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Alexandra- I love your colors and the simplicity of the décor!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:42PM
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wethepeople, that fireplace is quite a different animal from OP's, and it's not just the color. Sorry :(

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:28PM
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