decorating around exposed brick

maggiecolaJuly 7, 2006

I have an exposed brick wall in my living room. It's a red/orange brick color. I can't figure out what colors would look good for my walls.

I'm starting from scratch--all new furniture, area rug, and curtains. So all I have to worry about this red/orange brick when making choices.

Does anyone have an idea? Painting the brick is out of the question. Hubby likes the brick. The brick is.

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Find a paint company or manufacturer that has large "swatches" or samples of their colors (the swatches are pre-colored - the samples you paint yourself on large pieces of tag or poster board.

Pick out several that are your favorites just color-wise and look at them in the room with the brick. Be sure to look at them at different times of the day and at night, as the shading and color-relationships seem to change as the light changes.

Even if you don't use that brand of paint (some of the ones with large samples are expensive and not worth the extra cost), you will have a better idea of the colors you want to look for.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 7:02AM
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i googled 'exposed brick' just to see what colours other people had used. i saw this yellow used a few times with rooms with brick walls or just exposed brick, but otherwise saw a lot of grays and white/ off white.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 7:34AM
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Do you have a picture of the brick you could post? That might help narrow down your color choices.

Orangey/bricky colors are actually very hot right now, being shown with camel and brown tones (lots of fabrics available to coordinate, too). Maybe a good camel color? You could use either browns and rusts, or blues and rusts, as accent colors.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 10:44AM
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I *love* the look of exposed brick!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 10:45AM
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Exposed brick 'au natural' is absolutely beautiful. When you find the right color, it will be the focal point of your room. Yes, yes! Post pics of the brick and we can all chime in with our suggestions. Without seeing it, I would choose the palette that southernheart suggested...camels, browns, and even a deep red/port/burgundy would look gorgeous together. A deep smokey blue as an accent would definitely add some unexpected zing.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 9:45AM
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The first question to ask yourself is whether you want the brick to stand out as an accent or whether you want it to blend in with the wall color. I think brick is pretty earthy and that any color can work with it if you find the right shade so it's more a matter of the look that YOU want for it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 1:29PM
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You guys are the greatest! I'm so glad to have gotten responses!

I'm not sure if I want it to blend in or be a vocal point. I'm tormented by the fact that there's going to be shelving on one or both sides. I'm afraid it's going to get 'busy' looking. But I've been WAITING forever for this bultin shelving. As you know, having a small house means desperately trying to find places to store things. I've got boxes of books, vases and all sorts of things in my attic I'd love to bring down and display.

I'll get a picture of the brick within the next few days. I need to charge up the camcorder but this might be a good reason to buy the digital camera I've been wanting!!!!!

Right now I have a light yellow on the walls but I'm not liking it because it's too light/bright/cheerful for the brick, if that makes sense.

I was thinking of a camel color for the overall area and making my stairwell a spiced pumpkin color because about 7 feet of the stairwell wall comes down and is visible from the living room, adjacent/opposite to the brick wall on the far side of the room. I figured that way I could have a little balance by having a brief explosion of a similar color on the other side of the room. The only problem is that this 'accent wall' is the opening to the big eat in kitchen. So all of this would mean that I'd need to pick a color for my kitchen that would look good framed by a spiced pumpkin color when looking at the kitchen from the living room.

To help visualize: Just imagine that my 1st floor has two big rooms (with high ceilings) and the stairwell divides the rooms and house in half. One room is the living room, the other room is the soon-to-be eatin kitchen. Each room is about 20' by 16'. It's a 100 year old farm house. It was gutted and all the walls redone so there's a big 6 foot opening between the living room and the kitchen.

Keep your eyes out for my posting the picture in a few days. Just keep in mind that I've been living under construction for what seems to be an endless number of years. It's FINALLY almost done! The only thing left to do is install the hardwood floors, the treds on the bottom 4 stairs and the stair railings/banisters. Then of course, painting, decorating and buying new funiture---the part I've been waiting for!

The kitchen is a hideous light blue/green right now. Just ignore that when you look at the pictures. LOL

Thanks everyone!

btw, when I have the pictures, how do I post them in the thread?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 5:23PM
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maggiecola, read the thread about posting pictures. It has good instructions about each step.

Photobucket dot com is really easy to use; I have had several different photo accounts and like that one best.

I can't wait to see your pics! :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2006 at 6:31PM
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I love exposed brick. How lucky can you get. I saw something on hgtv were they lightened a brick wall with a bit of glaze and off white paint. They did a dry brush technique sorta here and there and it made the wall pop. Absolutely gorgeous.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 9:15AM
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I thought I loved exposed brick, too. Our brick fireplace however, is dark brown with accents in black. Blah! The family room has only one window - it is a sliding glass door on the same wall as the brick, so the brick gets very little light to brighten it. The family room is fully open to the eat-in kitchen, and the kitchen has only one window, too. Surprisingly, the rooms don't feel too dark, just over by the firplace. What I hate is that the whole wall (after the sliding glass door) is solid brick, and a 16" high ledge of a hearth is the entire length of the brick wall, too. Don'tcha just love the '70's?

I solved some of my difficulty by getting a huge mirror for over the mantle. The paint on brick idea just does not appeal to me, it looks....painted! I dream of having the $ to cover it in another stone, if the floors could take the weight.

Maggiecola, I am looking forward to seeing your red/orange brick wall. I think it will have more character than mine, but will have just as many decorating headaches. I went with golds and greens in my room, with my one burgundy recliner being the only piece that looks like it needs to go. At least brown goes with everything! You may find that gold is a good accent color for you, too.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 3:24PM
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My sister has a huge wall of red orange brick. She did have a carmel color on the wall but everything was so dark (she has a shotgun home and very few windows except on either end). So last summer she painted the walls cream. It looks lovely and brightened things up a lot!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 4:55PM
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I didn't see you mention your preffered type of decorating, but here's a pic showing a before and after look.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:18AM
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my suggestion..go grab those color paint sample chips that have three or four colors that co ordinate on one chip together...complimentary colors..find one that comes close to the red..then use the other colors on that swatch. I did this once and after years of fighting a color I could not change. I was finally happy with the result..try it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 9:32AM
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I have exposed brick in my family room and I have finally found a color that I love with it (I had tried navy blue - horrid! and a golden yellow - too blah) - it's a light almost sage green. It's fresh against the brick and it makes the brick stand out in a good way. I love it! I will look around for a picture of it.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 8:30PM
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I gotta tell you, Brick Interior is very underrated. More flexibility than people think. My wife posted \some awesome ideas & pics here, including our office:

Here is a link that might be useful: Brick Ideas

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 3:32PM
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There are also brick stains. Someone on the dec. forum did this and the results were beautiful.

Will, enjoyed the blog and beautiful photos.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:03AM
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