Red Brick Fireplace Makeover Before And After

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I will show you how to give a very dated red brick fireplace with an oak surround a more updated look.

Maybe you remember seeing a tiny snippet of our painted fireplace when I shared how I put together a corner of our family room a couple of months ago.  The fireplace was waiting for me to complete one more portion of the makeover and finally, at long last, it’s ready for its reveal!

But – I have to show you the before picture first because the difference is nothing short of amazing! You’ll have to excuse the photo quality. I was snapping these pictures on the run.

Traditional red brick fireplace with oak surround.Pin

This is how the fireplace looked on the day that we looked at the house. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just much darker and had a more traditional look than I was after.

It was hard for me to be patient during the remodel of the house because I knew how amazing  the fireplace was going to look  once it received its makeover!

The red brick fireplace during the house remodel.Pin

And this is how the dated fireplace looked once we gave the brick a couple of coats of airy white paint and painted the brass doors enclosure with high temp black spray paint! (Scroll down to see how I’ve updated it since this post was originally written.)

White painted brick fireplace flanked by french doors and arm chairs.Pin

I toyed with the idea of white washing the brick instead of painting it solid white, but because our brick had so much red in it, it came across as pink’ish. Not a look I wanted at all.

We didn’t use any type of special paint on the brick – it’s just Sherwin Williams Extra White interior latex paint in semi gloss.

The panted white fireplace with a large green wreath above it.Pin

This is what greets you when you enter our home through the front door and then come on through the foyer.  Not only did we paint the fireplace – we got rid of the rest of the brown trim in the room by painting it with the same white paint.

Because of the tall ceiling in this room, I needed something large to hang on the wall above the fireplace to create visual interest.  This architectural piece from Kirkland’s (no longer available) is exactly what I envisioned.  It already had a slightly distressed finish, but it wasn’t quite the color that I wanted, so I dry brushed some gray and white paint all over it and wiped some of the paint off while it was still wet.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.

The fireplace mantel with a grapevine wreath above it.Pin

The beautiful wreath was made by attaching three faux greenery garlands to a grapevine wreath and is attached to the “gate” with floral wire.  I’m looking forward to changing it out with the holidays and seasons.  This look will carry me straight through the rest of the summer.

Because of the overall size of the room, the mantel and hearth called for large decorative pieces too.  The lantern and large white urn came from HomeGoods, the metal orb came from Target and the large H is just a cardboard letter from Hobby Lobby.  I didn’t bother to paint it as I like the color of it just as it is.

Down on the hearth, I kept it simple with a ginormous spikey ball from West Elm and a blue urn and basket from HomeGoods.  Add a starfish to the display and you have instant summer!

The lower mantel with a spiky ball, blue potted fern plant, wicker basket and a starfish.Pin

You can’t really tell it in these photos, but we painted the inside of the fireplace black too – using high temp paint, of course.  It’s makes such a huge difference!

There is a soft blue table beside the fireplace in the living room.Pin

This is the view walking into the family room from the kitchen.  In case you’re wondering what that is hanging on the door frame above the chair, it’s a pair of curtains that I think I’m going to use in here.  Check out my budget friendly window treatment solution HERE.

Two armchairs flank the fireplace with throw pillows on them.Pin

There is a small dog asleep on an armchair by the fireplace.Pin

I’m really, really happy with how the fireplace makeover turned out and I’m really, really happy that I have one more project crossed off of my list!

UPDATE: I wrote this post in 2015 and and wanted to let you know that the paint on the brick has held up fantastically!

I regularly run a vacuum cleaner over the hearth and wipe it with a damp cloth as needed and we haven’t had any chips at all.

The high temp black paint on the brass surround does have a couple of chips that need touching up though. I may just trying using a black magic marker to see if that will work instead of dismantling the whole thing to take it outside to spray paint.

A stand up lamp is beside the armchair.Pin

You can see that I was ready for change and replaced the arched wood and metal piece with an art canvas that I plopped into a frame that I already owned.

I have a love/very-strong-don’t-like relationship with the triangular shaped windows that are up near the ceiling.  I love the light that they let into the room, but I don’t like the shape of them.

There is a forest watercolour picture above the fireplace beside the candle sticks.Pin

graphic that says pin it

Amazing transformation of a dated red brick and oak wood surround fireplacePin

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  1. Very pretty and fresh, and your styling of the space is lovely! Painting the fireplace a contrasting white and black made such an impact! Loving that gate above the mantel!

    1. Thank you, Rhonda! So glad you like it.

    1. I’m the same way, Pat. I never get tired of seeing what you can do with some paint!

  2. Hi! Could you please tell me what paint (brand/color) you used on your fireplace? Do you have a tutorial?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Dawn. I used Sherwin Williams Pro Mar 200 formula in Extra White, eggshell finish. I don’t have a tutorial, but it was simply rolled on with a roller meant for rough surfaces. It took two coats and a paint brush was used to get into the crevices that roller missed. Hope this helps!

      1. What a lovely transformation! You are a genius decorator!
        I need a white paint for our trim. Everything I have sampled is too gray or too green. Your Sherwin Williams Extra White may just be the answer! The whites I have used before from Olympic have all been discontinued. That is so frustrating when that happens. I love your Home Goods Teal jug. Wish I had found one like that! 🙂

  3. I’m a lover of wood, but I have to say, I did not like all the wood in your Family Room. It looked so busy and incohesive. I love everything you did; although I don’t you don’t need my approval since you did it for you. LOL It now looks so much warmer and more inviting. Some great ideas…thanks for sharing.

  4. Beautiful transformation. The fireplace looks lovely and the entire room is just gorgeous. So many great details! Thanks for sharing on Snickerdoodle Sunday.

  5. Love the fireplace. You did a fantastic job decorating it and making it a beautiful focal point in your family room. The painted trim and fireplace blend nicely together now too.

  6. Forgot to ask, did you get a new fireplace insert or did you paint the brass one? I currently have a brass one and would love to update it.

    1. Hi Susan. This is the original brass fireplace door insert. I painted it black with Rustoleum High Temperature spray paint. I was amazed at how easy it was!

      1. Thank you Suzy! I’m going to look for the high temperature spray paint! Bye bye brass!

  7. Hi Suzy,
    Your fireplace looks spectacular………………….and love the way you acessorized it as well.
    I am trying to talk my hubby into painting ours white……………….was wondering what type of paint
    you used for the brick, and did you have to prep it in anyway??
    Know you must be enjoying that nice bright and cheery look, very pretty!!

    Blessings, Nellie

    1. Hi Nellie. So glad that you like my fireplace! The only thing that I did to prep the fireplace before painting was to give the brick a good dusting with a stiff brush. And the paint is just regular ole latex paint from Sherwin Williams in Extra White, eggshell finish. Good luck painting yours!

  8. What a beautiful space! I love how you’ve decorated, and the fireplace is gorgeous!

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer!

  9. Could you explain what you meant by dry brushed the Kirkland’s piece? Also, do you know what colors you used for that?

    1. Hi Cristin. When I received the Kirkland’s piece, it was sort of a slightly yellowed cream color with distressed places already in the finish. I dry brushed it with some gray and some white latex paint that I already had on hand. I don’t know the exact colors, but it really doesn’t matter. Any gray or white paint that you like will work just fine. If what you’re painting will remain indoors, you could even use small bottles of craft paint. What I mean by dry brushing, is just barely dipping the bristles of a paint brush into the paint, wiping and rubbing most of it off on a paper towel or rag and then brushing the paint onto the piece. I use a very light touch when brushing it on. In some places, I wiped the paint while it was still wet to give help it blend in better. If you’ve never tried this technique before, I recommend you give a try on a piece of scrap wood before painting the actual piece.

      1. Love this look and want to replicate it. I found the gate at Kirkland but they only have it in teal. Do you think the dry painting with a light color will work? I am not very crafty so a little nervous. But really want to replicate the look.

        1. Hi Marjorie. If you don’t want any of the teal showing through at all, then dry brush painting may not be the best answer. Since you’re wiping so much paint off of the brush before you start to paint, this technique doesn’t give complete coverage. It would still be pretty with some of the teal showing through, if you like that color. If you totally want to cover all of the teal, then you probably want to just paint the whole thing without using the dry brush method of wiping paint off of the brush. Make sense? It’ll be a little tedious to paint all around the metal pieces, so do it when you’re in a patient mood. 😀

  10. Really love the transformation. What wall Colo did you use…its a very nice warm neutral

    1. Hi Lorian. The wall color is Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige. Glad you like the fireplace makeover!

      1. Thank you! Love your ideas and color selection!

  11. Wow painting all that wood trim white must’ve been some chore!! But obviously well worth the effort !! It’s fab!!

    1. Thank you so much, Amy!

  12. I love the look. I have been wanting to update our family room by painting the bricks white. This motivates me to do it! Where did you find the giant H? I have been looking for one.

    1. Hi Barb. So glad you like my fireplace makeover! I found the giant H at a home decor store, but I’ve seen them at various craft stores. It’s made out of cardboard.

  13. i’ve been looking for one of those arched shutters and having no luck in this area. Is it something new or old you used?

  14. Where did you get the three faux greenery garlands and grapevine wreath? Do you have any pictures of how you changed it out for the holiday season?

    1. The faux greenery garlands are from Hobby Lobby, but I’ve seen similar ones at Michaels. Each one is 6′ long and is attached to the wreath using green floral wire. Hobby Lobby also sells grapevine wreaths. I think the one that I used here is a 24″ one. The wreath is hanging from a screw that I added up closer to the top – right below where the top of the grapevine wreath is hanging. To change it out for the holidays and seasons, I lift the wreath off of the screw and hang a new one in it’s place. Sorry, but I don’t have any pictures of that process. If you take a look at the post about my Christmas mantel and zoom in on one of the photos, you may be able to tell that there’s piece of twine that the wreath is hanging from. The link to that post is: . Hope this helps!

  15. Hello
    Your fireplace and room are simply amazing!!!
    What color did you use to paint your walls!!! LOVE THEM!!
    Please let me know as soon as possible!!!
    thanks 🙂

    1. found the color thanks anyways 🙂

    2. Hi Suzy, I love your room! You did a wonderful job! On the hearth of the fireplace, can you tell me how long the ginormous spikes ball is? West Elm does not have the large available however Potterybarn has one that is 14″.

      1. Hi Michele. So glad you like my fireplace makeover! That ginormous spike ball is 14″.