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. Love the painted trim. This looks so much better. I probably would have kept the red brick myself but, I like what you’ve done and I have that same lantern. Nice

  2. Suzy, I am obsessed! I have never commented on a blog before, but I’m in love with your style, creativity, and amazing ability to transform. I found your blog while searching for fireplace decor, and your wood/iron gate is PERFECT! Sadly, I don’t have a Kirklands in my area and they will only ship to store. But I am thrilled to have discovered your site and subscribed. 🙂 Thanks for the beautiful ideas. I wish I could hire you to be my decorator!

  3. Hi Suzy, love love love what you did to this fireplace. I have plans to do something similar to mine. Just one question though. Did you use gloss or matte finish in the Rustoleum High Heat spray paint?

    1. Hi Diana. So glad you like my fireplace! The paint that I used was matte finish.

  4. I love your Reno fireplace. I didn’t rear realize that you got the gate at Kirklands . Everything looks so fresh and put together.

  5. The fireplace is beautiful. Love the whole room. Did you spray your trim white or use s brush? Looks like a lot of work. ?

    1. Hi Carol. It was a lot of work! Since we were painting the whole house at once and before we moved in, we hired painters. They used brushes to paint all of the wood trim and the brick on the fireplace.

      1. Thanks Suzy. Guess I’ll be hiring a painter. I have brown stained crown molding, and I can’t stand it. That’s all you see when you walk into my family room, is that ugh brown trim.

  6. Looks wonderful!! If I painted my brick fireplace my husband would think it was a crime!! lol!

    1. What is it about men. They are terrified about painting. Lol.

  7. Your fireplace turned out very nice!

  8. Your fireplace turned out great! Love what a little paint can do!

  9. It looks fantastic! I wish you could give me some ideas for our rustic fireplace. It is in a small windowless family room and it desperately needs some work – my hubby is up for anything EXCEPT painting the dark wood … and that’s why I’m stumped!!

    1. Hi Heather. Pinterest is my go-to resource for ideas when I’m stumped. You can search on just about anything, in case you didn’t already know that. 😀 Good luck with your fireplace!

  10. Ha, you sound like me…get almost done then stuff grinds to a halt while something sits waiting to be completed! 🙂
    I love the way your fireplace turned out. So much better. I’d love to paint the brick on ours – have been wanting to whitewash it but my husband just can’t envision it so he says no. At least, I got him to paint the metal part. It looks so much better!
    I’d love to do all sorts of things to that fireplace – ha! I’m very inspired by yours.

  11. This is some magnificent room. The light, the height of t he ceilings and the piece over the freple takes center stage.


  12. Carol Jones says:

    Just love your style. Beautiful Family room transformation.

  13. Peggy Anne says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous makeover! You saw the bare bones and turned the room into a real gem. I’m so inspired! Thank you for sharing where you shopped. I love the deep blue side table. Did you create that too? I’m subscribing to your blog. I reposted your pin onto two of my boards ~ Home Decor and Mantles. I noted that your article was “A MUST READ!” (I hope that was ok with you).

    1. Thank you, Peggy Anne! Yes, that little blue side table used to be olive green and was super ugly. I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Napoleonic Blue. Thank you for the pins!

  14. Could you please tell me the color of paint you used on your walls? It’s a perfect neutral color.

    1. Hi Patti. I apologize for the delay for responding to you! We were out of town and then my computer had to go into the shop for a few days. Anyway, the walls throughout our entire home are painted with Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige. I agree with you – it’s the perfect neutral color! 😀

      1. I see the paint color now!

        1. Great – glad you found it!

  15. Love love love your fireplace makeover. Can you please tell me what you used to paint the wood mantle on your fireplace? Thank you!?

  16. Hi Suzy. I love your Sherwin Williams Accesible Beige walls. What color did you paint the wood trim and base boards?
    Is it the same Sherwin Williams Extra White eggshell used for the fireplace brick and mantel?

    1. Hi Carol. Yes, all of the trim, baseboards, fireplace and fireplace surround are painted with Extra White. However, they’re painted with semi gloss, not eggshell. 😀

  17. It is astonishing how easy just the change of color can change this fireplace! Yeah, and the changing of the “inlet” as well. But most effect does the color! Great posting, great look right now, congratulations!

  18. Our fireplace brick was so ugly (orange, yellow, beige with black splotches – splotches that are there on purpose, and black grout) even my husband was anxious to paint it. Ours is now flat black. I was going to spray paint our brassy fireplace surround with high heat paint but the fireplace guy recommended powder coating. He said the spray paint would peel?!? Wish I had read this first, could have saved $200.

  19. Ours has held up well after 8 years. Bummer that you could have saved some money!

  20. I love how your fireplace turned out. You were fortunate to have a mantle and attractive brickwork to start with. When we moved into our home, the living room had a nine-foot-long red brick fireplace. The mantel was only 1 brick deep and it’s hard to do much with only 7″ to work with. The firebox was not centered. A few years ago I had a handyman add millwork. He built out the area around and over the fireplace. I now have 20″ wide side supports on either side of the fireplace opening and a 20″ deep mantel. He created a niche on the right side of the firebox by notching the mantel back to 12″. I had planned to leave the rest of the red brick however when the project was done I realized that the hearth had much wider grout lines than the face did. It looked way too rustic for all that white millwork. I ended up adding a beige “marble” tile so all the brick was covered. The firebox has old soot stains so I really need to follow your advice and spray the entire space black.

    1. Wow – what a project! Spraying the interior with black spray paint really cleans things up from a looks perspective.