Home Remodel,  Paint Projects

How to Whitewash Your Outdated Fireplace

When we decided to do our main level renovation on our Fixer Upper, there were a lot of areas that we knew we could do ourselves…and other areas that we weren’t going to touch with a ten foot pole.  Take down walls?  You do you contractor!  Rip up old white kitchen tile?  You go Glen Coco!  Renovate our fireplace?  We’ve got this!

Our fireplace was a deep red brick with an oak mantle, chunky storage, and way too many thin shelves.  All complete opposites of the look I am going for with this space.  After Jerod was able to demo the big storage cabinets and all the shelving (and our painter primed and painted our mantle white to match the trim), I set out to change the look of the brick.

On a Monday (yeah, I said it.), I put the kids down for their afternoon nap, gathered supplies and went to work.  No joke, within 30 minutes I had the entire space completed and was working on the clean up.  In thirty minutes I was able to brighten and warm the space and completely transform the look.  Too easy to NOT try!

Just look at the difference between the top and bottom! One screams 1980s and the other screams Pottery Barn…at least I’ll pretend. 🙂

What You’ll Need:

Container to mix – I used an old large Tupperware container

White paint – I used leftover a flat latex white 


Paint brush with strong bristles

Old towels

Here’s How!

Get all dust and dirt off the fireplace prior to starting with a broom and/or an old towel.  Too much dust can create unsightly bumps on the surface.  You want the surface to look whitewashed, not bumpy, so take the time to clean the surface first.

In your container, mix:

    One part paint to three parts water for light coverage

    Mix one part paint to two parts water for more moderate coverage. 

I used the light coverage formula as I wanted it to go on lighter with the ability to put more in areas, as desired.  Remember, you can add more later but you can’t take away.

The mixture will be very watery which will allow for more brick to show through when applied.

Start in one corner of the fireplace and work in very small sections.  I found it easiest to begin in the top left corner and work in 1′ x 1′ sections.  After finishing the first 1’x1′ area, I moved down to the next square foot section be sure any drips could be correctly immediately before they dried.

With your paint brush in one hand and your towel in the other, brush and tap your paint brush onto the brick and mortar.  Immediately pat and rub excess paint off with your rag.  Apply a second coat of paint over areas you want more coverage.  Dab and pat your rag on areas you want less coverage.

Continue this process moving down vertically in 1′ x 1′ sections of your fireplace.

Be chaotic and creative and don’t overthink the process!  It comes together so easily and beautifully and is such a simple DIY project that can be done by ANY skill level.  Trust yourself and have fun!


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