Happy Monday! I’m coming at you today with a simple project, a get it done in a weekend project, a no tools required project, a cost-efficient, doesn’t break the budget but makes a big impact project. Don’t you love those?! Sometimes my favorite to share!
I’ve been project by project working through our basement remodel. First it was to take down the drop ceiling tiles and paint the exposed ceiling, then it was build a DIY murphy bed and built-ins in our basement guest room, create an office space, and then to paint the basement walls the most beautiful, sophisticated color throughout. Am I ready to get out of our basement for a bit? 100%. Do I love seeing all the results that these projects are adding up to be so I keep working through it? 100%!
When we moved into our home in 2017, our basement fireplace was a VERY deep red brick. The colors that really shone through were a mix of dark red, purple, and brown. It was most certainly the most cost-efficient brick at the time of our build because I so rarely see these colors in other homes with brick fireplaces. I wanted to liven up the space a bit so I did a white wash on the fireplace to just brighten things up and rid our space of those colors. It worked, but honestly, it was never our style. It was a temporary solution to something I just hadn’t figured out yet.
After years of sitting on a decision, staring at the space and determining what to make this basement into, I saw a much different look and have built on my vision ever since. And to achieve that vision, I needed to bust out the paint brush and get to work changing the look of our fireplace.
Today I’m sharing my very best advice and all the tools I used to accomplish a beautiful painted fireplace that has now quickly become the focal point of our basement.
Evergreen Framed Canvas Art // Gold Candle Sticks // Battery Operated Candles // Wall Sconces // Paintable Cord Hider // White Rug // Geometric Floor Rug // Dolly Parton Coffee Table Book // Hammered Coffee Table
All the Details on the Paint Needed
When it comes to painting your fireplace, I’ve got real good news. You can actually use a basic latex paint that you can purchase at any big box hardware store to make the most beautiful coverage! A personal favorite of mine is Valspar Signature paint, but Behr makes a great paint and primer in one that is extremely cost-efficient and is a quality product with awesome reviews!
If you’ve been around for any stint, you know I love Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel. It’s a self-leveling, quick drying (and quick curing) paint that creates a solid coat on some of your most used places. I’ve used this paint on my stair railings, my basement doors, and I used it again for my fireplace project.
A simple latex paint will do just fine on the front of your fireplace; however, I have a hearth that my kids will sit on, drive cars over, and just be kids on and I wanted something much more thick and resilient than basic interior wall paint.
I chose to paint my fireplace in Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black in a Satin sheen. A subtle shine to it that bounces off light and accentuates the brick. I don’t have much natural light in our basement beyond our sliding glass door so I needed just a bit of a sheen to help add to the darkness. A flat matte would look beautiful on a fireplace if you have adequate light in your space and don’t need the reflection to add to your natural light. Giving more of a sheen than satin would add TOO much reflection and I don’t recommend for a fireplace project.
What About the Paint Brush?
Brick has so many chips, dips, bumps, and pin holes that can really wreck havoc on your paint brushes. I typically am a tried and true die hard for the Wooster 1.5″ angled paint brush, but the brickwork will fray your bristles and make it a one time use. I’m not a fan of repurchasing paint brushes so this is an absolute not for me! Instead, I chose to use my wide chip brush to paint my fireplace. I don’t have a sick feeling as I rub the bristles around the mortar to get into every crack and crevice and have no issue throwing that out at the end.
My favorite way to purchase my chip brushes is through Amazon. They have this great 24 piece variety pack of chip brushes in all different sizes that you can purchase for just $11.99. I love to keep these on hand to touch up nicks in my paint on the walls or trimwork. I can reach for one, touch-up and throw away with no hard feelings.
I like to start at the very top of the fireplace and work my way down section by section. This allows for any paint drips to be caught as I work my way down, my messiest work, typically your first work, to be out of eye line, and a way to get the very hardest on the arms (painting above your head is a MAJOR shoulder workout!) out of the way first.
I dip my brush in the paint and then work left to right down the top mortar line for about 2 feet side to side and about three rows of bricks down. Then I paint the vertical mortar lines of this section, working to really get into all the cracks and fill in the lines completely. Finally, I take my brush and paint the face fronts of all the bricks in that section, smoothing out any of the paint that bubbled on the front as I painted the mortar.
I continue in this process across the top of the fireplace until I’ve painted the whole top. Then I move down and complete the next section down and continue working in sections left to right and then down again.
It’s important to let the fireplace dry after you’ve done this coat and sit in multiple positions around the fireplace to catch any of the pieces you may have missed. When I painted mine, I sat on the sectional in front of it and noticed the I had missed multiple spots underneath the brick that I needed to go touch up. Take the time to really inspect your work as this is a much more intricate paint job than just painting an interior wall.
If you have pin holes within your brick, which is extremely common, you may need to use a tiny artist brush (think ones that come in the kids paint kits) to fit inside those holes and get the coverage necessary. I only had a few that my chip brush couldn’t cover.
Painting the Inside of the Fireplace or Insert
We do not run our fireplaces in our home currently. I think if we would want to start, we would have some repairs necessary in our chimney to get it going. At this time, we’ve never had a desire so we’ve just put off the work. However, if you have a working fireplace, you will want to switch to high heat paint when working with painting the gas fireplace insert or painting the inside. These paints can withstand heats up to 1,000 degrees so they make the very best option.
I used a simple roller and paint brush to paint the gas insert in the event we ever decide to get this in working order. A big key for me was to ensure I covered the remainder of the fireplace with painters tape and sheeting because this type of paint cannot be tinted. Although they are both black, we all know that all blacks are not the same. I didn’t want any brush strokes from me painting the insert to get on the brick and ruin the beautiful Tricorn Black I used.
Our fireplace went from dingy and dark to bright and white washed to the sophisticated standout that it is today. I love how it’s a standout piece that shines with its deep, bold color. An unexpected shine that has quickly become the centerpiece of our home!