diy white wash fireplace makeover

Transforming Whitewashed Brick Fireplace & Mantle Renovation

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*2021 Update- We sold our house! See what our current living room looks like now*

Now I know why everyone wants to redo their fireplace and why a whitewashed brick fireplace is such a big thing!

I didn’t hate my fireplace before, but I didn’t love it either.

When I was at Menards a while ago trying to find some supplies for a current project we were working on, I got sidetracked and found some chalk paint spray paint. I love spray paint and I hear so much about chalk paint, so I picked up a couple of bottles with the idea of re-doing my fireplace mantel in mind. And I picked up a pink one, for no reason other than I really like pink.

Let’s take it waaaayyyyy back to what it looked like right when we got the house:

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I guess now that I see this picture I should have been wanting to change the fireplace. ;P

But it didn’t look that bad after we fixed up the living room a bit a couple months later in the fall:

stained-plywood-subfloor-home (3 of 5)

Whitewashed Brick Fireplace

But it all started with the mantle. First I did the mature, responsible thing and covered anything that shouldn’t have paint on it.

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Then I used a white chalk spray paint and did a couple of coats.

I didn’t do any sanding either as the pro of chalk paint is that it’s not required. Plus this is not a high traffic area where it will get touched a lot…if ever!

whitewashed brick fireplace and mantle

Even though it claims to have a chalky finish, I didn’t think it looked “chalky” and I wasn’t a huge fan of the stark white.

whitewashed brick fireplace and mantle

So I took some brown gel stain and rubbed it on the mantle with a cloth. I didn’t have a big strategy in mind with this. I would rub some on, stand back, see if I liked it, and repeat. I loved using this gel stain!


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Ta-da! Look at that mantle!

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I liked that it went from stark white to more of an antique-y aged look.

So far so good. Time to get started on the fireplace!

I took some creamy white paint that I’ve used on other projects around the house and mixed the paint with equal parts water. Basically, I just mixed it until it looked good and liquid-y.

whitewashed brick fireplace and mantle

Tip: When whitewashing your fireplace, I found the best way is to paint it over the brick with a paintbrush, then blot it with a cloth. All the blogs I read said it took forever. I really didn’t think it took that long, maybe 1 hr 30min for the whole thing. But I also had to be somewhere, so that deadline could have helped.

Don’t just paint over the brick, because it won’t look as natural. Unless that’s what you’re going for…

But don’t just blot it either, unless you have 6,000 years to paint the fireplace. Unless that’s what you’re going for…

Overall, my technique worked for me.

Here it is!

whitewashed brick fireplace and mantle

What a difference! After painting it I didn’t realize how dark the room looked before. Since I have so many rich colors in this room I didn’t want it to always look like Christmas. Having it white gives it an all-around season appeal.

I’m still playing around with the mantle and seeing what decorations I like…maybe simple is better!

Let’s look at the before and after again

whitewashed brick fireplace and mantle

2021 Update- Even though we don’t live here anymore, I still love whitewashing. Well, limewashing that is! Check out how I transformed our brick exterior using whitewashing/limewashing.

Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.