There are two kinds of people in this world: those who prefer brick fireplaces and those who don’t. Something can be done for people in either camp, even if they don’t care for the appearance of their existing fireplace.
Let’s say that you have a brick fireplace but you don’t like the way it looks. The first thing to do is to understand what exactly bothers you about it. Sometimes those answers aren’t immediately obvious, but getting the ball rolling, mulling over what you don’t like is a good place to start.
Why a Brick Fireplace Makeover?
It might hit you in the middle of the night that you wouldn’t mind the appearance of your brick if they were lighter in color. Or maybe it strikes you that there’s just too much brick showing to suit your taste and that the chimney above the mantel needs to be covered. Or perhaps it occurs to you that it’s not the brick, it’s the fact that the mortar is such a light color that it creates strong contrast with the brick.
It’s possible to color just the mortar to create a more sophisticated appearance. In fact, there’s always another adjustment that could be made. It may be that your fireplace has tell-tale soot on the front. You’ve tried to clean it off but it won’t come out. Above we talked about painting the mortar. An understanding of the color wheel can help a person to create a color to match the color of the unstained mortar.
As we’re talking about people who like brick fireplaces, we’ve touched on those who have a brick fireplace but don’t care for some aspect of its appearance. We’ve said that determining what in particular is irksome is the first step.
Options for Brick Fireplace Makeovers
The next logical step is to determine a plan for what to do about the problem(s) you define. Sometimes cleaning is the answer. Sometimes paint is the answer. Sometimes covering elements of the fireplace can be the answer. Sometimes plaster or cement may be the answer.
We’re not speaking here of ordinary construction materials. We’re talking about decorative plasters and carve-able cement. Decorative plasters are used extensively in Europe to great advantage. Some are polished to look similar to marble. Others are textured in any one of a great variety of ways, each with its own exquisite beauty.
Carve-able cement can be used to create the look of stone or tile or rustic wood or something even more outlandish. There are fireplaces out there that have been fashioned to look like sand castles or some other sort of sculpture. The point is that imagination is the only limitation. Ironically, carve-able cement is the same material that could be used for the homeowner who likes the look of brick, but whose fireplace is made of some other material.
Coloring Ideas for Brick Fireplaces
Let’s take the case of a brick fireplace that is the wrong color. Maybe the brick is too dark. There are just a few steps to rectify the problem. Brick is absorbent. That means that paint will adhere to it well. You might say that you don’t want it to look painted. Fine. Paint it to look like brick of a lighter color. How is this done? First, a color is selected which is lighter than the current brick. Choose a color that is even slightly lighter than you want the bricks to be. Make the bricks lighter so that you can add a hint of darker color over the first full coat.
The paint that you will use for accenting the individual bricks can be thinned. You can either apply it as a wash or apply it and immediately rub it off, leaving a faint residue or use a nearly dry brush to apply the paint. You need not fully cover each brick.
As a matter of fact, it would be good to use several slightly different colors to accent the bricks. You might color half of a particular brick with one color and use a different color on the other half. It’s this variation of color that helps make the bricks look natural. After you have painted each brick individually, come back with a round brush and paint the mortar some shade of gray.
Our goal in this article is to fuel your imagination when it comes to your brick fireplace makeover and to come up with ideas to alter the appearance of any fireplace you own that doesn’t please you. The changes you make might be small or large but in either case, they will rid you of unnecessary dissatisfaction.