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DIY Red Brick Fireplace Makeover Ideas

Do you have an old brick fireplace in your living room? The good news is our DIY friends have updated fireplaces over the years and are all still loving their makeovers. Gain DIY inspiration with these 13 awesome red brick fireplace makeovers.

5 different images of DIY fireplace makeovers.

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While we know that painting brick can be controversial, it really can give your room a fresh look. You just want to be committed to the process because it is really hard to unpaint something.

How Do You Modernize Red Brick?

There are several different ways and ideas you can use to help makeover your brick. Here are a few brick fireplace ideas and real-life DIY examples below.

  • German Schmear-traditionally uses thick mortar to “schmear” all over your brick.
  • Faux German Schmear-there are two awesome makeovers in this list. One uses paint to simply create this farmhouse style and the other uses paint and a sander for a chippy brick look.
  • Whitewash-This technique is generally done with diluting paint. We found that diluting masonry paint worked really well and adhered to the brick. Find a whitewash solution or dilution that works for your fireplace.
  • Limewash-will give you an old chalk feel and is made by mixing limestone with water. Limewashes are good for porous surfaces such as brick and now are available for easier use. The National Park Service shares its history here.
  • Paint-have fun with color to fit your home decor style. There are different ideas no matter what look you are going for.
  • Painting Kits such as Brick Anew
  • Change Your Surroundings-adding white walls instead of painting the fireplace brick, add DIY shelves, a simple hearth or mantel makeover may be all you need to make your fireplace feel new.
  • Add New Accessories
  • Paint Your Fireplace Cover With Heat Resistant Paint
  • Cover With Tile or Stone-you could use real stone or Airstone for a modern touch.

What do all of these fireplace makeovers have in common?

They are happy with the outcome (even if they had a few bumps along the way). In a lot of our DIY friend’s posts, they state they wish they would have done this sooner. We definitely agree on this, too. We know it is hard to take a chance when painting wood or brick!

Red Brick Fireplace Makeovers

From faux German schmear to working with your existing brick here are awesome DIY fireplace makeovers to inspire your next DIY project.

Whitewashing Makeover Ideas

If you still love the look of brick but want a brighter space this technique may be for you. You can leave as much brick showing through as you would like. Test different dilutions out and see what you like best.

German Schmear Makeovers

Create a real or faux German schmear look with these fireplace makeover ideas.

Paint That Brick

You don't always have to paint brick white for a fresh new look, but here are a few awesome examples of how you can create a modern style by simply using paint.

Change The Surroundings

Yes, you can still paint the brick, but simply adding new decor, changing your mantel or hearth can be all you need for an updated look.

Do you need help deciding what color of paint to use?

We recently just tried Samplize and it totally beats having to buy individual paint samples. These 9″ x 14.75″ samples will get shipped directly to you and save the hassle of clean-up (we loved that). Use code “FIRSTFIVE” to get $5 off your first purchase.

See our review to also get answers to frequently asked Samplize questions.

Common Fireplace Makeover FAQs

Are red brick fireplaces outdated?

Everyone has their own style and if you like it keep it. However, red brick fireplaces became popular in the 1970s. If you like the idea of the brick but what to lighten it, consider changing the brick color by doing a whitewashing technique or German schmear.

How to modernize a fireplace on a budget?

Adding new home decor items such as a large modern painting, fireplace mantel and new accessories can make a huge difference. If that doesn’t work, paint is your next cheapest option to modernize your fireplace. Consider whitewashing, painting or doing a faux German schmear to modernize your living room.

How do you prep a brick fireplace for painting or whitewashing?

No matter what paint technique you are using, thorough cleaning and prep are important. Use a small wire brush to knock loose dirt, clean with a shop vac, wipe down with a cleaning solution and let dry. Make sure you tape and cover all areas you do not want to get paint on.

What is a common mistake with red brick makeovers?

A lot of people will try whitewashing their red brick fireplace to only find that it leaves their brick looking pink. We recommend using masonry paint that has a primer built-in so that doesn’t happen.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

Related Round-Up Posts

Whether you keep the red brick or completely cover it up, pick a DIY solution that you love for your fireplace makeover.

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Debra Taylor

Sunday 22nd of January 2023

Your DIYs look Amazing, I need help! Im in my 60s with limited budget want to do minor upgrades to sell. Currently living in a 1980's condo. The layout of these older spaces are great! Kitchen has the long woodgrain veneer kitchen cabinets (back in style)only need?some type of black hardware, have stainless&black appliances, stainless sink & putting micro above stove. ????? What to do with yellow countertops in both kitchen & Bath!!! Wanted to do the Schmere fireplace, but with paint? Then a neutral paint throughout. Don't want it to look like a Grandma's Condo! ????? Bath vanity is very low, can it just be raised with 2x4's, maybe secret hidden drawer kicks that open??? Any suggestions


Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Hi Debra. I know what it is like to need to update a space on a budget. We agree that paint is probably the cheapest way to update a space. As far as the low counter in the bathroom, I may consider just buying a new one if you are going to be doing some sort of demo or construction. For your yellow countertops, this week I actually am going to post about how I just painted a blue laminate counter to look like marble (hopefully I can get the final clear coat on and final pictures done by tomorrow). If you sign-up for our email list, it (and any new DIYs) will get sent out to you on Thursdays. Good luck with your DIY projects!

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