Should I paint my brick fireplace or apply a wash? 6 pros and cons!

Fireplace with a wash applied

Should I paint my brick fireplace or apply a wash? If you’re wondering whether to paint your brick fireplace, we’ll list a few pros and cons to help with the decision process. Every home is different, so every decision is unique. Here are some pros and cons to consider.

1) Pro-white paint can make a room feel brighter!
A white paint or glaze definitely makes a room feel lighter and brighter! A great example is below.
The mantle is still a dark stain, and the art really stands out next to solid white.

This client decided I will paint my fireplace

2) Disadvantage of a wash 
A thin coat often called a “wash”, is not full coverage. Some of the brick color will still bleed through, it can often have a slight reddish or pink cast.
Why? Because it’s somewhat transparent, so the reddish brick color will still show.

3) Advantage – painted brick can have a more contemporary clean feeling. 
If you don’t like the busy tones of red, brown charcoal, and concrete mortar, know that a solid paint
will be less busy.

4) Consider resale. 
Some people like painted brick, other people do not. If you only care about resale, perhaps it’s wise to think about that?

5) Your own preference!
If you want to love your room, it all boils down to what YOU prefer and which look you like the best!

6) Consider the surroundings.
See BELOW. the other walls (not shown in photo) were also brick. Therefore, a wash would’ve made the brick seem as if it didn’t blend well with the rest of the room.

After Before
Should I paint my fireplace? Decided not to paint my fireplace in this case.
‘Will I paint my brick fireplace?’ is certainly a personal choice. Some people like natural brick, while other people prefer painted brick. Above, we used art and candles to help “tie-in” the natural paprika color of the brick, because the homeowner chose not to paint it.
If you consider color tones when you do a wash instead of solid paint, and if you have thought about resale, and how the space flows with other walls, then those might provide your answer. Have fun with it!

About the Author


An interior designer in Greensboro, NC, Deborah features before and after transformations at

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