To Paint or Not to Paint? A Fireplace’s Tale

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When it comes to painting a brick fireplace, you’re either a lover or a hater. While some adore the thought of modernizing a space with a fresh coat of color, others see it as stripping the home of its character and story. Before you break out the drop cloth, here are five things to consider.

1.  Does it clash with the rest of the house?
If you own an original Victorian home, a Scandinavian, matte-black hearth may not exactly blend well with the surroundings. I’m all about making statements, but be sure this update will complement the atmosphere, not distract from it.

2. Are you planning on selling soon?
Always consider a) your neighborhood and b) your potential customer. Take a peek at the homes for sale in your neighborhood to get an idea what they’re doing—this is your competition. Think about your typical customer; if the buyers in your area are, for instance, retirees (e.g. an older generation), trendy or modern styles may not be as greatly appreciated. Remember, if you’re selling, you aren’t styling this home for you!

3. Is your hearth in good condition?
If not properly prepped (repaired, properly grouted, cleaned, etc.), sometimes painting brick can actually accentuate its defects. Be sure to fill all holes, cracks and defects before beginning.

4. Do you have the right paint?
Choosing the correct paint is also important. You’ll want to make sure to use paint that is made for masonry and is safe around higher temperatures. I recommend a good “block primer” as well for the base coat.

5. Remember, it’s hard to turn back time!
Painting over decades of history and warmth can take just a few hours, but trying to restore that original charm if you change your mind can be painstakingly difficult—if not impossible! I’m not saying don’t do it, but just take your time and make sure it’s the right decision.

Here are some of our fireplace updates. The first one needed some serious help, maybe even an exorcism. Since we completely altered the rest of the home with a contemporary update, we were able to get away with making such a bold statement in the living room.

Before

After

The second house had old, pink tile (12X12) previously on the fireplace. Uh, buh-bye… We quickly replaced it with a brick mosaic, and painted it matte white. We designed this home to be more minimal with Scandinavian elements, so we didn’t get too crazy.

Downstairs: Before

Upstairs: Before

Downstairs: During

Downstairs: After

Upstairs: After

Although I’ve mentioned some red flags to consider, I definitely don’t want to kill your vibe. Remember that this is YOUR abode and if a hot pink hearth gives you all the feels than by all means, pink it up!

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Blank Slate Renovations is a Dallas-based home renovation and design company owned and run by Hannah Wilson and husband, Chayce. When she's not designing spaces, consulting with clients or running their social media platforms, you can find Hannah at school (once again) studying architecture. Her love for Midcentury Modern design mixed with Scandinavian/Boho vibes leads her to incorporate lots of texture, organic materials and natural lighting into their projects. Outside of work, she loves running, biking, hiking—anything active outdoors—and traveling (fun fact: about five years ago, her and Chayce lived in England for a year, exploring 14 different countries and making lifelong friends and memories!).