32 Ways to Refresh a Brick Fireplace

red brick fireplace
The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

A brick fireplace is one of those cozy home features many folks covet. But if the hearth in your abode doesn't reflect your taste or blend with your preferred décor, it can feel more like an eyesore than a desirable architectural feature. 

Luckily, with a little creative thinking, a fire surround can become a dazzling focal point—not to mention grammable. Whether you're looking to unlock your existing brickwork's stylish potential or are contemplating a brick fireplace makeover, the following examples will get you inspired.

  • 01 of 29

    Embrace Exposed Brick

    one bedroom apartment brick fireplace
    Facet 14

    In this one-bedroom apartment decorated by Facet 14, an exposed brick fireplace and wall combo bring on the cozy. Furniture and decorative accessories in vibrant colors look stunning next to unpainted brick. Here. the two blue velvet chairs and pink wall art enliven the space.

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  • 02 of 29

    Give it a German Smear

    german smear fireplace
    Nelly Friedel/Instagram

    If you love the look of time-worn brick reminiscent of centuries-old European homes, consider giving your fireplace the German smear treatment. It's a faux antiquing technique that uses wet mortar to give brickwork a big dose of Old World charm.

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  • 03 of 29

    Blue Brick Fireplace

    blue brick fireplace
    The Suburb Experiment

    Fake the look of Staffordshire blue brick with an ingenious idea from The Suburb Experiment. Paint a red brick fireplace a deep shade of matte blue. When the first coat of paint dries, apply a color wash and then quickly wipe it off with a clean, dry towel. To make the wash mixture, mix one part blue paint and one part white paint with four parts of water.

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  • 04 of 29

    Refresh With a New Mantel

    traditional brick fireplace classic white mantel
    Andrew Flesher Interiors

    You don't have to paint your existing brickwork to brighten things up. In this traditional living room styled by Andrew Flesher Interiors, a white, full-surround fireplace mantel updates an old brick fireplace.

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  • 05 of 29

    Paint It Black

    glossy black fireplace huge accent mirror
    Lynn Kleondias

    Black paint transformed the nonworking fireplace in this Victorian home, remodeled by Lynn Kleonidas, into a showstopping feature. To make the most of the living room's dramatic high ceilings, the mantel is topped off with a ginormous gold framed mirror.

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  • 06 of 29

    Perfect Color Combination

    blue walls white brick fireplace
    A. Jennison Interiors

    Some combinations are perfection, like peanut butter and jelly or, in the case of cozy this living room, blue and white paint. In this New York City residence decorated by Alison Jennison Interiors, a painted fireplace pops against navy blue walls. A framed print and a snake plant sprinkle on additional colors.

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  • 07 of 29

    Add Eye-Catching Tile

    yellow herringbone tile fireplace
    Studio McGee

    Add a little pizazz to a white-painted fireplace with a colorful back panel. This lovely example spotted on Studio McGee features a chic herringbone pattern in yellow tile.

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  • 08 of 29

    Enhance Vintage Details

    green brick fireplace
    Open Door Architecture

    When updating this 1920s bungalow, Sean and Sara Martin from Open Door Architecture painted the brick fireplace and mantel wall a greenish shade of gray. The wood trim and beige walls add depth and contrast to the room.

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  • 09 of 29

    Lime Wash Finish

    lime washed brick fireplace
    Blesser House

    Refresh your sooty brickwork with limestone. After scrubbing her ​fireplace clean, Lauren at Blesser House applied a lime wash made from natural limestone. The result is a pristine fireplace with a chic, chalky finish.

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  • 10 of 29

    Black and Blue Color Scheme

    natural black brick fireplace
    Andrew Flesher Interiors

    The moody living room in this modern farmhouse by Andrew Flesher Interiors pairs navy blue walls with a black brick fireplace. The oak mantel and colorful furniture add a little room-brightening contrast.

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  • 11 of 29

    Fake an Antique Brick Finish

    painted black brick with white cement
    The Magic Brush

    Get the look of antique brickwork with a painting trick by Jennifer Allwood at The Magic Brush. She and her team carefully applied gray paint immediately followed by an ebony stain sealer to each brick. To bring a graphic element to this project, they didn't paint the mortar.

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  • 12 of 29

    Revive a Vintage Living Room

    vintage inspired interior gray brick fireplace
    Edith and Evelyn Vintage

    Updating a living room that's seemingly frozen in the 1970s is possible with these easy tips from Cindy at Edith and Evelyn Vintage. After scraping off the popcorn ceilings and ripping out the baby blue carpet in the space, she refreshed a red brick fireplace with light gray paint. Afterward, she updated the blocky mantel with crown molding.

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  • 13 of 29

    Dramatic Colors

    black brick fireplace feature wall
    Dan's Lake House

    If your living room gets lots of natural light, consider painting your fireplace a dramatic dark color. Case in point, this sun-drenched space styled by Tanya at Dan's Lake House. She made the large, bright room feel cozy by pairing the gray wall with a mix of colorful decor.

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  • 14 of 29

    Whitewash Brick Fireplace

    distressed brick blue living room
    Timothy Godbold

    Think of your fireplace as a neutral backdrop. Interior designer Timothy Godbold used this whitewashed fireplace as a stage for two photographic prints. The artwork reflects the blue and black colors used throughout the room.

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    Exposed Brick Fireplace and Flue

    partial brick fireplace
    Butler Armsden

    When renovating this home, designed by American architect William Wurster in 1939, Butler Armsden Architects exposed the brick on the fireplace to show off the fingerprints left by the original mason. A black metal chimney flue gives the update an industrial edge.

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  • 16 of 29

    Midcentury Modern Refresh

    black brick fireplace wood mantel
    Donna Dufresne Design

    Give a traditional fireplace a fresh twist with dark paint. In this midcentury modern home updated by Donna Dufresne Design, charcoal gray walls paired with a simple, rustic mantel give the living room a chic yet casual aura.

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  • 17 of 29

    Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

    brick kitchen fireplace
    Open Meadow

    The exposed brick fireplace in this home remodeled by Open Meadow Renovations only adds to the farmhouse kitchen's charm. The brick veneer over the oven contributes to the room's rustic appeal.

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  • 18 of 29

    Brightening a Midcentury Ranch House

    midcentury inspired white brick fireplace
    J H Interior Design

    This midcentury house, updated top to bottom by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design features a soothing, neutral color scheme. Painting the brick fireplace white seals the deal on the living room's calming tone.

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    Scandinavian-Inspired Living Room

    nordic inspired white brick fireplace
    Simply Home Decorating

    The goal of this project by ​Simply Home Decorating was to transform a dreary living room into a fantastic space filled with light. Cherry-picked furniture in soft pastel colors, organic wood accents, and a brick fireplace painted white are a few of the ingredients that make the room so appealing.

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    Shabby Chic Decor

    shabby chic white brick fireplace
    The Decorologist

    Slipcovered sofas, frilly throw pillows, and vintage furniture are the hallmarks of shabby chic style. This cozy home by The Decorologist exemplifies the design aesthetic with a homey, painted fireplace.

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  • 21 of 29

    Show Off Old Brick

    red brick hearth
    Alison Jennison Interiors

    In this Brooklyn townhouse remodeled by Alison Jennison Interiors, an old firebox provides a unique focal point. The dark bricks in varying shapes contrast dramatically against the stone mantel and the more orderly brick feature wall.

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  • 22 of 29

    Turn Logs Into a Focal Point

    white fireplace with graphic log insert
    Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

    Stacked logs for a wood-burning fireplace become an attractive focal point in this home remodeled by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. The painted brickwork echoes the white walls and pale furnishings that surround it.

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  • 23 of 29

    Create a Cozy Family Room

    olive brick fireplace
    Kevin Twitty Interiors

    Colorful accents are what make this small family room by Kevin Twitty Interiors feel extra cozy. Decorative pieces in both warm and cool tones jump out against the green-painted fireplace.

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    Spruce Up Brick Veneer

    scandi inspired white brick fireplace
    House of Jade Interiors

    Whether your decorating style leans toward maximalism or minimalism, a white painted fireplace can add alluring texture to a room. It's also a fantastic way to make cheap bricks or brick veneer look expensive, as demonstrated in this newly constructed fireplace by Erin and Kirsten at House of Jade Interiors.

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  • 25 of 29

    Art Deco Refresh

    soft gray brick fireplace colorful living room
    Lisa Britt Designs

    This 1927 home was given new life with fresh wall colors and modern finishes, thanks to Lisa Britt Designs. The fireplace features gorgeous art deco grillwork. Painting the brick around it a soft shade of gray allowed this unique feature to pop. Adding to the fireplace's charm is the lovely mantel with its dentil detail.

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    Stunning Accent Wall

    gray blue brick fireplace
    Stuart Sampley Architect

    Turning a brick fireplace into a stunning accent wall for displaying art is a cinch with paint. The designers at Stuart Sampley Art Architect chose a shade of bluish-gray paint that works with the room's soothing boho aura.

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    Traditional Decor With a Boho Twist

    white brick fireplace classic wood mantel
    A. Jennison Interiors

    Create an earthy aura by combining a wood mantel with a brick fireplace painted white. In this New York City living room by Alison Jennison Interiors, a leather lounge chair and copper end table add to the room's visual warmth.

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    Gray Wash Brick

    gray washed brick fireplace
    The Crux Design

    Jennifer at The Crux used to refer to the red brick fireplace in her basement as the "wall-to-wall monstrosity." The problem? She felt that its color smothered the room with darkness. So she painted it light gray.

    To achieve a natural variation in color from brick to brick, she did two things. First, she used two different shades of gray paint. Some bricks were treated with a light shade, and others with a darker color. Before applying the paint, she turned it into a color wash by mixing two parts of paint with one part of water. This allowed the paint to soak into the brick, which helped Jennifer achieve a natural brick look.

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  • 29 of 29

    Decorative Paint Techniques

    distressed white brick fireplace
    Werk Building Modern

    Exposing the masonry in this colorful bungalow remodeled by Werk Building Modern gave the home an open, loft-like feeling. Below the mantel, the brickwork was given a solid coat of white paint. For some visual interest, the painted brick above the fireplace received a distressed finish.