Birds and Branch Painted Fireplace


Birds and Branch Painted Fireplace

It took me a long time to finally paint my fireplace, and then I took ages trying to decide what should go up on the mantel.  Finally I realized that I wasn’t happy with anything I put up there because I with the bookshelves on either side (shown here), it just seemed like there was already so much on that wall.

I thought about buying a stencil to add a branch and some birds, but with the depth changes between the brick and the mortar, I’d have had to trace it first and then paint it in my hand anyway to get it to look right.  And when I realized a stencil would run about $50 once I paid for shipping … well, NO.  So why not just try painting it out by hand in the first place?  (If it was awful, I could always just paint over it, right?)  I ended up with this, and I think it will do.  Maybe I’ll add some low candles to the right, if anything at all.  Total cost: A tester pot of Martha Stewart’s paint in Seal, about $2.50, and a set of paintbrushes from the kids’ art aisle for 99 cents.   WAY better than $50!

Painted Fireplace


Family Room

Here’s a reminder of my family room fireplace “before”.  The room is really dark, with the only natural light coming from atrium doors to a covered (read: always shady) porch.  This picture was taken with every light in the room on AND a flash on the camera.  In real life, that fireplace looked more like a dark hole.

I found Young House Love’s instructions for painting a brick fireplace and they made it sound so easy, I decided to make it a weekend project.  I went with white semi-gloss paint just because I already had a gallon.

The first coat was a real bear.  I wasn’t thinking about how each brick really has five surfaces to paint, AND there’s another layer deeper of grout surrounding each of those bricks.  There’s a lot of paint “smooshing” to get into all those little spaces.  The next coats were so much easier!  It would have been fine with two coats, but I did one more coat just with the roller because it was quick and I had some paint left in the can.  A tip: if you find little unpainted spaces in difficult to reach places, load a little paint on a Q-tip and dab it on.

Here’s how it looks now:

Fireplace After

Now to decide what should go on the mantel.

Maybe some sort of painting?  These are a work in progress for our bedroom, just to give an idea how a canvas (or four) might look.


Or maybe I need to invest in more locally made Blenko glass?  I love how the white background really shows off the glass!

Blenko Mantel

And here’s what I used on the mantel before I painted the brick:

Fireplace After

Do you see the pop of orange to the lower left?  Those are little Japanese children’s shoes made by my friend Yuki’s parents.

Japanese Shoes

Did you even notice them in the “before” photo?  They show up so much better against the white!

Do you have a preference for the mantel decor, or a suggestion for something else?  I’d love to hear it!

Considering Painting a Fireplace


My family room, in a picture taken a few years ago:

Family Room
And a preview (courtesy of Sherwin Williams’ Color Visualizer) of the fireplace in white:

Not a perfect preview, but it’s nice to have an idea how it might look before I paint.

When we bought this house, the first thing I wanted to do was paint this fireplace.  Instead, I painted over the sky blue wall color with this golden yellow called Full Moon.  Suddenly, the brown made sense and I just left it.  But years later, I’m staring at the fireplace again with such an urge to paint it white or cream.  It’s so dark at that end of the room, I think a lighter color would make a huge difference.

Have you painted over brick?  Were you happy with the result?