How to Paint Brick and Stone

How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) OK, OK, let’s get this taken care of right off the bat. When some of you saw this title, you either said to yourself, “Nooooo! Never paint stone!” or you thought, “Well, of course I’m going to paint it!” I really think that painting an outdated-looking brick wall or fireplace can modernize the space while keeping the original texture can give it a fresh new facelift without having to replace the masonry or cover over it. To paint or not to paint brick and stone can be a bit of a polarizing topic. So if you like your masonry au naturel, then that’s totally cool, but if you’re into the painted stone look (I totally am), then you want to do it right the first time so you don’t end up with a peeling mess later.

How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial)How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) Prep the surface: Use a coarse wire brush to gently scrub the surface of the brick or stone. This will help loosen and remove any loose dirt or chips of stone before you paint. You can even use some 100 grit sandpaper to smooth any areas as needed.

Clean your stone: Use a nylon bristly brush or sponge to clean the stone with either water and vinegar or a cleaner like TSP that will remove grease from the stone. Go over the stone again with clear fresh water to help rinse the stone and allow to dry overnight before painting.

How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) Prime the stone: Although it’s totally a pain to prime surfaces (I’m always looking for a way to get around it when I can), using a primer on the stone will really help your main paint stick to the masonry like it should. Choose a primer designed for masonry (like this one) so you know it will adhere to the stone, and let your primer fully dry before painting.

How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) Paint the stone (with the right applicator): Depending on the pattern and severity of texture in your masonry (flat fronted brick to jagged edged stones), you may need a different tool than usual to apply your paint and primer. If you have flat to medium texture in your brick or stone (like my fireplace above), you can use a roller that is designed for masonry. It’s probably the fluffiest roller you’ve ever seen, but it’s designed that way to hold a lot of paint (stone soaks up paint) and get into all the crevices. If you have a pretty textured stone with lots of nooks and crannies (like my last fireplace), you’ll want to use a sponge soaked with paint (no really!) and a brush to push the paint into all the deep areas. Make sure to protect your floors and nearby walls when you paint—there’s a lot of potential for dripping!

There’s usually a standard of finish when you are painting a surface. Like, you usually choose satin paint for walls, flat for ceilings, and semi-gloss for trim and doors, but for stone, I say you can do whatever you like. I tend to think that lighter colored painted stone looks better a bit shinier and dark stone calls for more of a flat finish, but try a test area first and see what you like.

How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) I painted the inside of my firebox with a high-heat paint (like this one). While it’s commonly done and that’s usually what the home improvement store will recommend to you, technically that’s not what the manufacturer recommends it for. So that’s a do-at-your-own-risk step.

How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) How to paint brick and stone (click through for tutorial) You can see Elsie’s painted brick in her sunroom above. Doesn’t it look amazing?!?

This is the second house where I painted the fireplace (you can see my other living room here), and both times I’ve been so happy with the result. Of course you have to feel pretty confident about your choice because there’s no going back to bare once it’s painted, but it’s a look that goes really well with lots of design styles. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think the best reward for all my hard work is getting cozy by the fire. Prepare the hot chocolate! xo. Laura


Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • I love the finished product and want to do the same for my stacked stone! What brand/color/sheen did you use on this project? I definitely want a bright white!

  • Hi, I recently painted my stone fireplace with a water/ but am able to wipe the paint off if I put water on it to clean. Is there a way to seal it. I tried a matte poly in the corner, but the brush I used to put the poly on wiped off a bit of the paint as well. I did not want a full on white so I didn’t prime the stone first.

    • Not too sure. Normally I would recommend a masonry paint or high heat paint (especially for inside) a fireplace. I would just go to the hardware store and ask at the paint counter to see what they recommend. Best of luck!

  • I love this DIY idea. Do you think it would work on a more stone fireplace? We have every shade of brown in our fireplace and I wondering if painting or whitewashing some home would solve the problem!

    • Would you recommend Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint to paint a stone fireplace?

  • You didn’t tell us what kind of paint to use!! Just linked to a primer ????

  • Not sure if you’ll see this message, Did you use a semi gloss? and what brand of paint did you use? Thanks

  • What sheen did you use for the paint in the pictures above? Did you use a standard wall paint after priming?

  • Looks beautiful! I wonder if anyone here has painted a brick terrace? Would love to paint mine here in CT.

  • Hi Laura!

    So, a little less about painting the stone and more about your ceiling beams…

    I have a similar situation in my house – stone fireplace in the family-ish room with faux-beams throughout the room (and paneling on either side of the fireplace!)
    I noticed that you painted your beams – which look great!
    Ours are already stained, basically the same color and gloss that yours were in your before photo, but I think I just want to stain ours darker…

    Anyway, your ceiling beams – I’m just wondering if you primed them and then painted? Or if you went through the hassle of sanding, etc. And if you did, if you had any tips there?
    Just curious!

  • I love the brick painted white but truthfully all I noticed was your gorgeous hair. Blonde hair on fleek!

  • Please tell me those are unicorn fireplace tools. And please tell me those are not one of a kind.

    • I want to paint the walls in my bedroom (2 walls)
      They have little bits of grit that drops occasionally. What do I do to the wall 1st ( use a hard brush, then sandpaper it?). Do I need to prime the wall, if so with what ?. I want to do it right the 1st time. Anything you can offer me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Debra Souther 3956 High Rock Rd. Gibsonville, N.C. 27249

  • This is seriously amazing, and where did you get those unicorn bookends and fire pokers?! Those are too great…

  • We always had painted brick in my house growing up. I loved what it did to the Midwest vibe of our home. Gave it a little something different.

  • I’m not sure if it would make it feel bigger and more open, but it probably would help it blend into the wall more if that’s what you want. And if it’s a dark color, painting it a lighter color would lighten up the space 🙂


  • I always use straight white paint with no tint for my house, I like my whites bright as possible!

    Laura 🙂

  • I absolutely love painted brick! I just shared my before & after painted brick fireplace here:

    I linked to this post since you covered all the basics!


  • I’m with you. Although I love the aesthetic of painted brick, it is extremely bad for the brick, not allowing it to expand and contract. It causes a lot of damage and I would hate to be the person who buys a home and have to try and remove it.

  • I have an unused fireplace at one end of my somewhat narrow living room. We actually just have the TV in front of it and the bricks still show up behind it. Would painting over it make the room feel bigger and more open?

  • I just love the white look of the fireplace and would love to do it too but I’m not adventurous enough. I’m worried about not being able to return to the original color. I guess I’ll have to settle for looking at these beautiful pictures.


  • Looks great Laura!! What paint brand and color is that blue on Elsie’s porch?!?!?! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for to complete a project at my house!! Thanks!!

  • I just wanted to say… Laura’s hair looks amazing from behind! I’m super jelly of those pretty waves!

  • Awe man I loooove wood beams on a ceiling! Gorgeous. And with a brick colour like the one you had I don’t blame you for wanting to paint it. I feel it’s a little too close to the wall colour for my taste (If I had a fire place it would be a focal point for me….not a ninja fireplace) but, you did what made you happy and it is very good looking. Thanks for the tips (I may need it one day)

  • The fireplace looks so much nicer! ツ

  • These are awesome tips! We’re buying our first home this winter and it looks like most houses in our area have old fire places and this was something I was planning on doing at some point, so it’s good to have this information now, and to know what I’m doing ahead of time! Thanks!


  • It looks very nice and sophisticated with all the dark accents around it like the painted beams and the new dark floor. I love the brass fireplace tools.

  • You did a beautiful job! If I had brick in my home I’d definitely do this, makes your space look really huge and open


  • This is a good tutorial, and it turned out nice, but…..I’m of the don’t-touch-the-brick camp! Lol. I love that you disclose the controversy around it, haha! Red brick is my favorite, and my goal is to have a whole wall made of it in my house someday! And I’m putting a new red brick surround on my gas fireplace 😉

    Other stone, I don’t care as much about. My friend had a stone fireplace that she white washed, instead of full painted, and it really helped the tone of it match the room better! 🙂

  • Thanks for those tips, yes, cleaning and using a primer are always important to get a good final result. This white fireplace gives a contemporary twist to your interior, it’s adding space & light to your house.

  • What color white is that? It appears to be a true white, which I am looking for – our fireplace was painted off white by previous owners so just need to freshen it up 🙂

  • I really like painted fireplaces! I am trying to convince my mom to paint hers. ♡♡

    xoxoBella |

  • This is sooo nice. I wish I had some brick to paint now with this new found knowledge!

  • That looks amazing, it’s astonishing what beautiful things you do to this place!

  • OMG Laura! This fireplace turned out SO AMAZING. I loved.

    You have a super power. I swear you have! s2

    xo, Deborah

  • Yessss! Thank you! I have a brick monstrosity in an otherwise beautiful room and the only reason I haven’t painted it yet (aside from actually finding time to paint), is my failure to find a good tutorial! Maybe I can actually knock this project out before Christmas now!

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