You might have seen me sharing some about this on my personal IG last month—we painted our stone fireplace white. And spoiler: I love it! We’ve lived in our home for over three years now and I wish we had painted our fireplace sooner. I know a white fireplace isn’t for everyone, but I love it and I’m so glad I took the plunge finally. So why did it take me this long?
Above you can see how our fireplace (and this room) looked when we moved in. The stone had actually been painted white before and the previous owner had painted it this kind of faux stone look. I do think they did a nice job, as it really did look pretty convincingly like stone unless you looked really closely. So I think that was my first hesitation. Something in me just felt like it was silly for the fireplace to have been white, someone painted to look stone again, and then I was going to paint it back white. Just felt very Myth of Sisyphus, if you know what I mean (hey, and it’s even a stone fireplace! Get it?).
There was a very large and heavy fireplace insert (helps to blow the hot air out once you get a fire going) that came with the house, and although it does NOT spark joy, I felt bad getting rid of it for some time. But ultimately I knew pretty quick that I wasn’t going to build any fires in this fireplace. I do know how (my dad came over and gave me a tutorial), but it really just wasn’t practical. So I eventually filled the fireplace with candles (after having it professionally cleaned) and just sort of left it that way for a year or two. I didn’t love the black edges where the insert had been, and there was some discoloring right in front of the opening on the stone that I wasn’t crazy about either.
And here’s the part I am sort of embarrassed to admit. I think I felt kind of silly painting our fireplace white because it’s what everyone does (or so it seems). I considered other colors like black or even dark grey, but with how dark this room in our house gets, I just felt white would be something I would ultimately be more happy with long term. But it seemed so unoriginal that I felt silly making that choice. Which, that’s pretty silly, right? I mean, if Trey and I couldn’t decide on a color together, that would be a good reason. Or if painting it just didn’t fit our budget, that would be a good reason. Or if we planned to move soon, that would be a good reason (maybe). But not doing it even though I knew I’d like it just because I thought people would think I was unoriginal and just another “blogger painting her fireplace white” is a pretty lame excuse. Again, I’m a little embarrassed to admit this to you all but it’s the truth.
But I finally took the plunge. It’s all white and I LOOOOOOVE it. If that makes be basic, oh well, I guess. 🙂
I also had my friend Ethan build this bookshelf that fits right inside the space in front of the opening. I knew I was never going to build a fire and I just wanted to create an interesting look for this spot in our home, and I got it in my mind that a little bookshelf would be cute here. It’s removable, so when/if we do move one day, the next owner will still have access to the fireplace. But I much prefer this. And as you can see, I’ve turned all the book spines in so it’s a very monochromatic look. Almost all of these books are just paperbacks I thrifted (all of them cost around $150), except a small section I turned sideways on the top shelf. Those are the ones I actually plan to read, so I know where they are.
Maybe one day I’ll turn the books around and do a rainbow look like Elsie’s massive bookshelf. That would be another super practical way to store books, right? (wink, wink!)
What did we use to paint the stone fireplace? First, Ethan coated all the stone and mantel with bonding primer. It’s super sticky and allows paint to stick to weird surfaces (like stone) much better. Then he brushed on two coats of white masonry paint. You can’t see it, but inside the fireplace (behind the shelf) we did touch up the black with a high heat paint (again, even though I don’t plan to build a fire, someone might one day).
This is the type of project you can’t really roll since the stones are such irregular shapes. The best options are to brush paint or spray. Spraying is much quicker but you need a paint sprayer (you can rent one, but I never have so I can’t say how well they work) and you have to spend a LOT of time prepping the space, making sure to cover all floors, ceilings, furniture, etc., as it can get messy fast. Although brushing may take a little longer to apply the paint, the prepping and clean up is much easier, so that’s what we went with on this project. Just wanted to share in case anyone else plans to go #basic with me and paint their stone fireplace white. 🙂 xo. Emma