How to White-wash Your Fireplace

We are semi new to the DIY world but decided to dive in head first with a make or break project. When we moved into our house we had a love/hate relationship with the fireplace in the main living room. We loved it because this is CNY and a fireplace means extra warmth. It makes a room so cozy and has the potential to be a really nice focal point. It wasn’t all love though. The appearance of it wasn’t exactly charming. I think the word we’re looking for here is… hideous. Here, see for yourself:


It is super outdated with the gold plates and rusty look. When you walk into this room, it is the first place someone’s eyes go to. The look of white wash is something we’ve always loved. It seemed really intimidating and so risky though. We knew if we messed it up we’d be screwed and wishing we just stuck with what we had. But… we took a leap of faith!

First, we cleaned the entire fireplace (cloth and warm water) to eliminate any dust or dirt. We didn’t want this stuff getting stuck under the white wash. Clearly precaution is our way of life now. Then we made up the white wash. Our biggest fear going into this was the fireplace would just look like it was painted white. So for our first coat, we used more water than paint in our mixture to be sure it didn’t come on too heavy. Again with the precaution…

We mixed one cup of water and one cup of white latex paint together in a measuring cup. Be sure to stir it up really good to ensure an even mix. Next, we used a regular Purdy paintbrush to brush the mixture onto the fire place. We started on the side of the fireplace (another precaution) so we could see how it went on before tackling the front. One of us brushed the mixture onto the brick while the other patted it dry, very softly with a terry cloth, and wiped up any drips. Be careful to watch for drips! The last thing you want is for the white wash to dry with drips. With two people, this didn’t take long at all. We were happy with how it was turning out but when it dried it looked really gray to us:


We decided to do another coat. This time, we added 1 C white latex paint and 1/2 C water in our mixture to make it thicker. We recommend just adding the water slowly and base it off thickness. We applied the white wash to one brick and were instantly happy with the color. We continued on and applied an entire second coat. When that was done, we sanded the mantel and painted it white. We used the same white latex paint from the white wash mixture. WAH LAH!


We are really happy with the turnout. The white on the fireplace really pops with our paint color. Now we are okay with people’s eye going right to the fireplace when they enter the room. Our next project will be to re-tile the floor in front of the fireplace, refinish the fireplace tools, and replace the screen with something from this century. Also, the brick on our fireplace is textured, not smooth, so we found that we needed to use more than if it was just normal brick. Good luck!

White-wash mixture:

1/2 C water

1 C white latex paint

Measuring cup

Paint brush

Terry cloth


Drop cloth


  1. Clean brick with a cloth and warm water.
  2. Mix ½ C water with 1C white latex paint in a measuring cup. Stir. Apply mixture to brick with a regular paint brush, continuously dabbing away any drip marks.

Check out the before and after!




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