Painting Your Interior Brick: From How-To to Style Inspo

There’s a lot to love about exposed brick. It adds color and texture, and sometimes even a little bit of history. In houses, exposed brick can be charmingly traditional. And of course, exposed brick walls in high-ceiling apartments is a chic staple of the urban North East.

We love brick, really. But sometimes, that charming “homeyness” turns into dinginess. A brick fire surround can darken and drain energy from the room. In those hip, converted apartments, that brick can start to feel dated and dull.

The truth is, your bare brick wall or fireplace surround may need a little help to keep its appeal. Painting your exposed interior brick is the best, easiest way to revamp and re-energize that tired wall without losing all of its cool, vintage/industrial vibe.

So, how does painting brick work?

So, how does painting brick work?

The major thing that makes painting brick different from painting your typical interior wall is dealing with the porousness of bricks. Brick absorbs moisture much more than primed drywall. Cleaning the brick thoroughly is critical, and letting it completely dry afterward is even more important.

Some tips if you’re DIYing your interior brick painting project:

Use a wire brush and TSP to scrub your brick. You know those white lines that appear on your brick over time? You need to scrub them away. Be safe: TSP is harsh, so use gloves and goggles!

Let it dry—give it a full day to completely dry. Any moisture trapped in the brickwork will blister your latex paint later on.

Prime—mortar is usually a bit alkaline, which means an alkaline-resistant primer is the way to go.

Use a long-pile roller suited for textured surfaces.

Use a paint that’s formulated for masonry, or quality latex paint.

Our favorite painted brick accent wall ideas:

Our favorite painted brick accent wall ideas:

When it comes to painting your brick wall, the goal is to harmonize that awesome brick texture with your home—not to try and hide it. Playing with unexpected cool tones will modernize and play up that brick texture in a way that looks finished, intentional, and totally pro.

Navy Blue—Painting your interior brick navy blue takes that brick out of predictability and into style. Navy blue is adaptable enough to be a neutral, working just fine with cool greys and whites or warm beiges and chocolate browns. But unlike other neutrals, it provides gorgeous depth, which will visually expand the room. Pro tip: go a little glossy to make that brick texture pop—try a satin or semi-gloss finish.

Light Grey—If you want bright and simple, but a bit less plain than white, try a light cool grey. The powder-blue tones will feel clean and modern, while the grey works as a cozying neutral.

Our favorite brick fireplace surround ideas

Our favorite brick fireplace surround ideas:

If you’re lucky enough to have a brick fireplace in your home, the last thing you want is to mute it. Painting your brick fireplace surround is the perfect opportunity to create a bold centerpiece for your home design style.

Matte black: If you look up images of painted brick fireplace surrounds online, you’ll see a lot of white. White is, of course, classic—but its opposite is totally underrated. A black fireplace surround is regal and grounding, and will add dimension to your space. And, when you get a fire going, that black will add beautiful drama.

Brights: But what if you want to step away from neutrals altogether? Your fireplace surround is part accent wall, part work of art—so consider taking a risk. A canary yellow or teal fireplace surround is bound to cheer up your home and add a touch of flourish—not to mention really show off your cherished mantel photos and art.

Aren't sure about painting your brick interior yourself? Don't be shy!

Aren’t sure about painting your brick interior yourself? Don’t be shy!

There’s never any harm in asking for a free consultation for your project. You may be pleasantly surprised by how easy and inexpensive a professional paint job is—so give us a call!