Upgrade a tired mantel and dated red brick fireplace with an affordable and easy project. All you need is paint!

When Behr asked me to take part in their Designer Stories project, my mind started racing with all of the projects I still need and want to tackle around my home. I moved into my 1940s Cape Cod style house just over a year ago.

There’s still so much to be done to turn it into the cute, coastal home I know it can be, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Projects CAN be fun and easy; it just takes time, patience, and hard work. Oh, and paint. Lots and lots of paint! Our living room has been 80% done for a while now and it’s about time I call it finished.

By Jessica Kreger

| Project House to Home

Fireplace Makeover project, before and after

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I really wanted to give the fireplace some contrast

One of the things that has been bugging me is our fireplace. I gave the mantel a fresh coat of white paint, but it was still just kind of blah and the red brick was also dirty and dated.

I really wanted to give the fireplace some contrast and the room gets enough light so I thought I could go with a darker color on the mantel. I’m pretty obsessed with taupe right now and I’ve used it as an accent color throughout my house.

If yourCleaning brick of the fireplace prior to paintingbrick isn’t as disgusting as mine, you can skip this step. I pulled out the vacuum and gave the inside of the fireplace a quick clean and washed the brick and the hearth with a sponge and a mixture of dish soap and water (give the brick ample time to dry before painting over it). I also wiped down the mantel with a paper towel and some cleaning spray to remove any dust. 

I decided to paint the mantel first to allow the brick ample time to dry so I taped off the walls and brick with painter’s tape.

Step back and admire the results of your first coat. Wait 2 hours then recoat. Once the brick and mantle are both dry, start painting the brick. Again, tape off the area around the brick before you begin.

When painting brick, use a roller with a big enough nap so the paint gets inside the cracks

I decided to use BEHR® Interior/Exterior Masonry, Stucco, & Brick Paint in White. The paint is specifically designed for brick so I thought it would provide the best coverage in minimal coats, and I was right. LOVE this stuff! It’s sold by the gallon so I have a lot left, but I have so many places that I can use it--even outside!.

You apply this paint with a roller. Be sure to use a roller with a big enough nap so the paint gets inside the cracks. I used a roller for semi-smooth to semi-rough surfaces and it did the trick. Allow 4 hours to dry before recoating.


Paint the brick with a thick-nap roller Pour some paint into the bottom of your paint tray and cover your roller in paint, but not so much that it’s dripping. Roll any excess off in your tray. Use a 2” angled paint brush to touch up edges and any areas you can’t cover with the roller.

Once the mantel was repainted, I knew the red brick would definitely need an update, so I decided to give it a fresh coat of white paint.


If you have a brick hearth that needs some love too, you can use this paint for that too. My hearth is covered in a porous tile which has kind of a concrete feel to it. I decided to try the using the same paint on the tile and it worked really well!

Peel off the painter’s tape, allow everything to dry then enjoy your new and improved fireplace! I am always amazed at how just paint can transform something!

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Small Behr logoS480-5
What sheen do I need?
8 Oz. Sample
1 Gallon
1 Quart
5 Gallon
The following product(s) is required to properly prep and pre-treat wood prior to any stain project.
Required product
The following product(s) is required to properly prep and pre-treat wood prior to any stain project. Only available in store at Home Depot.
Required 3rd party product
The 9 in. x 1/4 in. Polyester Adhesive Roller Cover has a hard texture, making it ideal for applying all types of adhesives to smooth surfaces. It can be used for stippling and applying sand paints.
The following product(s) is recommended when stripping is needed.
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