Here is our before shot of our family room. You can't see our entire fireplace here as I was showing off the rug, but you can get the gist of it. The bricks were in good condition but the color of them made the room darker and with the position of this room in our house it doesn't get a ton of nautural light (though this picture makes it look like it does). We've wanted to whitewash the brick for awhile but were SO nervous to do it. It's not like painting a wall; once the bricks are painted there is no going back. We took an informal facebook poll and I would say that it was pretty evenly split. Quite a few people understood why we wanted to paint the brick. Many others thought we were crazy and would ruin the room.
After months of debate, we finally decided that it was our house and we knew what would make us happy. So Saturday we washed the brick, mixed up our paint, and got our whitewashing on.
I used this tutorial to figure out the basics, and then we just took off. We ended up with a mix of about 2/3 water to 1/3 paint as our perfect ratio. One of us would paint it on with the other person rubbing it in with a rag to make sure the paint was evenly distrubuted in color everywhere. We ended up going through about 10 rags- they were destroyed to complete shreds. We taped off our crown molding and our mantle. I had originally wanted to leave the two arches with regular brick, not painted, but they didn't have enough contrast, so it all went to whitewashed.
After we were completely done, I went through and darkened a few bricks here and there. I thought it needed a little more contrast. It's very subtle but it definitely added the visual interest it needed.
And.......here's the final product!
We are so happy with it! I definitely think it lightens up the room but still allows the brick to be present in the room. I think a solid paint job would have blended in too much in this room, so the whitewashing was a perfect solution.
Now, if anyone has any better styling ideas, I'd love to hear them! Decorating mantles is tough!!
Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comments. I fully understand how nervewracking doing something permanent is!! Hope you like it!