Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by lindseymahoney
You may be asking yourself, can you even paint a fireplace? Yup! This DIY was so easy and the painted stone fireplace gives this space a modern and fresh feel.
Our third home had a wonderful garden-level space that we used for the kid’s area, but the dated fireplace made the room feel dark and gloomy.
I went back and forth for months trying to decide if we should paint the stones and I am so glad we went for it.
It is the main feature in the room and I was pretty intimidated to take on this project since it would be hard to hide if it turned out terribly.
I am so glad that I overcame my fear of such a permanent change because the fresh coat of paint made all of the difference in this space and it was super simple!
This dated stone fireplace is now a fun focal point for our kids’ playroom.
Today I am sharing our step-by-step process for how we painted the fireplace in one (long) day.
Stone Fireplace Before
Here is a reminder of what it looked like before we painted.
The large rocks made the room feel dated and dark. It even had moss growing on them which caused a mess when you rubbed up against them.
There really was no escaping the 70s vibe in this room.
Easy Painted Stone Fireplace Tutorial
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1 | Clean the Fireplace with Wire Brush
I used a wire brush to remove most of the moss and vacuumed up the debris.
2 | Wash the Stone Fireplace with TSP
I wore gloves and used a sponge to wipe down the large stones with TSP. Next, I set up a few fans to dry the rocks.
My son, Thomas, is always a big helper with home projects and asked to join in on the fun!
3 | Paint the Stone Fireplace with Primer (Kilz)
We painted the rock fireplace with KILZ to seal the rocks and provide a base for our wall color.
To get into the grooves around the rocks, we used a 3/4 thick roller cover and fat, old paintbrushes. The primer required two coats before the wall was ready for the interior paint.
On this particular weekend, my parents were in town to celebrate my birthday.
I am so lucky to have hard-working parents who are always offering to help with our projects.
We spent our entire Sunday working on this wall and we all had so much fun transforming this 1970s eyesore into a bright fun wall feature.
4 | Paint the Stone Fireplace
Choose the paint color and apply the paint just like you would for a standard wall.
I wanted the lower half of the fireplace to pop so I chose a dark gray paint color (Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray).
Painted Stone Fireplace Reveal
A little paint was all it took to completely transform this space! This room is brighter and looks much more modern than the dated rocks on the wall.
If you are considering painting a rock or stone fireplace too, my advice to you is to take that leap of faith!
I know it can be a tough decision because painting is so permanent, but if it really will brighten your space, I say go for it.
- Protective glasses
- N95 Mask
- Wire brush
- Sponge / Scouring Pad
- Interior paint
- 3/4 inch thick nap roller & roller frame
- Paint tray
- Thick, old paintbrushes (fat paint brush)
- Wire brush
- Paint roller
- Paintbrush (this bristles to get in grooves)
- Remove dirt and debris with a wire brush
- Mix TSP and water in a bucket and clean the stone fireplace using a sponge. Let the stones dry
- Apply a single coat of paint primer (add another coat if the stone colors are showing through)
- Paint two coats of latex wall paint in the color of your choice. For stones with thick grooves, a fat bristled paint brush works great. For the edges, an angled paintbrush works best. A paint roller sleeve with a thick nap (3/4") will get paint in stones with holes and pockets.
Transform a dated space in your home in a single day!
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Frequently Asked Questions
What paint should I use for a wood-burning fireplace?
Both of the fireplaces that I have painted were wood-burning and I never had issues with bubbling or chipping paint.
In both instances, I applied primer paint and then used an interior latex finishing paint. To be clear, I use this paint on the exterior of the fireplace and not inside the firebox.
The inside of the firebox will need special heat-resistant paint.
What paint sheen should be used on a fireplace?
The type of paint sheen used on a fireplace is really a personal preference. For my stone fireplace, I used the same paint color and sheen as the surrounding walls, which is an eggshell sheen.
This is my personal preference because I do not want the fireplace to look too shiny.
Considering a flat sheen, my main concern is cleaning the fireplace surround if the ash and soot get on the paint.
Flat sheens are typically harder to clean.
What should I do if my fireplace has a shiny topcoat?
If your fireplace surround has a shiny topcoat that you want to paint over, you will have to rough up the surface for the paint to adhere.
Use a sanding block to scuff up the stone fireplace, thoroughly clean the surround, and then follow the same instructions above with primer and paint. I hope this helps!
Can I paint my fireplace surround made of bricks or lava rock?
Yes! Any type of fireplace surround can be painted, including bricks and porous lava rock.
The key is to get the surround clean and then paint it with a durable primer and latex paint.
How do I tone down my multi-colored stone fireplace without completely covering it with paint?
One option is to water down your paint so that the natural stones still show through for a cohesive look.
This technique is called whitewashing. For bricks, another popular technique is German schmear which gives a relaxed look.