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How to Paint a Stone or Brick Fireplace | Easy DIY

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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.

How to paint a stone fireplace | Easy DIY

Our third home had a wonderful garden-level space that we used as the kids playroom, but the outdated stone fireplace made the room feel dark and gloomy.

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

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 old stone fireplace surround 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 stone in one (long) day.

Stone Fireplace Before

Here is a reminder of what it looked like before we painted.

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

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

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

Make sure you wear protective glasses and a mask while cleaning the fireplace stones. Use a scrub brush on the entire fireplace to remove loose dirt and moss.

I used a wire brush to remove most of the moss and vacuumed up the debris.

2 | Wash the Stone Fireplace with TSP

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

I wore gloves and used a sponge to wipe down the large, original stone 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)

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

First, put down a drop cloth to protect your floor from paint. Before applying the first coat of paint, we had to apply primer. 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 paint rollers with 3/4 thick roller covers and fat, old paintbrushes. The primer required a second coat of paint 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.

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

We spent our entire Sunday working on the stone fireplace makeover and we all had so much fun transforming this 1970s eyesore into a bright fun wall feature.

4 | Paint the Stone Fireplace

Easy painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

Choose the paint color and apply the paint just like you would for a standard wall. The other three walls in this room had neutral paint colors, which helped make our paint color decisions on the firepace.

Using standard interior latex paint in an eggshell sheen, we carried the same color on the walls (Sherwin Williams Eider White) of the room onto the fireplace and applied two coats.

I wanted the lower half of the fireplace to pop so I chose a gray paint color (Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray).

Painted Stone Fireplace Reveal

Painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

A little bit of paint was all it took to completely transform this space! This living room / playroom is brighter and looks much more modern than the dated rocks on the wall.

Painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

If you are considering painting stone on a fireplace fireplace too, my advice to you is to take that leap of faith! There will be critics who don’t think it is a good idea to paint a natural stone fireplace, but remember that it is your home and it should reflect your personal style.

Painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

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.

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How to Paint a Stone Fireplace

How to Paint a Stone Fireplace

Step-by-step tutorial to paint a dated stone fireplace yourself. Modernize a room in a day with a fresh coat of paint!

Active Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours
Difficulty Easy


  • Dropcloth
  • Wire brush
  • TSP
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush (this bristles to get in grooves)


  1. Remove dirt and debris with a wire brush
  2. Mix TSP and water in a bucket and clean the stone fireplace using a sponge. Let the stones dry
  3. Apply a single coat of paint primer (add another coat if the stone colors are showing through)
  4. 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!

Looking for More Beginner DIY Paint Projects?

Check out these easy DIY paint projects to try at home!

Frequently Asked Questions

Painted stone fireplace DIY using latex paint

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 for a wood burning or gas fireplace will need special heat-resistant paint that can withstand high temperatures.

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. I would avoid semi gloss paint for the fireplace surround.

This is my personal preference because I do not want the fireplace paint 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 outdated 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. It is worth looking at other types of special paint like milk paint or chalk paint to achieve the look you want.

This technique is called whitewashing. For bricks, another popular choice is German schmear which gives a relaxed look.

Erin R

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

I need to paint my fireplace as well as it has too many different colored stones in it… brown, charcoal, white, it looks like a calico cat… how do I keep the stones I like and faux paint the white stones to give it a more cohesive, natural beige stone look? Don’t want to paint it all one color, just tone down the offending multicolored look?


Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Thanks for this question! Unfortunately, I have never done a faux finish on a stone fireplace so I won't be much help! If you decide to paint a few stones, I would recommend using a paint finish that is as similar to the other stones as possible. Good luck!


Monday 21st of June 2021

I love it and I'm going to do this with my antiquated dirty oversized monster of a fireplace. It's large stone and I can't stand it!!! Yeah!!


Tuesday 22nd of June 2021

Yay! I am excited for you, brightening up a fireplace can change the entire mood of a room. :)


Monday 14th of June 2021

Hey, which Kilz did you use? The link keeps leading to the drop cloth instead. Cheers!


Tuesday 15th of June 2021

Sorry about that! I updated the links to the Kilz paint I used. Here is the link:


Thursday 29th of April 2021

This completely broke my heart.


Friday 30th of April 2021

I understand that painting natural rocks is not for everyone, but I think it is important to create a home that brings you joy. For me, painting the rocks a bright white made me happy and brightened the room. The rocks were constantly dropping dirt and dust onto the ground and sealing them in with paint worked better for our family with this space being used as a playroom.

Cheryl Hall

Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Will this work on more porous lava rock?


Wednesday 16th of December 2020

Hi Cheryl, Yes I believe it would work the same. The primer will be essential to get even coverage of the paint color.

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