How to Paint a Dated Rock Fireplace | DIY

June 28, 2021

We painted the dated, rock fireplace in our kids’ playroom! Our third home had a wonderful garden-level space that we used for the kid’s playroom, but the giant rock wall made the room feel dark.

Single day DIY to transform the look and feel of a room | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

I went back and forth for months trying to decide if we should paint the rocks and I am so glad we went for it. It was the main feature in the space 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 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.


Fireplace Before Paint

Here is a reminder of what it looked like before we painted. The large rocks made the room feel dated and dark. There was even moss growing on them which caused a mess when you rubbed up against it.

There really was no escaping the 70’s vibe in this room.

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

Step 1 | Use a Wire Brush on the Rocks

Make sure you wear protective glasses and a mask while brushing off the loose dirt and moss. I used a wire brush to remove most of the moss and vacuumed up the debris.

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

Step 2 | Clean the rocks with TSP

I wore gloves and used a sponge to wipe down the wall with TSP and then put a few fans on it to dry. My son, Thomas, is always a big helper with home projects and asked to join in on the fun!

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

Step 3 | Paint the Fireplace with Kilz

Next, we painted the wall with KILZ to seal the rocks and provide a base for our wall color. We used a 3/4 thick roller cover and fat, old paintbrushes to get in the cracks of the rocks. The primer required two coats before the wall was ready for the interior paint.

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy
Thomas is always right by our side with home projects!

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 1970’s eyesore into a bright fun wall feature.

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

Step 4 | Paint the Rock Fireplace

Choose the paint color and apply the paint just like you would for a standard wall. We used standard interior wall 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 dark gray paint color (Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray).

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

Fireplace After

That 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.

How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy
How to paint your dated fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

If you are considering painting a dated 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.

Single day DIY to transform the look and feel of a room | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation #accentwall #paint #fireplace #diy

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Step by step tutorial on how to paint your dated, rock fireplace and brighten up the space #fireplaceupdate #diy #painttutorial

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28 Comments

  • Reply Mary R Sweeney May 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    I have a smaller hearth than yours and we actively use this wood-burning fireplace. I am concerned about the paint chipping and peeling or even dripping with the heat. Do you have any thoughts or experience to address this concern?

    • Reply lindseymahoney May 17, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      The inside of the fireplace would be a different type of paint that is appropriate for high heat. I have painted a brick fireplace as well and never ran into issues with the paint overheating and melting or chipping. Good luck!

    • Reply Fiona March 17, 2021 at 11:36 pm

      I know it’s been a while since you posted this but I just did my stone fireplace using hydrated lime. It’s very cheap and you buy it in powder form and mix with water.. It’s basically the lime you put on your lawn with a few more steps.
      It soaks right into the stone and is way more environmentally friendly than paint.

      • Reply lindseymahoney March 18, 2021 at 2:27 pm

        Thank you so much for sharing! That sounds like another great option to lighten a stone fireplace. 🙂

      • Reply Jackie Pride April 15, 2021 at 1:24 pm

        Can you share pictures and step by step instructions? I’d like to try that

  • Reply Katy May 29, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Love your fireplace! I am getting ready to do ours this weekend..fingers crossed it turns out as good as yours! Did you use a flat paint or a semi-gloss?

    • Reply lindseymahoney May 29, 2020 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you! I believe I used eggshell or satin, the same sheen as the walls. I think flat would make it challenging to wipe smudges and semi-gloss may make it too shiny.

  • Reply Janie Herrera June 22, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Jane
    June 21, 2020 1208
    Can I use this method on brick.

    • Reply lindseymahoney June 22, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      Absolutely! I have used the same method on brick in a previous home and it turned out great.

  • Reply Suzanne August 16, 2020 at 12:02 am

    What you did to that stone wall should be a criminal offence.

    • Reply lindseymahoney August 18, 2020 at 10:29 am

      I understand some people don’t like the idea of painting natural stone. I think your home should bring you joy and if painting a fireplace makes you happy, I say go for it!

    • Reply Frank aiello July 24, 2021 at 8:28 pm

      May want to spell correctly first before you say anything about anyone else

  • Reply Alyssa September 28, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    This is a tragedy.

    • Reply lindseymahoney September 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm

      Painting a stone fireplace isn’t for everyone, I understand that. I think your home is an expression of you and if painting rock makes you happy, you should do it! 🙂

  • Reply Erin October 24, 2020 at 7:49 am

    I love this! We recently bought a new house that has 2 faux rock walls that I will attempt to paint today. I noticed the window (windowsill) has also been changed from wood to white in your playroom. Did you do that yourself as well? I started to paint an older wood bay window in our home but stopped as it was coming out horrible. Now its hiding under curtains. Do you have any recommendations for that?

    • Reply lindseymahoney October 26, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Hey Erin, yes I painted the window trim as well. I prefer to only paint the trim and not the windows themselves in most cases. I would recommend a primer coat before applying your standard interior paint. A primer like Kilz will prevent the wood grain from seeping through the paint and give you a nice solid paint color once you apply. I hope this helps!

  • Reply Ruth November 22, 2020 at 1:29 am

    My rock fireplace looks like it has a shiny coat on it. Would I just brush down and follow your instructions? Thank you

    • Reply lindseymahoney November 23, 2020 at 8:03 am

      You may not need to brush it down if it already has a clear coating on it. Mine was very rustic and had moss growing on them.

  • Reply Cheryl Hall December 15, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Will this work on more porous lava rock?

    • Reply lindseymahoney December 16, 2020 at 2:04 pm

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

  • Reply Bill April 29, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    This completely broke my heart.

    • Reply lindseymahoney April 30, 2021 at 10:44 am

      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.

      • Reply Darla Reynolds May 4, 2021 at 6:44 pm

        I agree with you and painting the rock. I love it. I plan to do the same with a rock fireplace wall in a home I just bought. The rock makes it look too masculine and I want it to look like a female’s home rather than like the single man I purchased it from.

        • Reply lindseymahoney May 5, 2021 at 6:34 am

          It will completely brighten the room, I am sure you will love the results!

  • Reply Ramneek June 14, 2021 at 5:38 pm

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

  • Reply Karen June 21, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    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!!

    • Reply lindseymahoney June 22, 2021 at 3:38 pm

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

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