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How to Paint a Dated Rock Fireplace | DIY

You may be asking yourself, can you even paint a rock fireplace wall? Yup! We finally painted the dated, rock fireplace in the kids’ playroom! Our third home had a wonderful garden-level space that we used for the kids area, but the giant stone fireplace made the room feel dark and gloomy.

I went back and forth for months trying to decide if we should paint the rock wall and I am so glad we went for it. It was 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 rock 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.

Rock Fireplace Before

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 a rock wall fireplace with this quick and easy DIY | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation

How to Paint a Rock Fireplace

Step 1 | Use a Wire Brush on the Rock Wall

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 clean and paint a rock fireplace with this quick and easy DIY | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation

Step 2 | Wash 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 rock fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation

Step 3 | Paint the Rock 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

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 rock fireplace in 24 hours | Building Bluebird #fireplacetransformation

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

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.

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

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.