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whitewashed fireplace- living room update

October 12, 2020

WOW!! Long overdue post coming atcha! To quickly catch you up, Mack turned ONE, I decided to stay home with the boys this year, & we MOVED! Basically, we realized how much we adored our neighborhood, but just needed a tad more space for these growing, busy boys, so we did it! We moved! AND even more fun, we moved literally across the street into our (most likely) forever home and are loving it! It was built in the 80’s, so I’m sure you can imagine there was lots of oak wood, yellow-brass finishings, & tinted stereo windows (If you know, you know). We are taking our time updating things room by room, but if you know us… “taking our time” means let’s get it done & let’s get it done now. I just get these ideas in my brain and want to execute them before I lose the energy/idea & I’m lucky to say Mike is usually always on the same page as me. With that being said, our first task was to get rid of all of the oak & bring in the white, which we normally would have done ourselves but….insert: KIDS. This time around we were more than happy to have somebody else paint the trim, doors, & shelving for us. As you may know, painting oak is not an easy task and involves a lot (sanding, primer, paint, etc.). After we had that done, we painted the walls & got new carpet. After those big tasks were completed, we jumped right in to updating the fireplace & mantle.

Whitewashing our Fireplace

When I first started brainstorming what I wanted the living room to look like, I was all over the place with what I wanted to do with the fireplace. I was considering whitewashing it, but wasn’t sure if it would be too much white (I LOVE all things white, so I honestly can’t believe I ever would’ve thought that, haha!) After polling my instagram followers, there were about 70/100 people that said to whitewash it up! Getting this little nudge from followers made my decision rather easy and I definitely wanted to move forward with some sort of whitewash. I used the light gray that we used on our main walls with our favorite white & of course water to make it an extremely light gray color. I was hoping for more of a cool tone fireplace & it worked out exactly what I wanted! Afterwards, I went back and painted just a few white bricks to add more of the whitewash effect and am loving it. There are a few different ways you can go about doing the whitewash to get it to your liking, i.e. use a couple coats, add more/less water, use a wet rag to wipe it off, add more paint after it dries, but I’m truly convinced you cannot mess whitewash up!

If you plan on whitewashing your fireplace, you will need: paint, water, a brush, painters tape, & drop clothes.

5 Easy Steps to Whitewash your Fireplace:

  1. Clean the fireplace. This is probably the worst part, but so important! I brushed the bricks off and ran the vacuum over the grout lines.
  2. Prep the area! Use painters tape around the fireplace so that you don’t get paint anywhere else. I also laid drop clothes down on the carpet.
  3. Mix the paint! I used 1/4 Sherwin Williams- On the Rocks (gray), 1/4 Sherwin Williams- Pure White, & 1/2 water. I realized I used too much water for the color that I was aiming for, so I dumped a lot of the water out after I painted a few bricks as a test. Keep in mind that the more water you use, the more transculent your whitewash will be and more of the brick’s natural tone will show through. Mix your paint/water mixture with a stir stick and you’ve got your whitewash mix. Seems too easy, right?
  4. Test it out! Start painting a couple bricks on the side or at the bottom of the fireplace to test a small area before painting the entire fireplace. Adjust your mixture from there (add more paint or water). Keep in mind that the bricks will soak up the water and it won’t be as bright as it is when it’s wet. When it starts to dry, it will be more translucent.
  5. Get to Painting! If you’re not getting the whitewash effect that you want, you can use a wet rag to gently wipe off random bricks, so they appear lighter for the effect. Or I just went back after my light gray color completely dried & painted random bricks white to add the effect. I then had a very small amount of white paint on the brush and ran it gently over the gray to add the slightest amount of white.
After: Whitewashed Fireplace

THAT IS IT, FOLKS! I’m not kidding when I say it’s easy! It took me just one night to do after the kiddos went to bed (maybe 2 hours) & then 20 minutes another day to add in the whitewash effect with the white bricks.

Oops, can’t forget this part! I also painted the brass finishings with a small paint brush, using a matte black paint (Sherwin Williams- Black Magic) to get rid of the 80’s yellowish-brass finishings & complete the fireplace.


Mike & I both love everything about shiplap. It adds a fun texture to the eye, adds a nice modern farmhouse feel, & overall is an easy task! We decided to shiplap the top of the fireplace to add the look we love to our living room. We used the 5 1/4 in x 8 ft inch Radiate MDF Nickel Gap Shiplap Primed Board from Home Depot. Mike used 2 1/2 in. finishing nails via a nail gun to get the boards up there. We leave the nail holes exposed to add to the farmhouse look, but you can always cover those with caulk if you want it to look a little more clean. Mike also added corner window trim to clean up the sides of the shiplap and even them out.


Alright, don’t hate me but I have to brag about Mike with this one. I am beyond lucky that I have this husband who can whip together my ideas in a few hours. Basically, I told him I wanted a large mantle casing to cover the previous old school mantle & he brought one to me after a couple hours. Just amazing! I then did some research on a good, rich colored stain I wanted and came across this beautiful “Special Walnut” stain color! I did one coat of it and we had this puppy hanging after the boys went to bed that night. Mike used 1 in x 3 in x 8 ft common board from Home Depot to make the mantle. If you have any questions on how he did it or would be interested in having him make one for you, please reach out!

Before our updates….. & AFTER!

FRIENDS: if you are considering whitewashing your fireplace, just DO IT! I’m convinced you cannot mess it up; it’s THAT easy and looks so freakin’ good! Please reach out with any questions at all, I’m happy to help! I linked what I could below. Take care!

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Hi there!

My name is Megan and I’m a mama born & raised in the midwest. This is my blog where I share a little bit of everything from life as a mama of 3 little ones, DIY home ideas & decor, as well as where I'll share my love for capturing special moments. Read More



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