Painting a Stone Fireplace….Finally, I Did It.

Hi Friends!

I am really excited to share this project with you today. We live in a 1950’s ranch. You know, you open the front door and walk into what was intended to be a formal living room. In my house the front door leads to my office/playroom.  Behind the “formal living room/playroom” is a  family room.  When we first purchased our home in 2011 the family room walls were a dark knotty pine. We promptly painted the knotty pine walls a light gray. It is amazing how much emotion neighbor and family have with painting over wood. Yes, we understand that knotty pine was expensive and that once you paint over it there is no undoing it.  Well, we painted the knotty pine and we love it. No regrets. Now for the fireplace. It was a dark stone and large. It literally sucked all the light out of the room. I have never been able to decorate it. I tried to brighten it with a mirror and art, but no luck. The weird thing at the bottom of the hearth is a makeshift baby bumper.

Painting a Stone Fireplace

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

I love stone fireplaces, but this one was not working for  us. Some people have the same reaction to painting stone as they do to painting over wood. I say, I own this house and I know what I like.  I knew that I wanted it much lighter and I wanted a better baby bumper solution for the hearth.  My step-mom, Renee, was visiting and eager to help with a fireplace makeover.

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

We removed all the items from the fireplace. With white ceiling paint that I had in the storage shed and water we prepared a paint-wash. The paint-wash was the consistency of and color of whole milk.

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

With a paintbrush, Renee applied the paint to the fireplace. Instead of brushing the paint-wash on we, stippled and shoved the paint into the groves of the rock. Once the paint was applied, I sponged off the paint using a damp rag.

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

We worked from the bottom of the fireplace to the top of the fireplace using the same method as above. We left the hearth last. The red chair is on the hearth, because I was using it as a first , right.

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

In complete honesty we were just going to do a the paint-wash and call it a day.  We even styled the fireplace and cleaned up like we were complete. I knew it was  a little stark, but I couldn’t completely decide what should be done, if anything.  Then…. my husband came home and  was not able to hide the fact that he did not like the fireplace.  It was not how he had envisioned the final result.  So, after a long night of anxiety and not much sleep, Renee and I began reworking  the fireplace .

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

We tried to sand off the white from the rocks with little prevail.  We also attempted washing the rocks with vinegar, but that did not do much to lift the color.

Instead we focused of what we could do. We mixed up a gray paint to paint the grout.  Note: I am not listing the names and brands of the paint because they were all custom colors made by us.  I have a lot of paint and regularly purchase mistints from paint stores.  With small paintbrushes we applied the gray paint to all of the grout.  Then, with a sponge, Renee sparingly applied a darker gray, and tan paint to the stones.

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & Fox

Much better right? Sigh of relief.

Painting a Stone Fireplace By Paper & FoxI love it, and my husband loves it. What a difference it made in brightening up the whole feel of the room.

Painting a Stone Firepace

I also came up with a solution to use as a baby bumper or “noggin protector”

I  purchased  4 of these outdoor seat cushions (image above)  and sewed them together.  The cushion protects my kids from hitting their heads on the hearth, provides comfy seating  and adds color to the fireplace. Win Win.Painting a Stone Fireplace/ Before & After/ By Paper & FoxWhew! It is done.  We love it and it has motivated me to rework my family room. I will keep you posted with other projects and ideas that I tackle.

I hope you like my new fireplace as much as I do!

XOXO Carmody

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my new Custom Watercolor Shop.

Custom Watercolor Portraits Paperandfox

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61 Responses to Painting a Stone Fireplace….Finally, I Did It.

  1. Heather Smith {Woods of Bell Trees} July 7, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    OMG we have the same fireplace! UGH! It drove me NUTS until I painted it….and YES it sucked the light out of the room!!!!! I almost yelled when I saw the original fireplace, I knew what you’ve been going through! :D It looks so nice now and fresh and bright! LOVE IT!

    • carmody July 7, 2014 at 7:31 am #

      Heather, I fought it for 2 1/2 years. For some reason I felt like painting stone was a rule that I could not break…Rules are made to be broken, right? I am so glad that I did it. I would love to see a photo of your fireplace.

      • Marie, Paint It White Interiors September 16, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

        I am so glad I found your blog post as I am about to paint a friends fireplace too. i want to do a wash rather than a full ‘paint job’. I think yours still has so much character with the wash you made. Thank you so much. Wish me luck:-)

        • Linda G September 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

          Hi! Marie, I was just like you scared to attempt to do this job. But it was so easy and pretty quick. Love how much lighter my family room is now. Still looking for a mantle. To many ideas in my head. But I’m thinking a white distressed. I will try and send a picture. Good luck, you got this. Linda

    • Lucy February 25, 2015 at 11:19 am #

      OMG..ME TOO! I have the same fireplace and have had a love/hate relationship with it for years. I am SO IN! I am having some remodeling/updating done anyway, but this one is MY project!

    • Jacki Lamphire October 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

      Can you burn the fireplace with the pillows there?
      We have gas logs and I was a bit concerned about did a beautiful job. I know you must have been worn out. Jacki

      • Jacki Lamphire February 8, 2018 at 1:18 pm #

        I would really like to get my question answered though. Can you burn the gas logs with the pillows there? Thank you.

        • Amy Riker October 2, 2018 at 6:23 pm #

          Pretty sure she will remove the cushions for a fire, BUT that is the least of ur worries. Having a fire burning with a white fireplace turns to black soot all over ur pretty paint job. Just food for thought

          • Barbara Linton February 13, 2019 at 11:01 am #

            I painted my fireplace white. I used an oil based primer then heat resistant white paint on top. I’ve yet to get white soot on the outside of the fireplace. If the soot does get on the paint, it is washable. However, that should NEVER happen as the smoke and soot should go up and out of the flue. There’s a serious issue with either your chimney or your fire making skills.

  2. Madaline July 7, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    Ok. Loving the paint job but adding those cushions just makes it! It looks wonderful!

    • carmody July 7, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      Thanks so much Madaline! The cushions are great on the tush too!

  3. anallievent July 7, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    I love the redo! I’m with you – it’s your house, paint what you want! I can’t stand paneling and I would have painted that knotty pine, too. And your fireplace is awesome! I love the way you painted it and it really did lighten up the room. Beautiful!! Tell Renee she can come spend the weekend with me and help me with some projects. :)

  4. Ricci July 7, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    It looks great!!!

  5. madisonwetherill July 7, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    I love stone fireplaces and love how you renewed this one with a simple splash of paint :)

    • carmody July 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks Madison!

  6. Shirley Wood July 7, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    The grout paint is what set it all off! It looks great. I really like the way you used the cushions to your advantage by sewing them together. The whole project turned out great!

    • carmody July 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      Thank you so much Shirley!

  7. Neatly-Packaged (@Neatly_Packaged) July 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Wow I love the way the stone looks now!! So cool :) Thank you for sharing!

  8. Shannon July 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Looks great!

  9. Kristin July 8, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Wow! It looks amazing. What a transformation!

  10. 3peppersrecipes July 8, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    Your experimenting turned out great! I love the final result.

  11. Corey @ Tinysidekick July 9, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    Wow Carmody! This looks amazing. It is simply crazy what paint can do. It looks so great and like it has always been that way!

  12. milamyk July 9, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Looks lovely!

  13. Griffin July 9, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Looks great Carmody! Painting the grout lines really finishes it off well and great idea sewing the cushions together!

    • carmody July 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

      Thanks Griffin!

  14. Kendra @ July 13, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    What a difference! It looks amazing! :) Would love for you to share it tomorrow at our link up on my blog please! It looks amazing!

  15. Karen Goodman October 12, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    This looks so great. I’m a real estate agent and see that same stone fireplace in a lot of homes. Who knew it could looks so good with a modern flair.

  16. bigboy January 3, 2015 at 6:50 am #

    you are dumb as dirt to destroy such a thing

  17. absolutegrace July 25, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    I love this!! Thank you for the inspiration!! I have the exact fireplace & knotty pine walls!! LOL Coukd you write or share how you painted the pine wood –ours has some kind of finish on them that some have said she be sanded first. That causes me to hesitate! Even so, I have to lighten up our 70s dark living room. Thanks again!!

    • Lk January 6, 2016 at 12:06 am #

      To take off the gloss on your pinewood before painting buy Sal-soda and wash them down mix it with water.

      • absolutegrace January 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm #

        Thank you!! This is going to be our summer project!!

  18. absolutegrace July 25, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    Sorry for all the typos!! I couldn’t correct them from my phone argh!

  19. Susan Hightower August 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    I love the “new” fireplace and it has inspired me! I start on mine tomorrow. I live in a 1,500 sq ft house and my old, nasty fireplace is the focus. I’m a quick learner so I’ve only been hating it for 10 years. Duh!

    Thanks so much for the instructions. I was afraid it would be something I couldn’t do myself (and with friends) but I know I can.

    • carmody August 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

      Do It Susan! You will feel so much better once that fireplace has a facelift.

  20. Ingrid Sturgies January 27, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    WOW.WOW. WOW! I have looked all over google for something that tells me how to paint a stone fireplace! Thanks so much for this article! Life saver! Now I feel much better about our first home having an “ancient” looking fireplace. THANK YOu!

  21. Debbie Glade March 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    how did you sew the cushions together? and I guess you could do the same but with off white paint and light tan grout?

  22. Hope March 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    I have that same fireplace and am I. The process of painting it as well. One question. Did you mix the grey and tan paint?

    • Beth Holloway May 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

      Following your response to Hope’s question about the grey and tan paint!

    • Andee Prater July 15, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

      I would also love to know if you mixed the gray and tan paint!

  23. Linda G July 21, 2016 at 2:56 am #

    Love the rock fireplace painted. I just did mine. Turned out so great. Old white and pure white wash. Need to get a mantel, reclaimed wood I think. What about to seal the rock? What to use. Linda G

  24. Mary Shipp September 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    I did it! Thanks for giving me the courage to paint my “Flintstone” fireplace. I had been practicing on a garden rock and, after seeing your post, I knew I was on the right track. We just painted the whole interior of our house in greys with white trim, so I had plenty of paint — added a little black for shading and “veins”.

    • Linda G September 3, 2016 at 10:51 pm #

      Hi! Mary, Go for you. My house was built in the 60’s and its stone. I used old white/pure white ASCP. Only gave mine one coat of paint. Not heavy. Then rubbed it some to show a little dark of the rock. Turned out super. Love it. Now looking for a distressed mantle. Or will do my own touch. This lightened my whole room.

      • Kathy September 4, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

        I love working with ASCP and would love to use that on my dark stained fireplace. Would you send me a pic of your finished fireplace? Thank you!

  25. Darla Hackel February 6, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

    I’ve been in this house for 19 years and have not gotten around to this fireplace brick. I see now that maybe I just need to lighten the grout of it. (maybe I should actually clean it too..haha) It’s the same as your before picture but it goes to the ceiling. My question is did you have to prep the stone and ‘grout’ with anything specific before you painted? TSP? Did you seal this with anything after you were finished? I’m trying to get brave.

    • Linda S February 7, 2017 at 3:15 am #

      Hi! Darla, I used Annie Sloan chalk paint. White and old white. I added some water to it. You do not have to prep. Dust off of any dust, and just do a light coat at a time. You can always go back and add more if need. Do not seal it!! Have a old rag to rub it some so it helps in case it’s heavy. That’s it. I love how mine turned out, and the room is now very light. My house is a 1960’s with rock to the ceiling. Now I haven’t found a mantle I want yet. Very easy. Linda

  26. Sue March 5, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    It looks so good, what a great idea for the grout! I too have a hideous fireplace and have wanted to change it!
    I’m curious, if you have the mirror resting against the wall or hanging?

  27. Mmm302 April 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    I thought the “after” pic was the “before” pic and I was excited to see what you had done with the hideous white stone fireplace. Sorry but it just doesn’t look good. It would be a deal breaker if I was a prospective home buyer looking at your property.

    I would have done a deep clean and maybe a semi-gloss sealant on the old stone to help give it more dimension and reflect some light.

  28. Kathy September 4, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    I understand why your hubby wasn’t happy at first — which was a good thing, because I think the 2nd attempt made it look amazing! I’m inspired to tackle mine using ASCP in greys and whites. Thank you for posting.

  29. Ian Wilson February 7, 2018 at 5:13 pm #

    Hi what ration of paint to water did you use please ..Thanks

  30. Taylor June 17, 2018 at 5:56 pm #

    Should I clean the stone first? I’m not sure howntongonabout this? Haha

  31. Ha Do July 25, 2018 at 1:21 pm #

    I like original fireplace, beautiful natural texture and color of rocks, your room look elegant than you use paint to cover it.
    Yes, it too dark! But use can choose a light decoration around fireplace ( picture, flower arrangement.)
    I have a beautiful pond in the backyard, my husband painted on rock with black color, and white color some areas, he set up the fishing man seat next to tiger’s family for decoration,and chicken, ducks, dogs, cat rabbits around the pond……And he really satisfied that project.
    I am artist, but he alway show me his talent to punch me, My house with terrible design and stupid colors.I lived in hell !!!

  32. Ha Do July 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    Hello everybody,
    Never thinking painting on rocks.
    You can Painting on bricks
    If you really want to changing them.
    OK , go to Michaels Store puschase the paint, color of rock, marble…they have a lot of different colors.

  33. Alyssa July 26, 2019 at 11:23 pm #

    I know you said you left out the brand of paint but what type of paint would you recommend for the grout lines? And doing the sponging on top of the white?

  34. Jason October 15, 2019 at 11:43 pm #

    I’ve lived in my house for 20 years and our fireplace has always been my least favorite, yet most prominent, feature of the living room. For years I’ve wanted to tear it out and start over, but recently began to contemplate the idea of painting. I’ve seen a few very bad paint jobs, and a few decent looking ones, but your painted fireplace is the best I’ve seen. However, after seeing your tagline at the bottom about checking out your watercolor portraits, I’m now a little intimidated. Anyway, thanks for sharing.



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