How to Coordinate MODERN Paint Colors With Your Brick Fireplace
Partner post: How to Update Your Fireplace – 4 Fireplace Update Ideas
If you’ve been following my blog for a while (bless your lil heart) you know that I LOVE to paint anything that men HATE to paint -brick, wood, you name it, I’ll paint it (including my body).
And I’m not picking on men here, I swear. It’s just that in my decorating adventures, I’ve found that men are the LEAST likely to want to paint brick or solid wood pieces – EVEN IF they are butt-ugly.
And I’m actually DEDICATING this blog post to the men (and the odd women) who despise painted brick and are desperately hoping to find a wall paint color that makes their brick fireplace look fabulously updated!
The first thing I’m going to say about these color suggestions is that these are ONLY ‘guideline colors’
Guideline colors are colors that get you off on the right foot – without being definite. There are SO many colors of brick out there, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to cover each and every one. I am my own personal hero, but I’m not THAT good.
Instead, I’m giving you one main color to explore and then other colors that are similar but have different undertones and depths. This way, you have a good selection to play with, to see which one resonates best with your brick.
Please note these two important details:
- These color suggestions are NOT for exteriors (although you can take some very general guidance from them). Paint colors can look CONSIDERABLY different on an exterior compared to the interior.
- MOST of these suggestions are with ‘softening and blending’ in mind, rather than accenting and highlighting – I can only fit SO much into one blog post!
- There’s no guarantee these colors WILL go with your particular brick, they’re just a place to start and you can adjust as needed depending on your brick and other interior finishes.
But before we start, we need to discuss your INTENTION…
HOW TO ENHANCE A BRICK FIREPLACE
If you LOVE your brick and want it to really come to life, you can do this via CONTRAST. Just remember, many warm colors don’t love being partnered with colors that are cooler AND lighter than them, so you have to tread carefully. Often, it’s best to contrast with a COOL color that has some DEPTH to it (opposites attract and make each other stronger).
In this next photo, while the green undertone in the paint color is a CONTRAST to the pink undertone in the brick, because it’s LIGHTER, it’s not doing a good job of CONTRASTING – it needs much more depth (such as Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray).
- some bricks can also humor a more medium-toned blue-green blend
HOW TO TONE DOWN & SOFTEN A BRICK FIREPLACE
In this next photo, the yellow undertone of the walls made the red-violet hues in the brick POP in comparison. However, in the photo on the right, the muted greige-taupe warmth tones down the look of the brick and modernizes its approach…
See this WHOLE HOME here
- find a paint color that flows somewhat seamlessly with the MORTAR (which often has a warm violet or taupe undertone)
- the odd warm gray with a green undertone can work, depending on the color/undertone of the mortar around the brick
- pick-up on the colors/undertones of the brick and choose neutrals with these undertones
- some mortars lean a bit warmer, picking up a subtle ‘tan’ look which means some tan paint colors can soften the intensity of some brick fireplaces
- remember, nothing will make your brick go away visually (short of painting it or refinishing it), this is more about softening its impact and modernizing its look
The 5 Best Paint Colors to Go With a Red or Red-Orange Brick Fireplace
This is one of the easier bricks as it suits a variety of paint colors!
1. SHERWIN WILLIAMS DOVETAIL SW 7018
Are you feeling brave and want a paint color with a bit more DEPTH to partner up with your brick? Dovetail is a beautiful, medium-toned warm gray. It can be a subtle complement to your brick as isn’t overly colorful, while still pulling into the warm gray often found in this type of brick. You can consider Dovetail as an ‘accent wall’ color and pair it with a light neutral or use it on ALL of your walls.
2. SHERWIN WILLIAMS NATURAL TAN SW 7567
Natural Tan is a fabulous (and popular) neutral tan color – it’s like slapping your nicest pair of khaki pants on the wall! Natural Tan is slightly warm but is overall, a relatively neutral tan paint color.
3. BENJAMIN MOORE SIMPLY WHITE OC-117
With its fresh warm yellow undertone, Simply White is a great way to create a bright look without the starkness of a more standard white paint color. The brightness will contrast with the depth of the brick.
4. SHERWIN WILLIAMS WEB GRAY SW 7075
5. BENJAMIN MOORE COLLINGWOOD OC-28
Many red-brick fireplaces, particularly the darker ones, suit WARM gray paint colous (as well as taupes) that have a violet undertone. Collingwood is a light warm gray with a gentle violet undertone and is often as COOL as you can go.
Kylie M E-Design
IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR RED OR RED-ORANGE BRICK, AVOID THESE COLOUS…
If you have a surface you don’t love (like a red brick fireplace), the key is to not CONTRAST with it. Taking a low contrast approach means your brick won’t look any more red, orange or pink than it already does, and to do this, you’ll want to avoid cool paint colous. Cool colous (being opposite to the warmth of your brick will contrast, and therefore, ENHANCE the warmth of your brick.
- avoid blue, green and blue-green undertones in gray or greige
The 5 Best Paint Colors to Go With a Brown Brick Fireplace
You can find brown in a LOT of brick blends, but some bricks commit to it MUCH more than others. These blends can also include cream, red, purple, peach and more!
1. BENJAMIN MOORE KINGSPORT GRAY HC-86
Kingsport Gray is a medium-toned greige that leans more brown than gray.
2. BENJAMIN MOORE BALLET WHITE OC-9
Ballet White is a beautiful warm neutral for brown brick fireplaces. It’s a cream that’s MAJORLY diluted by a tan/greige base, cutting back the degree of yellow that can pop up. Just be careful as it won’t necessarily suit a brown-PINK brick.
Paint colors that have a similar approach to Ballet White: Sherwin Williams White Duck, Sherwin Williams Neutral Ground
3. BENJAMIN MOORE MUSLIN OC-12
TONE-DOWN, SLIGHTLY CONTRAST (THE LIGHT DEPTH OFFERS THE CONTRAST)
Muslin is a soft, gentle beige with very flexible undertones that suit MANY of the brown-base brick fireplaces. While it won’t necessarily look ‘exciting and stimulating’ it might help to tone down the pink and neutralize your space.
4. SHERWIN WILLIAMS LOGGIA SW 7506
Loggia is a light-medium beige with SUPER muted undertones, so no overly golden colors will pop up on you.
5. SHERWIN WILLIAMS ANEW GRAY SW 7030
TONE-DOWN & UPDATE
Anew Gray can be a stretch for a lot of brown brick fireplace, but it’s worth a try! Anew Gray is a light-medium greige that is pretty well-balanced.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR BROWN BRICK, AVOID THESE COLORS…
Click HERE or on the above image for available packages!
Let’s take a quick break to talk about paint samples…
Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out in the near future to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel and stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a FEW reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…
- samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1-3 business days, depending on location
- at $6.99, they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling
- if you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room
Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE
The 4 Best Paint Colors to Go With a Pink or Salmon Colored Brick Fireplace
I’d love to show you some LOVELY images of rooms redecorated with a pink brick fireplace, however…they don’t exist. Also, in order to show you photos of REAL HOMES with REAL BUDGETS, I only use photos from my Online Paint Color Consulting clients.
Both of the fireplaces above have pink tones
This next photo shows a stone, not brick, but it CERTAINLY has those pink undertones! Which sample do you think works best with this fireplace?
If you guessed the far-right – YOU’D BE RIGHT! Why? Because the pink undertone picks up on the undertones in the stone and mortar.
BENJAMIN MOORE CEDAR KEY 982
TONE-DOWN & MODERNIZE
With its beige base and slightly gray-taupe undertone, Cedar Key can work nicely with a pink-toned fireplace. While it won’t necessarily look ‘exciting and stimulating’ it might help to tone down the pink and neutralize your space.
BENJAMIN MOORE MARITIME WHITE 963
TONE-DOWN WITH SUBTLE CONTRAST
Maritime White is an off-white that has a soft, cream look, but also harbors a wink o’ pink.
BENJAMIN MOORE METROPOLIS CC-546
For a look that’s more rich and exciting, consider Metropolis as an accent wall color. When paired with a soft off-white paint color, Metropolis will add depth to your space and could sit nicely with your pinkish fireplace. Or be brave and paint the whole damn room!
BENJAMIN MOORE PALE OAK OC-20
TONE-DOWN & UPDATE
Pale Oak is a soft, gentle light taupe paint color with violet-pink undertones.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR PINK BRICK, AVOID THESE COLORS…
you need to avoid greens and blues and these undertones as they’ll CONTRAST with the warmth of the pink
unless it’s in a baby’s room, pink and yellow can be totally nauseating combo
The Best Paint Colors to Coordinate with a Purple or Purple-Red Brick
I’m a BIG fan of brick with violet undertones as it’s often a rich, stately look, creating a beautiful focal point for a living or family room.
I apologize for the lack of light in this photo, I do rely on E-design clients to send me their photos and interiors can be tricky!
SHERWIN WILLIAMS REPOSE GRAY SW 7015
Paint colors that have a similar approach to Repose Gray: Not much, maybe the slightly darker SW Mindful Gray
SHERWIN WILLIAMS ANEW GRAY 7030
Anew Gray is a gorgeous, light-medium greige that sits nicely between gray and beige.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS ARGOS SW 7065
Argos is one of my fave green-gray-blue blends and its cool approach is a pretty contrast to some violet-inspired brick fireplaces.
BENJAMIN MOORE CLASSIC GRAY 1546
Classic Gray is an off-white warm gray with a subtle purple undertone.
SHERWIN WILLIAMS GAUNTLET GRAY SW 7019
Gauntlet Gray is a gray paint color with a solid brown/taupe base.
Colors and undertones to avoid on your walls if you DON’T like your purple brick…
true blue never works
- yellow/cream can be touchy
green can work if you are looking to further enhance the tones of this brick, however, if you want to keep things on the down-low, then refer to the wall colors listed above
The Best Paint Colors to Coordinate with a Yellow and Orange Brick Fireplace
This brick is not as common as others (thank God) because it can be challenging to update – and the more yellow it is, the more challenging it is. If you want me to be brutally honest with you, this is one brick that I would paint. You could paint the walls and say ‘Well it looks better than it used to…’ or you could just paint the brick and say to yourself, ‘NOW I can decorate my room the way I WANT to without being held hostage by this damn brick!’
However, for those of you who are enamored with your brick, I DO have a few ideas up my sleeves…
If you don’t believe me, then here are a few color thoughts for you…
Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray
You’ll be living on the wild side with this one! Yellow and gray is a lovely color combo in the design world! Chelsea Gray is a lovely rich-toned charcoal gray that will tap nicely into the grout of your brick fireplace, bringing a sense of calm and balance to the room.
Benjamin Moore Whitall Brown
If you’re dealing with predominantly yellow brick, this is the ONE color that I could really live with on my walls. Whitall Brown is a chocolate brown that is neutral; meaning that it’s not overly orange-toned nor too gray.
Benjamin Moore White Down OC-131
White Down is a soft warm off-white. It’s a cream but has a strong neutral base to calm it down. It ALL depends on which colors your brick favors.
Benjamin Moore Navajo White OC-95
Navajo White is a lovely light cream with a warmth in it that is softened by a modest neutral base.
Colors and undertones to avoid on your walls with yellow-orange brick…
Opposites will attract. Avoid greens and blues if you are hoping to keep your brick fireplace as soft and gentle looking as possible. By pairing an orange/yellow toned brick with cooler tones, you will bring out the color of it which might be a good thing – but usually isn’t.
- Pink tones are DEFINITELY not good as pink and yellow/orange are pretty gross together (not including kids rooms) and I would also avoid purple
Need help with picking the right color?
Check out my Online Consulting for your own personal color consultation!
Originally written in 2017, awesome updated in 2019