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70s Brick Fireplace Makeover | Before and After

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A 70s fireplace is bound to have a ton of character. But we had more than we bargained for! Check out the before and after of this budget friendly 70s brick fireplace makeover!

70s Brick Fireplace Makeover | Before and After

70s Brick Fireplace, Before

When we moved into our home, I had planned to remove the dated offset brick fireplace.

Brick fireplace before painting.

However, budget restraints told me another story.

So, I decided to make the most of it and create a cozy sitting area in our newly remodeled kitchen.

Design Challenges

There were several design challenges to overcome for this brick fireplace makeover.

Brick fireplace before makeover.
  1. Traditional 70s offset design. The lack of symmetry saddened my type A personality.
  2. Animal and nature imprints stamped into the brick. I love a beautiful brick. However, this brick has paw prints, leave prints and random lines imprinted onto every surface.
  3. Dirty orange and multi-tone coloring. I personally love a beautiful natural brick. However, the coloring of this brick was too dingy and busy for my taste.

Design Solutions

To combat the design challenges our brick fireplace presented, I:

  1. Decorated intentionally to balance out the offset design.
  2. Filled 95% of the animal and leaf imprints with joint compound, then sanded smooth. (I left some in the firewood alcove as a small nod towards the original design.)
  3. Removed the dated firebox cover.
  4. Primed and painted the dingy orange brick in Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee. This creamy white feels historic and charming, not stark and cold.

Brick Fireplace Makeover Process

This brick fireplace makeover was time intensive, but not difficult.

Cleaning fireplace brick.

The simple process was:

  • Clean and dry the brick, paying special attention to greasy or sooty areas.
  • Fill nature prints with joint compound.
  • Sand joint compound.
  • Prime brick.
  • Paint brick.
  • Decorate to combat the offset design.
Filling brick with joint compound.

How to Paint a Brick Fireplace

If you’ve never painted a brick fireplace, it is a simple process of thorough cleaning, priming and painting.

Painted brick.

It’s very straightforward, but I have a complete guide to painting interior brick that will be extremely helpful with the details. I share all of the materials, process, and paint that will give you the best results.

Painted brick fireplace.

How to Decorate an Offset Fireplace

One of the most common mistakes of decorating a 70s offset fireplace is thinking you have to use the entire mantel.

Brick fireplace makeover after.

There is nothing that accentuates an asymmetrical design more than decorating the entire length of the space as if it were symmetrical.

Instead, pull your decor into the mantel space directly above the firebox. Use the firebox as your center point. The blank space above the remainder of the fireplace is ok to remain empty and be white space.

Brick fireplace painted with seating area.

If you have a hearth, you can try to balance the symmetry here instead with one or two larger items. In my case, a collection of wood bowls helps create balance.

Brick Fireplace in a Kitchen

When we originally planned our kitchen design, I wanted to remove the fireplace and have it be an opening into our new living room addition.

Brick fireplace in a kitchen.

Budget nixed that plan quickly. And I’m so glad it did!

Having a cozy fireplace in the kitchen creates so much charm and character. We love using the sitting area each day for morning coffee.

Seating area with side table.

The original 70s wood paneling became a beautiful statement once the orange brick was painted. It matches our walnut cabinetry beautifully.

70s Brick Fireplace Makeover | Before and After
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More Makeovers

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I hope this brick fireplace makeover inspires you to make simple and budget friendly changes if you don’t love your own brick fireplace.

Unpainted brick fireplace.

I’d love to hear your opinion on our basement fireplace! This fireplace uses the same brick and I’m waffling on whether or not to do a treatment, leave it as is, or paint. What would you do?

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~ Sarah

7 Comments

  1. I think the original brick fireplace in the basement looks great and since it goes to the ceiling adds an architectural element. It’s cozy but not overbearing. Upstairs your painted fireplace looks amazing. I have old red brick in a stacked pattern above and offset brick on the hearth. Eventually I want to tile it but I have other projects to complete before this one. Your updated fireplace may make me change my mind and paint it which is my second choice.

  2. I love the basement room! I might paint the bricks in a similar white tone used upstairs. Also, perhaps consider staining the single wooden mantle piece in the darker color used on the bookcase-cabinet standing next to the fireplace? It’s difficult to visualize the project without seeing the entire room. Best of luck with your projects, and thank you so much for sharing! Love your posts and tips!

    Blessings,
    Pamela Petrotta
    ppetrotta@mac.com

  3. I don’t think the basement fireplace looks as bad. It is kinda hard to tell without seeing the whole room.

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