This rustic whitewash fireplace transformation is a great way to update the look of your entire room! For this project, we used a combination of the German Schmear technique and a White Wash to give the final appearance. This combination technique gave the fireplace texture and variety that the original brick lacked. Follow the steps below for this easy transformation!


  • Pre-mixed White Grout: We used Custom Building Products Grout from Home Depot
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Drop Clothe
  • Rag
  • Large Putty Knife or Trowel
  • White Paint
  • Paint Brush

How to Start Your Rustic Whitewash Brick Fireplace

First, wipe down the brick for a quick clean and then tape the walls and floor to protect it from the coating being applied.

This two sided fireplace desperately needed an update!
This is the brick and color we started with when we moved into the house

Next, to start the german schmear technique, take your grout and add a small amount of water to give it a texture that will be easier to apply. Then apply the grout across the brick using a large putty knife/trowel or a rag. It is easiest to do this in small sections and work your way across. Add the amount of texture you want to the brick and let it dry for 1-2 days. This will let the brick absorb the color/liquid so you can get a true idea of what the coating will look like in it’s final stage. The below pictures are 24 hours after adding the grout. The color of the brick went from red to almost a purple hue. I decided that although I liked the variety of the brick, I wanted a whiter final appearance, so I went another step further.

Kitchen Fireplace side, after spreading the white grout for rustic look

White Washed Fireplace technique; complete the final look

For this final step, pour some of your white paint into a container and based on how thick you want the paint to look, add either 50/50 water to paint or for a thicker application, use 25/50. It is something you will have to do a few trials of on a small area of brick. Adding water to the paint will make it run down so you have to work fast. The brick will also absorb a lot of the water/paint so it will end up being lighter than it looks at the time of application.

After your paint is mixed, use a paint brush go across each brick and grout line with the diluted paint. You can use a rag to wipe away some of the paint, blend it, or give it variety brick by brick. The texture from the first technique will give you a lot of the variety in the brick and the white wash technique will brighten the final look. If you want a more unfinished, rustic look, either stop after the first part of the project or dilute your white paint even more (75/25).

The fireplace after using the German Schmear and White Wash Technique
The Finished Fireplace Makeover

To get this completed fireplace look, check out How to Transform Your Fireplace – In One Day. Learn how to easily build your upper mantel!

For another great DIY project, Staircase Makeover, click here!

Once you finish your fireplace, you can add this Black and White Floral Print Giveaway! This perfect print can be easily added to your mantel or foyer decor!