Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

I’m no sure if it’s more appropriate to call this project “whitewashing” or “faux painting”, because it certainly involved a bit of each.

In my research, all the “whitewashing brick” tutorials featured porous, red brick – not my flat-slabbed industrial, gray brick we found on the backside of our fireplace.

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

So I turned to my long-standing sound credo, let’s just wing it.

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

1. White Base

I started with a VERY watered-down paint – about 5-8 parts water to one part white latex paint. Stir thoroughly.

I used a fat brush to apply, and old rags to wipe around the excess – I found wiping was better than dabbing, which left a weird texture.

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

Most tutorials I read used a 2:1 water to paint ratio. But, since our brick was not very porous I was worried about it just looked straight-up painted. (Not the look we were going for.) You can always add more paint people!

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

2. Depth and Variation

Because our brick wall was straight gray, I wanted to add some variation. I made a few different colors of gray paint, using a bit of black paint. I painted specific bricks a different color gray – emphasizing darkness in certain corners of the brick to create shading.

I also used some bright white paint to highlight corners of some bricks to help with this.

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

3. The Grout

You will need to decide what color you would like your grout to end up being. We liked the look of a whiter-grout, so I took a small paintbrush and used the same step 1 treatment on all of the grout.

Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

4. Final Layer

To bring together all of the different gray and white bricks, I added a little bit more white paint to my original watered down mixture. I went over the entire wall three times, wiping down each layer.


1. This was SUPER drippy. I had no interest in protecting our floor, since we are building right over it – but you should probably protect yours.

2. You can’t go wrong. When in doubt, dab, wipe, repeat.

3. Your arm should be moving CONSTANTLY. Otherwise your wall will just look drippy when the paint collects.

4. Layers. Layers. Layers. I probably did each step 3-4 times before moving on to the next step.

5. Back AWAY from the wall. Every few minutes, walk 10-15 feet away from the wall and see how it looks to ensure consistency.

6. Daylight. I paint at night all the time, but this project is definitely one you need daylight for. Harsh work lights will cast an uneven glare.

Now that we’ve started painting the room, I might do another layer to tint it. If I do I will sure let you know. : )


14 thoughts on “Tips on a DIY Whitewashed Brick Wall

  1. Looks great ! I love whitewashed brick fireplaces too. I did mine last year, but also mixed white grout in with the paint to make it thicker. Whitewashed brick really brightens up a room ! Great job

  2. thanks so much! adding the grout is a great idea to making it thicker. Fortunately we didn’t need to worry about protecting our floors, because mine was quick drippy. If I ever whitewash again I’ll have to remember that!

  3. so glad to see someone doing this treatment with color! I love the idea of whitewashing brick but I really don’t want the chalky look of white, especially since our walls are going to have a deeper color. It’s nice to see one way to do it with a multi-colored paint scheme.

  4. Kat! I’m so glad we connected on IG and wish we would have done so long ago! Your blog is incredible and all of the projects you guys have worked on are just amazing. I needed this post about whitewashing brick a few weeks ago — I was tired of our brick fireplace surround so I did almost the same thing. The white I used matched our trim, but the color of the brick made it appear SO much whiter for some reason. I ended up washing it more than once, and then topped it with a watered down paint the color of the walls (BM Cliffside Gray). It looks so-so, I’m happy with the overall look I just need to step back more often!

  5. Hi! We recently got a brick wall whitewashed like this by a professional. Unfortunately he didn’t match the color I had asked and now the white almost looks like painted brick. I was originally going for a rustic look with jist a very thin layer of white to tone down the red brick color to more of a light pink. Now what? It looks terrible! Can I sand it down a bit to get back to the brick color?

  6. Oh no!! I would try calling the paint professional you used and see what they say. I would also try sanding it and see if that helps you achieve the look you are going for. At this point it can’t hurt, right? Good luck!

  7. I recently saw on Jenna Sue Design Instastories that she was removing paint from a fireplace using paint stripper and a power sander. Maybe she will post on it soon. Good luck!

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