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Whitewash a brick wall

If you have a dark face brick wall, or perhaps a colour of brick that you don't like, you could consider applying a whitewash to the wall to lighten it up and neutralise the colour.


Face brick walls were trendy in the 70s and 80s and there are many homes that have a face brick feature wall in their living spaces. But not everyone loves the look of a face brick wall, and some may be in a colour that no longer complements the decor in your rooms, or perhaps makes the room feel dark. If this is the case, you could consider applying a whitewash to the face brick wall to lighten it up and neutralise the colour.

John and Sherry at didn't love the orange-brown colour of the face brick wall in their living room, so they used a whitewash technique to paint over the brick wall. The project didn't cost anything - using leftover paint and rags from previous projects.

GOOD TO KNOW: Use a matt or satin paint for the whitewash mix.

The first step was to clean the brick wall using a brush and vacuum cleaner. You ideally want the bricks as clean as possible before you start painting.





Using a mixture of one part paint to one part water, use a whitewashing brush to paint over the wall, brick by brick. Before too much paint is absorbed into the brick, wipe over the painted areas with a dry rag. This removes excess paint and gives a faded whitewash effect.

GOOD TO KNOW: This process is messy and it's a good idea to put down drop cloths or newspaper.

After painting on the first coat of whitewash, stand back to assess the look. Some may be happy with just a single coat of whitewash (above), while others may prefer to block out more colour coming through from the bricks (below), in which case you simply apply another coat of whitewash. For the second coat use one part paint to two parts water, or adjust the mix according to your personal preference.

Whitewashing a brick wall allows all the rustic detail of the bricks to show through and has a matt finish, whereas painting would completely block the bricks and cover up most of their detail.

Watch the short video below for a close-up detail on whitewashing the brick wall.