How To Paint A Brick Wall Without Really Trying

We moved to a new house a few years ago, from California to Missouri. It was a culture shock of course. But the worst part was the dark and gloomy house, full of paneling and bricks from 1970. Some people say you should never paint brick...but when two walls in two rooms of your main living space are real bricks, you kind of have NO CHOICE.
I honestly thought I was going to lose my mind brush the paint on or roll it on...but then a friend suggested something else. Spray it on?
Luckily I had purchased several gallons of a beautiful cream colored paint (Valspar - Cottage Stone in Semi-gloss Latex), and when my friend was visiting, she said "Let's paint that brick!" I was a bit nervous what my husband would say, since men don't like painted wood or bricks very much. He is learning quickly that I paint it ALL!

Some awesome things about this method include: no priming, no rolling, quick dry time, easy clean up (if you cover everything), affordable and uses very little paint.

Here's what you have to do to paint your brick walls:

In an empty gallon milk jug, pour 1/4 paint to 3/4 water. Shake well till mixed thoroughly. Will look like milk!

Then, using a funnel (or not) pour carefully into a spray bottle. I got the spray bottles from Lowes in the cleaning section for about $3, sort of the industrial kind. Some of them work great and some stop working right away, so you may want to buy more than one.

If your brick is clean you can start. If not, make sure it's dust and cobweb free.

Cover your floors with waterproof tarps. Have lots of paper towels on hand. You can either cover your windows with plastic or just be ready to clean up the paint drips immediately after spraying.

Now you're ready to start spraying your bricks! There's a technique to it...swoosh your wrist across the area you are painting at the same time as pulling the trigger on the sprayer. You are trying to get an even coat of thin paint. With this method you will still have some color variations showing through and it won't be completely "white". It brightens the brick. You can even do more coats if you want it to be brighter and whiter.
But really, you can do the spraying in any way that is easy for you!

While you've sprayed till your hand aches, you will need to dab at the drippy areas with a wad of paper towels. You don't want drips drying and looking ugly all over. You can also use a paint brush to squish more of the drips into the crevices and grout lines. You might even start feeling artsy and creative!
You will notice with spraying the paint on that you are saving tons of time not having to paint into the "grout" areas...they get covered nicely with the spray.

We were able to complete one wall in the breakfast room in about 1/2 an hour. Clean up took about another 1/2 an hour (including drips, the floor and the windows) since I had not covered things well enough. We got done right as my husband walked in the door. He was speechless...but liked it! Yay for painted brick and clever friends!

I totally suggest painting boring red brick if it's on the interior of your home. It's quick and easy and you'll love how bright it is. After I finished the fireplace and painting the paneling I almost feel like it's light in there! The friend who helped me with this has also painted the exterior of her home's chimney which is made of stone...her neighbors were jealous!

Make sure to wash out all your brushes and you can keep the unused watered down paint for about a month. After that is starts going funky and chunky and the chemicals can eat through the plastic of the bottle.

Check out the Before shots:

After painting started:
2 years ago
Last year - this looks finished, but it's not
Last Month - in transition
Final (except we finished the trim better)

NOTE: I used latex semi-gloss indoor paint for this project in Cottage Stone color (valspar), but exterior works too. You may also use this for outdoor brick or stone re-facing. It really works! The paint effect has not faded or chipped in the past three years since I did it. Seriously!
Feel free to email me with any questions about this project.


  1. Painting brick wall is really a tough task and it is time consuming as well. So you can make it as easy as possible by changing methods of painting. The blog is really impressive and i have learned lot of things about brick painting.
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  2. You have made the whole process of house painting a real fun. I loved this post.