Exposed brickwork is an extremely popular design feature. It gives an urban, slightly shabby-chic, effortless look to a home. But bricking over a wall can be expensive and time consuming – not to mention reduce the space of a room or walkway. There are methods that can be employed to create a brick-like effect on other wall surfaces.

Colored bricks wall
credit: Colors Hunter - Chasseur de Couleurs/Moment/GettyImages
How to Paint Faux Brick

Painting Faux Brick on a Concrete Wall

If your concrete wall is unpainted, the base color of the concrete can act as faux cement or mortar for your brickwork. The grey tone of concrete will make a good dupe for the in-between of your bricks. Concrete also often has a rougher surface, which makes imitating brickwork easier.

Apply tape across your concrete in a brick-like fashion. Then, using a sponge or roller, apply terracotta or brick-red paint over the wall. Using two colors or more can give a more dimensional, realistic effect.

Alternatively, you can use sponges to create the fake brick shapes. Select a sponge that has the same size dimensions as a brick. Dip it in your "brick" color, then sponge on at intervals, which imitate genuine brickwork. To add dimension, a second, much lighter press of the sponge in a different but complimentary tone gives a more brick-like finish.

Painting Faux Brick on a Wooden Wall

Typically, wood will require a base color in order to create a faux brick effect. Make sure the wood is sanded and untreated, otherwise the paint will peel off. Choose a putty tone to paint the backdrop of your bricks to look like mortar.

Next, you'll want to add your fake bricks. With a wood wall, you'll need to take more care to make bricks look dimensional as the wall will be totally smooth and without the nuances of bricks. Choose at least two complimentary colors. Remember that in real brick walls, not all bricks are uniformly colored, so bear that in mind.

Painting the bricks onto wood can be done in a variety of ways. You could use a brick stencil, and work on a section of the wall at a time. Be careful to allow paint to fully dry before moving the stencil to avoid smudging, which is a dead giveaway. You could also use the sponge method described above.

Painting Faux Brick on a Plaster Wall

Again, painting faux brick over a plaster wall requires more attention to detail in order to convincingly imitate the real thing. Like with wood, you'll also need to lay down a base color for the mortar.

You can use the stencil or sponge method with plaster walls, but many favor a freehand method. This involves painting each individual brick with brushes or sponges. It's trickier and more time consuming but is by far the best way to get a realistic finish on a plaster wall. It also gives more creative control – you can create faux age marks, soot blackening and even cracks or texture. If you do go free hand, it's still a good idea to put down some tape markers in order to keep your "bricks" straight and orderly.