If you are looking to update your fireplace but have reservations about completely covering all of the original bricks, apply a whitewash treatment. Many white-washing recipes are available to brighten your fireplace bricks with a new, energetic look, while retaining a traditional feel. You can create an easy whitewash solution by combining water and paint.
Clean the exterior of your fireplace by wiping down the bricks with a clean, dry cloth to remove any cobwebs, soot or other loose debris. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with an attached hose to clean the fireplace bricks.
Mix the whitewash solution by combining an equal part of white paint and water in an empty bucket. To hide extremely porous bricks with more opaque coverage, add a little more white paint to the whitewash mixture and use a paintbrush to brush a small inconspicuous brick area of your fireplace to view the results.
Brush the whitewash onto the bricks using a paintbrush. You can choose to roll the whitewash onto the bricks with a paint roller, but the paintbrush will allow you to apply less whitewash at a time so that you can customize the look of the brick. Apply the whitewash treatment to a few bricks at a time.
Dab the wet whitewashed bricks with a clean, dry cloth to wipe away noticeable drips of the wet solution and remove any whitewash that looks too thick. Continue brushing and wiping the whitewash onto the bricks until you finish the entire fireplace.
Step back and evaluate the whitewashed bricks. Apply one or more additional whitewash treatments for a more opaque, less translucent appearance.