Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Small Changes, Big Impact - Painting Our Exterior Brick

We have made extensive changes to our home, inside and out.  However, some of the most high impact changes happened to be the cheapest / easiest ones we've made.

(Our house at the end of last summer)

Last year, I shared the before and after of our exterior, here.  However, the many changes that we made were done over the course of about 4 or 5 years.  The change that took our renovations from nice, to wow, in my opinion, was\ painting our brick and adding fresh landscaping.  Don't just take my word for it, take a look.  Here is a picture of our home after we changed the roof-line/windows/siding:

This picture was taken just about a year ago.  I remember being so excited to get our flower boxes planted, stepped back to take it in, and realized it was kind of sad looking!  That is when I knew something had to be changed.  Here is our home after new paint/plants:

The paint update and landscaping were by far the cheapest changes we made and really finished the look of our home.  I chose all of the grasses/shrubs and painted the exterior on my own:

The hardest part of the whole process, in my opinion, was choosing the brick color!  Ok, colors; you may have noticed that our front steps, which were previously stained brown, were lightened with stone and white paint.  I'm not going to lie, I hired that portion out!

As for the brick, here is the easy step by step:

1) Always buy paint samples and put them up!  I actually spent more money on samples than I did on the actual gallon of paint that it took to paint the brick!  But it was worth it.  The color I thought I wanted and the color we chose were very different.  After getting all the samples up, I knew I wanted to stay in the same color family but it was important to me to create high contrast.  That meant either a very light or very dark paint.  The dark paint was grounding and actually makes our siding read a little bit lighter, at least to me.  I've always wished our siding was lighter so I was really happy with the color choice!

Here is a (lousy) instagram picture of just a few of the colors I tried:

2) Prime the brick using a thick/nappy roller.  

3) Paint, using any paint that is used on masonry, again with the nappy roller.  We have a JC Licht / Benjamin Moore right by our house so I went with the paint recommended by their employees.    

That's it.  It took me a day to paint the brick.  Just make sure that there isn't any rain in the forecast for a day or two after you paint.  To finish, I added annual flowers that contrasted nicely with the paint color:        

In my original reveal post, I mentioned that I wanted to paint our door black.  It seemed that many of those that commented thought that I should keep the door stained since I have a solid wood door:  

So, I've held off, but I'm still SOOO tempted to make the change!  Our door is in need of a good staining, so what do you guys think?  Stick with the stain, or should we paint it black?  Or a black stain?!?!?!  

Please stop back by tomorrow to share your outdoor painting projects:

 I'll be joining Kristin, from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Tiffany, from Living Savvy, Angie from Echoes of Laughter, Lucy from Craftberry Bush, Shauna, from Satori Design for Living to host the party!  Be sure to stop by and check out their decorating projects!


  1. The painted brick is so much better and more unified with the rest of your home. And the landscaping is fantastic!!!

    Angela @ Number Fifty-Three

  2. Everything looks tied together so much better. Now your plantings pop instead of that brick. I'd leave the door stained since it's wood (and that's definitely a higher end look than what most people have). Perhaps you could try a deeper stain color first before you go with the black (if you're so inclined).

  3. that really made a huge change. i think you're trying to make me jealous (just kidding). what i wouldn't give to paint our brick-the problem is that it's pretty much the whole house, and the boyfriend thinks it will be a lot of upkeep. that doesn't stop me from making mockups of it painted and sending them his way, of course. maybe i'll send him yours!

  4. your post title is spot on - small change big impact! I love it.

  5. Dawn, I had no idea how much you had done to the exterior of your house. I had to go back and read your post from last fall. It's beautiful! This is on our to-do list for maybe later this year so I'm glad I was able to read through what you've done (and I might be emailing you with more questions). Kudos to you for taking on that exterior paint job - that's great that you were able to do that. And your window boxes are so lush - what's your secret? :) All around beautiful! You must be thrilled with the results.

  6. I really love the painted brick. After one year how is the paint holding up? I am thinking of painting some of the brick around my house, like yours its a brick, siding mix. The siding was chosen but it doesn't really match the color of brick we have so its really needs a cohesive look. However every time i mention it to my architect friends they practically shout "don't do it" and then list off the reasons why. I am just wondering do you see any cracks in the grout or is it in need of being repainted? Love to hear!

    1. After a year the paint has held up well.

      I didn't think twice about painting the brick - and my dad even warned me against it - because it is such a small footprint of the overall house. At this point in time, I haven't noticed any cracks in the grout. BUT, it did take a lot of passes to cover the grout with the roller. I imagine that this would take a LONG time if painting a whole house.

      I'm not sure if that helped or not. Have you ever seen white washed brick? If I were to buy an all brick home that is red/orange in the future, I have no doubt I would white wash the brick. I wonder if the upkeep is easier if it is white washed since this has a weathered effect?

    2. Thanks Dawn! I have no doubt that I will eventually paint our brick to give the outside a more cohesive look but I hear so many people say "don't do it" it makes me second guess! I love how yours turned out and I pinned it for future reference!!!! Thanks for answering my question!

  7. Forgot to mention that your door one of the one's I'd like to replace our old doors. I love that style door and I think I would paint it black.

  8. Oh the color is gorgeous!! I love that last picture with the family! XO

  9. Wood door. Black would look too much like the window color and not as inviting as the warmth of wood.