3 Crazy-easy Steps to a Painted Stone Fireplace: The Simplest How-to Ever!

Before moving into this house, we thought about painting the stone fireplace. We were having the whole interior painted at the time, so it made sense. While I’d thought about making ours a painted stone fireplace, we decided against it.

You can see our family room (with more pictures) on our “before” tour of the downstairs. Here’s another before shot of the non-painted stone fireplace there.

stone fireplace before painting, with dark wood mantel
Why we converted our wood-burning to a gas fireplace!

We’ll answer questions such as

  • “How do you paint a stone fireplace white?”
  • “Should you paint a stone fireplace?”
  • “Can a stone fireplace be painted?”
  • “Can you paint stone around fireplace?”
  • “Can you paint stone fireplace white?”
  • “What kind of paint do you use on a stone fireplace?”
  • “Why’d you use white paint and not leave it natural-looking?”

Painted Stone Fireplace:

The Decision

To be honest, at that point I wasn’t sure if we wanted a painted stone fireplace or not. I couldn’t tell if it was the salmon-colored walls that made it look bad, but I’m a “better safe than sorry” kinda gal. We had the painters leave it the way it was, since I wasn’t sure about painting the fireplace surround. We had much bigger fish to fry at the time. (Like replacing the roof and having a whole new HVAC system installed because the old one was leaking C02.)

At the time, I thought the grey stone fireplace might look too “cozy mountain cabin-y” and figured we could always change it later. (I do love a cozy mountain cabin; our house just isn’t one so it wouldn’t quite fit.) Matt talked about building a wood floor-to-ceiling fireplace facade. I knew we had options and with everything else we had going on, I waved away the fireplace as an easy-to-deal-with-later thing.

Below you can see how our fireplace looked looked before we put in our hardware floors. Doesn’t look too bad, if that’s the look you’re going for. The tile floor definitely had to go, though. (Not just for looks. We actually had a health reason they had to be removed, which was a surprise to us and not something we planned on, but that’s a different story for another time, my friend!)

Painted stone fireplace before:

stone fireplace with dark wood mantel
It’s hard to believe this is the same room!

Even after getting all new hardwood floors and painting the fireplace mantel white, this dark stone fireplace bugged me. It just didn’t fit with our style, and I started considering painting it. Inspiration was hard to find at the time, and no one could tell me how to do it. Did I need a special paint when painting a stone fireplace? Matt warned me it might take several coats and was a bit wary about my wanting to paint this fireplace surround.

After far too much time passed of looking at that old grey stone, I’d had enough. I was done with looking at the dark color. Regardless of whether we’d be changing it up in the future or not, I told Matt I needed paint and a paintbrush. Come hell or high water, I was determined to be painting this stone fireplace by dinnertime, no matter how many coats it took me.


“Are you sure about painting white on white?”

I know some may think it’s crazy to be painting a stone fireplace white when there are white walls to either side of it. Did I really want “white on white”? Yes, yes I did.

First, we intentionally chose a lot of white for this particular house. Click here to see why!

Second, while I was studying in Spain and traveling around parts of the Mediterranean, I felt like I saw a lot of white stone, and it’s beautiful. I just love it and I can’t tell you why—other than it makes me feel like I could be back there in a country where we took siestas and life was a bit more chill.

To give you an idea of the look I’m talking about, here are a few gorgeous examples:

Oh, I have more. But I’m trying not to show you 97,000 pictures of how beautiful it can be (because I believe there are that many)!

stone walls painted white in foyer

PAINted stone fireplace ideas

White Painted Stone Fireplace Inspiration!

And yes, I realize my entire house is not made of stone that I can paint white like this, but it shows you how fresh and cool it can be. And even though ours is just a lil’ fireplace in California, seeing the white stone brings Mediterranean joy to my life!

Here’s one large white stone fireplace example. I’d love to add some mortar between our fireplace stones and extend it to the ceiling like this, and I often think about going no mantel. Uber simple! We’ll see if I have the cajones to do that in future! Mwahaha!


“Exactly how do you paint a stone fireplace?”

If you came here looking for an in-depth “how to” on painting a stone fireplace or fireplace surround, you’ll either be thrilled or disappointed (but I think you’ll be thrilled!) to read what I’m about to tell you.

Because we had already finished painting the fireplace mantel, it was just painting the actual stones I had to focus on.

Nope, I didn’t need any special paint. I didn’t need to do any special prep work. My answer to you on how to go about painting a stone fireplace white is as simple as

1. Make sure the stones are clean.

2. Get white paint and a paintbrush.

3. Paint over the stone until you’re happy.

That was it. Told you I like to keep things simple!

This could even work with painting a rock fireplace as well, depending on the type of rock.

How to paint a stone fireplace? Just go for it!

It was so easy that even my 5-year-old helped me with painting our stone fireplace surround for about half an hour. (What can I say? It looked fun to her! Matt warned me it could turn into a disaster but do I listen to those warnings? Not usually.)


Now, I do realize there are MANY other things you could do to a stone fireplace. You could do a whitewash. You could do a German schmear. So many different treatments you can do to get a certain look. Me? At that point I honestly didn’t care about special treatments. I just wanted that dark surround covered up.

And guess what? It only took me one coat of paint, plus a few touchups, to get our stone fireplace looking like the below.

Painted stone fireplace (after):

painted stone fireplace, white with white mantel and round mirror

mirror | plates | vase | basket

Painted stone fireplace (after):

painting stone fireplace white with painted mantel

mirror | plates | vase | basket


The future of this white painted stone fireplace.

Now, is this fireplace finished forever? Probably not. Do I have ideas on changing it up? You betcha. For example, as mentioned earlier, I increasingly think about extending the stone up to the ceiling. Why? Mainly because we don’t have massive soaring high ceilings, and that would visually help the room feel taller. (Like the tricks I used in our bathroom here, here, and here to make the ceilings look higher than they are.)

At this point I’m not thinking about doing any wood treatments over this fireplace, as I’m not sure that’s the style I’m going for, but you never know. My style is constantly evolving and my ideas are like hope—they spring eternal.


Final Thoughts.

For now, I’m 100% content with the old 80s grey stone being gone and something fresher and cleaner and brighter in its place. For how long I hemmed and hawed about whether to paint this fireplace or not, I’ve expressed thankfulness after painting it for even longer. Randomly, for months, I would catch a glimpse of the white stone and tell Matt,

“Have I mentioned HOW GLAD I am that I finally painted that fireplace?!?”

white stone fireplace painted with white mantel and neutral decor

mirror | vase | basket

My joy has been so great that, regardless of her design preferences, I know Marie Kondo would approve of my painting this stone fireplace whiter than the driven snow.

Painted stone fireplace before and after:

stone fireplace before painting with dark wood mantel
Wanna see more of our house before we went to town on it? You’re in luck!

completed painting stone fireplace in living room

mirror | plates | vase | basket

The best part about this fireplace makeover…

Even though the exterior is now beautiful, the interior makeover of this stone fireplace is the most important thing! See the 5 reasons we converted to a gas fireplace from a wood-burning one! Matt shows you step-by-step how to easily do the fireplace conversion yourself. (This has been life-changing!)


See all our house projects HERE!

Or, if you’d like our help RIGHT NOW check out our plans & guides!

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Just went through this exact situation! Should I paint my gold, green, rust slate surround fireplace white! Just went for it before even seeing your post:) I LOVE it! Although, I used white primer first and was thinking about using flat paint in pure white by sherwin williams. My dilemma. Do I use flat paint for slate and semi gloss for white mantel? Did you use the same sheen for stone/mantel or different? And can you share which sheen/sheens you used? Thanks so much! Lisa from Colorado

    1. Jess

      Yes, you can use flat for the surround and semi-gloss for your mantel! I think we did something similar, although Matt says he thinks we used velvet on it all so what can I say except we did it so long ago (and before we started the blog)! 🙂

      Thanks Lisa!
      – Jess & Matt

  2. Kelly

    Looks great! We have a peanut stone fireplace which is used throughout our little town (think retention walls, bridges etc). I have not wanted to paint it for that reason but I am over it. It would suit my more coastal cottage decor /look if painted white. Can you please share which paint you used for your fireplace?

    Thank you.

    1. Kelly

      *Retaining walls*

    2. Jess

      Hi Kelly!

      We used Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore. Love that you’re painting yours! 🙂

      Jess & Matt

  3. Allison

    Is your fireplace white paint the same color as your walls? We have a massive faux stone fireplace surround that is brown and hideous. I plan on painting it this week! Our walls are painted real wood paneling and we used Swiss Coffee by Behr. My plan was to paint the faux stone the same color (our trim color is a constrasting ivory shade, color unknown as we didn’t paint it) but now I’m wondering if a brighter shade may be a better idea? Curious if yours is the same as your wall color or not. thanks!

    1. Jess

      Hi Allison! YES, the paint is the same color as our walls! If you do end up painting it, it’d be fun to see how your fireplace turns out. 🙂

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