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Exposed brick walls have long been a seen as a holy grail of interiors, the perfect solution for creating a stylish, yet understated feature wall look. For some lucky homeowners, stripping away an ugly drywall is all it takes to reveal a beautiful brick wall that lends itself to a range of interiors styles; from country to industrial.
However, there are of course drawbacks to revealing the literal building blocks of your home and getting the look right takes careful preparation, attention to detail and patience. Our guide talks you through the process of creating a feature with exposed bricks, to ensure you achieve the desired finish.
- See more: DIY projects to do in a day or less.
1. Pick a wall to expose
An exposed brick expanse is a dramatic statement, as whichever wall you choose will become the focus of the room. The easiest wall to strip will be one with no doors or windows, as working around edges will slow you down, plus will need filling and careful repair when you’re finished. Look at how many radiators and sockets are on the wall, too.
If a whole wall is a bit too much of a commitment for you, how about exposing a fireplace instead? We love this cosy little nook (above) from homeowner Jade, who's matched raw brick with dark grey in her living space. Balance out with modern additions like a sleek mirror to stop it looking too traditional, but embrace the hygge with plenty of throws and cushions too.
Have a wander around Jade's home and find out how she extended on a budget.
Bare brick works better with a ‘raw’ contemporary look, so we would advise changing the style of any face plates and radiators to metal if they are not already. An exposed brick wall marries itself to an industrial-style interior, so if you go for this look, consider running power cables into some galvanised trunking.
2. Prepare the wall
The scary thing about revealing old brickwork, is there is no real way of telling what the wall will look like until it’s done. If you are the sort of person that will be unhappy with rustic, uneven bricks, cracks and patches then proceed directly to the cheat option (below).
Once you’re ready to take the plunge, first drill a pilot hole to be sure there is actually brick back there. To ensure the bricks are of good enough quality to make a feature in a scheme, uncover a test site (approximately 30 square centimetres), which should give you a good idea of the quality of your bricks. If you are not happy with them, stop there, but if you like the look, get ready to tackle the rest.
3. Protect yourself and your surroundings
Remember the wee shelves I made last week? Well I put them up today 🙌🏻 yay! They look so much better than the upside down ikea mosslanda that I had up before. And when friends turn up for coffee with 2 wooden salt & pepper pots to match your egg cups, it’s not a bad day!! Cheers @tori.85 #kitchendecor #shelving #shelves #shelfie #myeclecticmix #vintagestyle #howivintage #retrostyling #myhshome #enamelware #meakin #pocketofmyhome #mydiymydecor #mycurrentview #myhometrend #nestandthrive #styleithappy #colourpop #sahstylists #mycreativeinterior #colourmyhome #diyhome #walltowallstyle #spotlightonmyhome #mycuratedaesthetic #mycreativeinterior #dailydecordetail #myhomevibe #ladygraybrandrep #ladygraygraphics #sorealhones @real_homes Kellie Mairs 🤖 (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by @jellieandthebeans on Oct 18, 2018 at 6:31am PDT
You will need goggles, gloves, masks and sensible clothing. Seal off the rest of the room, too, to ensure nothing gets damaged in the process of stripping the wall. Invest in the toughest plastic sheeting you can find and lay all over the room, floor and furniture, and place cardboard directly under your work area. Remember, this project is going to create some serious dust, so it’s wise to have two buckets on the go for removing the old plaster, so you can continually empty them in small loads.
4. Be patient
We can’t lie, stripping a wall back to brick is a hard and dirty job, but one that is worth it once completed. Think of it as more of an archaeology project than a demolition job, one that needs careful, patient attention to get the best finish.
Don’t just go at the wall with a crow bar or hammer away at random spots – this will only create more dust and a bad finish. Starting at your test area, hit the wall with precision across a one foot square radius. Then, pry the plaster off with a putty knife, which will hopefully come off in chunks. Some parts of the wall will be trickier than others to reveal, but be persistent and don’t lose heart – it will look amazing.
5. Clean and finish the exposed brick
Happy Sunday! I'd like to tell you today has been a day of rest but instead it's been running errands, procrastinating and I've definitely had the Sunday blues today despite having lovely things planned this week as I'm still on half term! Nothing a glass of wine or 3 and Strictly can't fix! I'm not sure if I've ever fully declared the extent of my love for strictly on here but now we're such good friends, you need to know that I'm obsessed. Totally and utterly and it's my dream to have a Strictly themed birthday party one year (my birthday is in November, right in the middle of the series) so if it's still running when I hit the next big milestone birthday you all need to dig out your sequins and lycra because it will happen! (Fun fact, Mama Oxfordone types out the list of contestants and what they're famous for each year and makes sure I have a copy, she also contributes 95% of the phone in votes- God I love her ...and better get some tickets in the ballot sometime soon for her) aaaanyone with me? Anyone actually been to a Strictly themed party?! (Don't make me too jealous!) Have a lovely evening all 💕 #diningtable #diningroomideas #diningroom #eames #exposedbrick #industrialinterior #eclecticdecor #eclecticinteriors #eclecticallymade #mannequin #suyhome #reallinstahomes #openplan #renovation #sorealhomes #dslooking #myhometrend #myhouzz #styleithappy #comedinewithme #interiorsinpo #interiors123 #interiorstyling #interior4inspo #decorcrushing #diningroomdecor Lissi (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by @oxfordone on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:49pm PDT
Once you have exposed the wall sponge it down to remove as much dust as possible. Then go in and deep clean each brick using a wire brush and a mix of equal parts sugar soap combine with salt and mixed with water the make a paste.
If there is any sections of stubborn plaster, use brick acid or sandblaster to get a smoother finish. Finish the wall with a terracotta sealant.
6. Paint it (black, white, whatever colour you like)
Not keen on the colour of exposed brick, but love the raw look? Tie your feature space in with your interior scheme by giving it a few coats of paint. Give the wall a scrub, wipe it down, fill in any cracks with a filler, apply a primer and you're good to go! Use two coats for a full finish. We love the beachy look of this white wall above, but black and dark blue looks equally as good – as do pastel shades like ice-cream pink and green.
- Best mural ideas.
How to cheat the look
Sometimes exposed brick just isn't a practical choice, but there's good news – you can still get the same effect with a wallpaper or mural! With a whole host of colours and styles out there, too, it's easier than ever to get the industrial exposed brick look you want on a budget. Brick-effect wallpaper is particularly good for kids' rooms as a grown-up but inexpensive replacement for their old decor.
Like this? Check out the rest of this transformed Georgian home.
If real exposed brick walls are a far off dream, you can always recreate the look with cladding. Modern brick cladding comes in a wide variety and type of bricks. Try Reclaimed Brick Tile (opens in new tab) for an authentic aged feel, or Slimbrick (opens in new tab) or Matclad (opens in new tab) for brick slips that you apply with specialist adhesive.
- Mid century modern decorating ideas
How To Build An Exposed Brick Veneer On An Interior Wall - YouTube
- Examine the state of the brick you wish to expose before starting. ...
- Protect the floor nearest the wall by covering it with sheeting. ...
- Start breaking up the plaster with a masonry chisel and hammer.
- Once you have removed most of the plaster, you can then focus on the tough sections that remain.
Apply the brick sealer to any porous surface and allow the sealer to be absorbed. You will notice the sealer soaking into the pores of the brick or stone. A small amount of product will also dry on the surface thus binding the surface and preventing dust.
Paint. Paint is one of the easiest ways you can enhance the appearance of your boundary walls. It can either help the wall disappear into the garden or turn an ugly exterior wall into a feature. If you want to disguise the look of your boundaries, try painting the walls in a dark colour.
Exposed brick brings a sense of warmth, character, and texture to a space. It also speaks to the history of a building, of the hand that carefully laid down each brick, and of a craft that's quickly becoming less and less common.
DIY Brick Wall - DIY Network - YouTube
Make new brick pavers look old - DIY antique brick look using stains and ...
Faux Brick Wall DIY: How To Make It Look More Realistic In 2 Steps