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StylingInternal Brick Walls: How To Make Them Work

To some people, internal brick walls are a dream, to others, it’s a reminder of 1970s interior style they’d rather forget! But whether you want to highlight your brick or tone it right down, you’re in the right spot because we’re sharing the best ways to make brick walls work in modern homes.

Often when renovators are faced with a home full of exposed brick, the first instinct is to sheet it, paint it and forget about it. But, if you’d like to work with your brick (and save some cash), there are ways to make it a true styling success story. And no, painting it white isn’t the only option!

With some clever styling and creative thinking, internal brick walls can become the hero of your home, and in this article, we point you towards some ways to do it.

Paint it!

Large white painted internal brick wall in a living room.
Many renovators choose to paint internal brick walls. Source: Canva

The most obvious solution for breathing fresh life into a dated internal brick wall is to paint it. Known as ‘bagging’, painted brick retains the rustic look it was put there to achieve, but brings it more in line with your interior style. Whether you go for a safe neutral or a brave colour, you won’t believe the difference a coat of paint makes on a brick wall.

In a community renovation thread, one homeowner explains that “Bagged, and painted white walls were also a thing in mid-century modern houses. I have them in mine, they look great.”

Use artwork to change the look and feel

Urban apartment living room with an exposed brick wall covered in art.
Artwork adds character to brick walls. Source: Canva

The right piece of wall art has the power to transform a room – and yes, you can find something that will work on exposed brick! As another person cleverly suggests, “Rather than touching the walls, you could use art to create a visual break … and white photography could work well.”

Look for prints, paintings or fabulous tapestries with similar tones to the brick. Or, if you like to dabble in colour theory and love a bold look, choose a print or painting with opposite tones to your brick. Also, consider the textures and colours of your other decor to help you pick something that works.

Keep some, cover the rest

White exposed brick wall in a bedroom with timber beams.
Not every wall needs to be covered with plasterboard. Source: Canva

Love brick, but only in small doses? If the space is made up of multiple internal brick walls, another option is to sheet most walls with plaster and leave a single brick feature wall. Either paint it or leave it untouched as a nod to the home’s heritage and era.

Update the floors

Internal brick walls in a living room.
The right floors tie a room together. Source: Canva

Internal brick walls tend to go with houses of a certain era, and there’s a good chance you’re faced with some dated flooring as well. By replacing old tiles or carpets with floorboards, whether timber or hybrid flooring, you immediately bring the house into the current day. Plus, it adds loads of warmth and character to your home too.

Invest in modern furniture

Contemporary living room featuring a timber feature wall.
Modern furniture instantly revives tired brick. Source: Canva

Some well-chosen furniture brings clean lines and sleek materials to your space. Not only does it immediately freshen up that tired brick, but it creates a fantastic contrast to the rustic walls. What sort of furniture should you look for? Go for low-profile sofas and tables with crisp, clean lines. Materials like leather, metal, glass and timber all work well with brick.

Lighten the rest of the room

Small living room with a white sofa, black shelving and an exposed brick wall.
Balance bold brick with lighter tones. Source: Canva

Even dark-toned brick walls can still work provided the rest of the room balances it out. Another solution to dealing with a lot of exposed brick is to leave it alone but brighten up everything around it. Think modern flooring, a beautiful white stone bench, white furniture and plenty of lighting to lift the room.

Lean in to the industrial look

Modern industrial style living room with brick, black metal and timber features.
Brick is a match made in heaven for Industrial style. Source: Canva

Exposed brick can have a very industrial feel to it – in fact, a lot of urban offices feature exposed brick walls. If you like this interior style, you can work with your existing walls to bring it to life. Fabulous advice from one person is to “lean a bit into the industrial look. Keep the bricks as they are, darken up the wood stain and add some black elements.” Great thinking!

Update your doors and windows

Home foyer with black-rimmed glass doors and an exposed brick wall.
Updating your windows is a way to refresh brick walls. Source: Canva

New window frames and contemporary doors help bring dated internal brick walls into the modern age. As mentioned above, black metal window frames lean towards a modern-industrial theme, while white is great for minimalist themes.

Add sheers

Sheer curtains next to a red-brick wall and grey leather sofa.
Sheer curtains soften a brick room. Source: Canva

Brick is a very hard material, but breezy, flowing sheers in a light colour offset the hardness and bring casual elegance to spaces. Just remember, always go from the ceiling to the floor with your sheers – it’ looks luxe and makes rooms feel bigger.

Use plants for colour

Light and bright living room with open shelving and lots of indoor plants.
Plants work wonders for any room! Source: Canva

Bold pops of colour look sensational against internal brick walls (or any brick walls – think graffiti!). Along with considering great wall art, add plenty of plants to the space. Go for different heights with some up high (on shelving), some on side tables and others in floor pots or baskets. Also, plants bring good vibes and clean air!

Change the grout colour

White sofa against a red brick wall.
Consider re-grouting in a neutral shade. Source: Canva

Yes, it’s very tedious, but another option is to change the mortar of your brick walls to something lighter. As someone commented, “Changing the mortar lines to a lighter more neutral colour will modernise the entire house.”

Need more inspiration for your renovation? Head over to our collection of Renos & Builds and check out what other Aussies are doing with their homes!

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