My Plans to Lighten the Brick Floor in My Foyer

A round up of whitewashed brick floors that have inspired me to paint mine.

Brown brick floor in foyer of home Brick Floor in Foyer

Here is what the brick floor looks like from the second floor.

Looking from entryway of house into brick floored foyer.

The front entryway of my house is a 2-story open space with a staircase and railing with lots of white balusters across the second floor.

DIY staircase makeover on a budget

Do you remember when I painted them? EVERYTHING used to be brown. I named the post with the tutorial on how I painted the balusters: How to Paint Staircase Balusters Without Losing Your Mind  :-)

dark brown brick floor in large open foyer

The space has come a long way, especially after we created a closet under the staircase with a hidden door to access it.

Open foyer in home with brown brick floor

Back in the summer, I painted the sideboard a navy blue. I love the color and it added a needed pop of color to the large open space.

Hidden Door being built Under Staircase

I also love the brick floor, but would like to make the design layout of the bricks have more impact. I got an idea on how to do this when we were finishing up creating the hidden door under the staircase.

Brick floor and hidden closet on steps

When we sanded the walls, it created a lot of dust. I liked the way the white dust settled into the recessed mortar areas between the bricks.

Whitewashed brick floor in bathroom with shiplap walls

So much so, that I started to look for images in Pinterest and Instagram on how I could paint the brick. I am thinking about adding lime or whitewashing over the mortar lines so they are a subtle white to look something like the brick floor in this room.

Whitewashed brick floor next to wood floor
Brick floor in hallway

Or like this brick floor.

I don’t think I will add as much white to the bricks themselves…

 brick floor layout design ideas


…but more to the mortar like I was whitewashing the grout on a tile floor.

brown brick floor

I think the white will add just enough accent to add impact to the brick layout and more character to the floor overall.

Floor Decor for a Brick Floor

View of brick foyer floor from adjacent room in house

Many of you have suggested I add an area rug to the space. This does look nice and adds a layer of texture and color.

I have played around with a few area rugs over the 3 years we have lived in the house, but ended up removing each. We walk across the space from kitchen to bedroom and back. All the rugs I have tried look great, but they end up becoming a tripping hazard. A few were too thick and the front door would get caught on them when being opened. Plus, we don’t use the doors to come and go… everyone enters our house through the garage or lake side of the house. At these doors I have door mats to wipe our feet.

We found the rugs a nuisance. So function has won out over pretty.

In the fall, we added new darker flooring to the master bedroom. The golden wood floor in the kitchen will be getting refinished a darker color very soon. It will be nice when all the flooring will be a similar darker shade that will make the rooms flow better into each other.

Brick floor in entryway and foyer

With all the floors around the foyer finally the same shade, I think adding white to the recessed mortar areas will make the floor pop, making it have more visual impact.

AFTER: Want to See How The Floor Turned Out?

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  1. Did you seal the German schmear? I was told if you did that the brick would go back to its original color!! Trying to decide the best thing to do :) ty

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mandy – I did not seal it and it has lightened a little, but not much. If you seal it, I would use a flat or matte waterbased sealer that won’t yellow over time.

  2. Lindsay Melrose says:

    I have recently found your Pinterest and Blog and I am sorta obsessed with looking around and exploring all youve done.

    I ? the brick and think that the best of ideas happen organically – as in dust settling into the brick – lol thats something I would have done said or did!

    Also that BLUE is radiant and adds the perfect touch to tie in and bring the Foyer together.

    We have an all brick home with orangey undertones and on a budget since mpving in and fixing the bones of it, I am always inspired to upcycle and redo what I might already have before buying new pieces.

    Just love your blog and appreciate the detailed posts! God Bless

  3. Hi! Did you complete this project? I would love to see it! I searched for another post in your archives and couldn’t find it so if you did one, could you please post the link? Thanks!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joanna – I just finished whitewashing the brick floor in my foyer. I took the photos yesterday and will get the post written and posted on Tuesday morning. :-)

  4. Doris Paciello says:

    DO IT! Can’t wait to see it.

  5. Li wen Rui says:

    Best possible makeover for a foyer. To help you get more ideas, there is a great website that can help – There are some wondeful Roman and Bamboo blinds that can help you with your design!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patricia – Thanks for the link. Grout Renew is great product and so easy to use. I have used it myself in my previous house and still have some leftover. I am going to test it out to see what it will look like. I would like to buy a steam cleaner like Young House Love did to get all the built up dirt and wax from the floor before I start to paint. :-)

  6. Bobbi Brumfield says:

    I absolutely love the navy blue accents. Beautiful! What a transformation!

  7. laura janning says:

    I have painted everything …..but brick. oh i can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  8. An issue I’ve always noticed with your foyer brick is that the grout lines don’t appear straight. Love, love, love whitewashed brick, although usually on walls, and fear that focusing on adding more white to the grout than the bricks, themselves, will make for greater contrast, thereby accentuating the waviness and also making the net effect appear perhaps ‘choppy.’ You don’t have the benefit of the herringbone pattern, in your examples….which would afford a nice juxtaposition to the clean, straight lines of the wood floors of the rooms on either side… as the herringbone is perceived differently by the eye than tracking across an expanse where straightness is expected. Just think more uniformity in the color might make it less ‘busy.’ It’s unfortunate you’re not able to incorporate a rug to break up the area, visually, but can appreciate all your reasons against using one. Look forward to seeing how it turns out.

  9. I am so digging this idea! I was worried at first you were going to just replace the brick but I love this idea, can’t wait to see it!

  10. I really like your floor but I think that it would look great the way you planned to change it. Can’t wait to see.

  11. Love your idea! Can’t wait to see the results

  12. I can’t wait to see how this comes out. Is there currently a sealer on your brick? My friend has a similar issue so I will be following. I hope your idea works…
    Just an aside, if for some reason you paint it and you don’t like it or it doesn’t hold up, I painted brick floors black for a client in a paint called Breakthrough. They looked amazing. You can have paint tinted any color. This was in the foyer of a dance studio and it saw a lot of traffic. It held up beautifully.

    1. We have a sealer on our brick that’s thick and hard like varnish. No one seems to know how to get it off. I was thinking some kind of acid but no one seems to know.

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Lesla – The varnish can be removed, but it is a messy job and the products needed can be toxic if you don’t have a lot of ventilation. If you want to try the less toxic approach first. I would suggest trying CitraStrip. It is a natural, low odor stripper. It takes a little longer and you may have to repeat the process, but it should work.

        You could also try a paint/varnish remover like Strip-Eze or KleenStrip, but these products are pretty toxic. Wear rubber gloves and eye-protection and follow the directions on the packaging to remove the varnish. It can burn your skin and the fumes are intense, so you have to be very careful.

        Once the varnish is removed, the floor would need to be rinsed with detergent and water and then rinsed to make sure all the chemicals are removed from the surface. It would be a messy job, but can be done if you keep all the windows open in the house so the fumes leave the house. If the brick was stained under the sealer, the bricks may dry to a new color since they now would be minus the stain that was on them before.

        You could also look into Muriatic Acid. I don’t know enough about how to use this safely, so I can’t advise you to use it. There may be some information online about how to use it safely inside a home that may help you learn more about using it to remove the varnish from your brick.

  13. Mary Ann Howat says:

    Love your idea about whitewashing the mortar. So brave to do it.

  14. Hi Diane: I dont think you will get th look you want and like with your brick. The brick you posted pictures of is old brick or meant to look that way. If you whiten the mortar on your brick it will be very obvious and not in a good way.

    Someone on my street decided they didnt like the colour of their mortar (tinted ) . These houses are almost 70 years old. Anyways the neighbour decided to paint al the mortar on the facade of her house! The house is long gone but whenever the neighbours talk about it they refer to the painted mortar.

    I would reconsider if I were you….why not have the flow of solid hardwood floors everywhere at least on the main floor? Hardwood in the foyer also.

  15. Great idea! I think it will look fantastic.

  16. What a great idea, it’s going to look amazing!

  17. Hi, Diane. I think whitewashing the brick floor will be a good move. I am wondering though about the size of the mortar….it looks really small and narrow compared to the pictures you like. Will that affect how much whitewash you might have to do to the brick?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sharon – Not sure if I will go very white or just subtle.:-) I am going to experiment on the closet floor to find what the best way to do it will be. Once I like what I see on the closet floor, then I will go for it for the rest of the floor.

      1. Oh yes, good thinking! That will help for sure.

  18. It’s too bad you can’t do something similar to the painted rug you did in your previous place.
    I’m guessing that it being the main entrance to your home puts a bit more pressure on it.
    Also- even if it were possible, would that even fit in with your style these days?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kat – I loved that floor in my previous house. So much happy color. Since the foyer floor is textured and uneven, I am not sure it would work as well.

  19. I think this will look fabulous and tie the room together perfectly!

  20. I also love navy for pops of color…just recently when to white kitchen cabinets and painted the island navy…the house then painted light gray so navy on one wall on br shower, cabinet in our bedroom and cabinet in quest br all navy….

    Really looking forward to your brick floor redo

  21. Linda L Weeks says:

    I love my Flor rug too! and I did need to wash a couple tiles, once – very easy to do. And I love the painted brick idea, best of both worlds! Hope you don’t see any snow down thar, best, Linda

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – The FLOR rugs are the best for the reason you stated. You can simply remove the tile with the spot to wash and/or replace if needed. SO smart! We had a cold snap here. It was 32 this morning when I left the house to head to my fitness class at 7:30, but nothing like you are getting in the northeast. No snow here.

  22. ann pesce says:

    I love the idea of whitewashing the brick entry floor and can’t wait to see your finished project. I also love the navy blue color of the painted sideboard. I have 2 sideboards I inherited from my mother in law that need painting and seeing yours is helping me to move in that direction. I don’t recall seeing a post on your sideboard…what type and color paint did you use? Thanks for the continued inspiration!

  23. Hi Diane, Your plan for painting your brick floor is genius! What a creative way to enhance the look of your fabulous painted balusters, stairs and hidden closet wall; simply stunning. I hope you plan on keeping your navy blue sideboard in place. I love that piece and it’s always looked like it was designed specifically for that space. Unlike others, I believe painted brick definitely has its place in interior and exterior decor. Our mid-century modern house had the most hideous orange brick fireplace surround, for years I begged the hubs to tear it out. When he finally agreed, we were told there would be significant structural issues impacted by removing the brick, the cost was staggering. An interior designer friend suggested a paint treatment for the bricks which I agreed to on the spot, anything would be better than those orange horrors. We’ve loved that painted brick surround for over 5 years now, we both have remarked countless times how happy we are that removing the brick proved to be too expensive, we can’t imagine anything looking more beautiful than our painted brick! Good luck with your project, in your creative hands, it will look spectacular!

  24. I never painted a brick floor but I sealed a brick floor. It made a wonderful different. The bricks color and. Appearance improved a lot. It was very easy to do. I did not do the grout. Your grout looks recessed in the photos. It could be a finicky job to paint them without getting the paint on the bricks. You do so many great improvements on your home. Love seeing it change since when you moved in and hurt your arm. That seems a long time ago.

  25. Kelly Gillett says:

    White washing would be awesome. Fixer Upper show did this to so many fireplaces. I love it. With you changing and staining your existing floors the white wash will look great. Make sure you check out the maintenance and if there is a sealing process for any reason. Good luck

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kelly – I have been doing research on the best treatment from stripping all the wax and dirt off the bricks to get them clean all the way to sealing. Thanks to Fixer Upper there are a lot of tutorials showing many ways to go about it. I have to choose one now. :-)

  26. I am adamantly against painting brick in almost every scenario. Once painted, brick loses the natural depth and richness of the material and also loses the “low maintenance” aspect. Painted brick always looks like a bandaid—typically done over brick colors that are considered out of fashion. In this instance, your plan to lightly wash the brick sounds like it will work well and also be timeless in its design.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and for providing us with hints of the finished product.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Barbara – That is how I feel about the exterior of my house. I really don’t want to paint the brick on it, but for the floor I am excited about it. I will post as soon as I get it done.

  27. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    I think that is a great idea! Can barely wait to see it done.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sheryll – I hope to start early next week.

  28. Love the idea of whitewashing! Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  29. Mary E Hewitt says:

    I think that’s a great idea. I solved the rug solution with the Flor tile rugs in a very sturdy material. Our door was the main one into the house and all the wet, dogs, mud etc. were tearing up my wood floor. So many different rugs with the same problem as yours, too thick and tripping hazards. The Flor tiles stay in place and the ones I chose were not too thick. I will admit that they are not as pretty as other rugs, they are practical and you can add some more color with them.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary- I love FLOR rugs. I have one in my studioffice. It is the best! I considered using one in the foyer, but decided to go rugless in the room. :-)

      1. Hello, I am in the process of cleaning and i am gong to seal my brick floors in foyer and livingroom. what do i use to seal them? What did you use? After thoroughly cleaning bricks they look dull to me.

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Joanne –

          I didn’t seal my brick, I white-washed it. It is a matte finish. Did you see the AFTER? If not, you can see what I did in this post:

          If you want to seal your brick, first decide if you want it to be shiny or not and then choose a product that has the sheen.

          If you use water-based poly, this will sit on top of the brick and will not go into the surface of the brick. It may slightly deepen the color of the brick. Poly is fine to use as long as your brick is dry and no moisture is in it as you don’t want to trap moisture that could cloud the finish, like a water ring on a table. You can use oil-based poly, but that will yellow over time.

          If you want a porous sealer, you can seal the brick with Miracle Sealant: It is a wipe or roll on that I believe has a matte finish, but it will protect the surface from stains.