Home Decor

How to Achieve German Schmear Brick (on a Budget)


Love your fireplace, but wanting to do a complete rehaul without all of the expense of hiring someone?  I did exactly that through a technique called “German Schmear”!  My main goals were to keep the beauty of the brick without fully covering it (like whitewash will typically do) and brighten the room up, making it look fresh and modern, but still cozy. You see my dilemma. I want fresh and modern and bright but still cozy… that’s hard to achieve, but German Schmear Gabe me that exact vibe!

The only supplies I needed were: 

-Satin Wall Paint

-Paint Brush

– Paint Cup

-Plastic Drop Cloth

-Painter’s Tape


-Cleaning Cloth with Water



 Let’s get started!

It took 6 easy steps to achieve this look:


1. Decide on the exact look you want. Do you want more white or less white? More brick showing through or less?

2. Use a cloth with water to remove any dirt on the brick (it’s really hard to actually wash brick, but I took a broom and swept it off to get any loose pieces of mortar and dust, then wiped it with a cloth

3. Place a drop cloth all around the fireplace;

4. Stick painter’s tape all around the mantel, opening, floor and trim;

5. Dip the paint brush into the paint and run it over all of the mortar surrounding a brick as well as any low spots (you can be as messy as you would like, the point is to fill all of the cracks);


6. Take the paint brush and smear it from the mortar to the face of the brick (side to side swipes make it look genuine and doesn’t show clear brush strokes);



Repeat all of these steps until the fireplace is completely covered! Like I said, if you want it to be more white, just add more paint. But you cannot take off paint, so make sure you start slow.

After I completed it, I also stepped back and you can see where some bricks stand out too much or didn’t catch enough paint and I went back to fill those in a bit more. It’s all up to your discretion and how you want it to look!


A couple of helpful hints:

* Nothing needs to be uniform.  Having each brick look a little different gives depth.

* Advise using less paint and adding more if you want a darker look (you can’t take away the paint once it’s on).



I LOVE how this turned out, and can’t wait to show you how I decorate it.  Stay tuned!