Why You May Want To Avoid Painting Brick, According To HGTV's Nate Berkus

In recent years, there's been a definite trend towards painting brick, rather than leaving it in its original state. One designer who wasn't a fan of that? HGTV's Nate Berkus. However, Berkus' take wasn't based on an aversion to painted bricks, per se. On the contrary, his concern was centered on the trendiness aspect. 

Back in 2019, Berkus and his husband and co-star, Jeremiah Brent, were interviewed for "Larry King Now." Part of the interview included fan-submitted questions, and one of those saw the designers asked for their opinions on painted brick. "What are your thoughts on painting brick? I love brick, but it seems like everyone is painting their brick homes or fireplaces white," King read out. Berkus' response was that he didn't have an issue with painted or unpainted brick, but that he'd caution against doing anything simply because everyone else was doing it. "What makes me nervous about that question is ... they're seeing what 'everyone' is doing," he explained. 

Rather than jump on a design bandwagon, Berkus pointed out that he generally preferred an anti-trend approach. In fact, he's even said that designing with trends in mind was one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner could make. As he told King, "We're much more interested in what you think is the best for your family." Instead, he urged people to do what they wanted with their space. That makes sense. After all, whose house is it anyway?

Nate is all for painted brick -- if that's what you like

Nate Berkus started off his response to the painted brick question submitted to "Larry King Now" by saying that he wasn't opposed to it at all, if that was your preference. As evidenced by more recent episode of "The Nate & Jeremiah Home Project," that's something he feels pretty strongly about. The 2023 episode of the HGTV show saw Berkus agree without question that a couple's whitewashed fireplace should remain as is. After hearing that one of the homeowners had done it herself, both Berkus and Brent congratulated her on a job well done, and Berkus shrugged that it was a given that they'd keep it. "It's your work," he said. 

For that reason, if you've already painted or whitewashed brick in your own home and love the look, Berkus is all for keeping it as is. And, it stands to reason that even if you haven't already painted yours but have always been a fan of them, Berkus is all for doing it now. Just be sure to paint your bricks the right way, when you do it.

If, however, you were only a fan of the look because it became trendy, Berkus' thoughts are about to become a whole lot more pertinent. In January 2024, The Color Concierge noted that painted walls were on the way out, particularly when it came to exterior walls. All the more reason to prioritize what you love!  

Emphasize your brick wall to suit your personal style

So, Nate Berkus is opposed to jumping on trends for the sake of it. However, don't despair if you've already painted your brick walls and no longer love them, or you're renting from a landlord who did. Whether they're painted or exposed, there are plenty of ways to decorate your brick walls in a way that feels right for you.

Covering the walls with the things you love most is a great first step. Put up frames with pictures of your loved ones (incidentally, that was another tip by Berkus in his interview on "Larry King Now"), place your favorite potted plants against the wall, or even use things like decorative mirrors and artworks to cover up bigger sections of the wall. Even if the wall isn't your favorite feature anymore, it'll certainly bring attention to the things you do love. 

If you're still not managing to see past the painted walls, you could also opt to remove it with paint stripper. These products go for around $15 on Amazon, and are a great (albeit non-renter-friendly) option if you truly abhor the whitewashed walls in your home. That said, be sure to check that the paint stripper will work on the paint in your home, and read those safety instructions.