The short and unsatisfying answer, Gentle Readers, is maybe. It’s entirely up to you (and your trusty designer). In sorting through my thoughts about this subject, I couldn’t come up with a hard and fast set of rules — much to my chagrin.
Sometimes, a red brick house is drop-dead gorgeous. Sometimes, a brick house painted white is stunning. Sometimes — just sometimes, mind you — a lime wash is just what a brick house needs.
Let’s see where these pictures take us, shall we? I don’t think any of these red brick houses would look better painted, no matter what color you choose. Each one has character.
But here’s a compelling argument for painting an uninteresting brick house, from Paper Moon Painting:
Is it a freestanding house thing? Because I LOVE a painted row house. (Obviously, right, because I live in one?)
If you described this next house to me – “It’s pistachio green with a duck-egg blue door” – I wouldn’t have believed it could look so appealing. It’s offbeat and utterly charming.
You know how I feel about gray, so while I’m not RECOMMENDING that you paint your house gray, I do think these two row houses look quite pretty:
It’s not just the row houses that can look great painted. Some freestanding brick houses look amazing. This Georgetown house is freestanding, for example:
As is this one:
And this modern one:
See why I couldn’t come up with guidelines for you? To paint or not to paint your beautiful brick house…that has to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, I’m afraid.
Just know that if your house is natural brick and you DO decide to paint it, there’s no turning back. But I’m a risk-taker, so naturally, I’ll encourage you to go for it. Chances are, it will look amazing.
Annie Elliott Design is based in Washington, DC, with additonal offices in St. Michaels, Maryland and Middlebury, Vermont. Annie’s design work and insights have appeared in numerous local and national publications, including HGTV Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Washingtonian Magazine.