Homes & Interiors

Love it or hate it, the exposed brick wall is making a comeback. Are you Team Brick or Team Cover-up?

An exposed brick wall photo caused a big debate when it was posted on the Country Homes & Interiors Instagram. We investigate what all the fuss is about

brick wall ideas
(Image credit: Oliver Perrot/Future)

Exposed brick wall ideas can be a controversial design choice. Some love them for their rustic warmth and texture. Others see a dusty building material and opt for the finish of plastered and wallpapered walls instead.

So, we asked – do you love or hate brick wall ideas?

  • See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens

When the styling team at Country Homes & Interiors created their latest decorating article, they photographed two versions of one look. The first featured an exposed brick wall, and the second featured Morris & Co wallpaper. The brick look was chosen for the magazine, but both images were posted on the @countryhomes Instagram page, where followers were asked to name their favorite. The result? While both looks gained fans, it was the brick wall that won most votes.

‘Exposed brick has been popular for a while and it looks as though the trend is here to stay,’ says stylist Lucy Gough, who runs her own Interior Styling online course. ‘I think styling your home with texture on the walls is always going to result in a more interesting scheme. If you know you have bricks behind your walls then perhaps it’s worth ripping off the boring plaster and injecting some personality into the space.’

If your bricks aren’t good quality you could always opt for using brick slips instead. These slices of tile give the exposed brick look, but are simply secured into place over the existing wall. 

brick wall ideas

(Image credit: Richard Gadsby Photography/Future)

‘Using any 3D wall covering, like bricks, stone, or textured plaster, feels like it tells a story. And storytelling is at the heart of every successful interior,’ says Gough. 

One of things some followers don't like about brick is the risk of dust from the wall, or the thought of them attracting grime. ‘Just make sure that if you expose a brick wall in your house, you brush it with sealant as bricks are naturally porous, which can lead them to crumble over time,’ Gough advises.

brick wall ideas

The brick in this kitchen was inspired by a New York loft

(Image credit: James Merrell/Future)

Fashion stylist Siouxsie Dickens chose exposed brick for her kitchen-diner. ‘I had a picture of a New York apartment with a brick wall. I showed it to my builder and said, “That’s what I want”. I love to layer textures and mess with surfaces,' she says. 'The juxtaposition of polished plaster floor, brick and the crystal chandeliers is magic.’

brick wall idea

(Image credit: Oliver Perrott/Future)

For stylist Sara Bird, author of Home for the Soul: Sustainable and Thoughtful Decorating and Design, the advantage of wallpaper is that it offers endless new looks. 

'The wonderful thing about wallpapers is they can offer an instant pattern pop. They are an easy way to add personality, tie in with a favored theme, or bring a scheme bang up to date with a new trend or wall fashion,' she says. 

'Design experts will use wallpaper to create a feature wall, wrap a room in all-over pattern, or play with panels for a quirky look. It's a  go-to method for decor transformations.'

brick wall ideas

(Image credit: Frenchie Cristogatin/Future)

Or why not aim for the best of both worlds – Team Brick and Team Cover-up?

'The beauty of bare brick can be paired with wallpaper for a unique look,' says Bird. 'Earthy, rustic brick brings a natural element when featured with organic designs such as grass, woodland and floral prints. While more measured brickwork detail makes a classic partnership with styles such as stripes and damasks.' 

A win-win decor solution.

Andrea Childs

Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title