How to Make a Wall of Faux Bricks Look Real

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Intro by Robin
Steps by Ed

What a transformation our guest room has had!  Above is a Before shot, clearly.  An adequate space for guests to sleep - but completely uninspiring.  I think it's fair to say it had no character.  This project with faux bricks helped change that!

It wouldn't be going too far to say it's more like a "character vacuum" - somehow this bland box sucks character from other spaces and people to make people instantly feel less interesting and life feel less vivid.

OK, yes, that was going a bit far.

The room has come a long long way.  And one of our goals, along with making our guests feel welcome and comfortable, was to add layers of texture and interest to this supremely boring space.  We've achieved a lot through some of our previous projects:

This latest project adds even more texture.  I've long loved the interest and historic feel old brick give to spaces.  I'm fond of painted brick - though I've never gotten up the nerve to paint real brick.   I always have images of needing to strip the paint later - and I've stripped many layers of paint off things and it's AWFUL.

But cheap brick panelling - that's my comfort zone - I could paint that all day!  We found these sheets of textured brick panels at Home Depot, affordable and the texture is really good.  I'm not a fan of the colour - they tried - but it's not perfect.

faux bricks panelling
These brick panels have great texture!

Here's how we made a DIY faux brick wall - using brick veneer panels - and made it look pretty darn real. 

faux bricks

How to Make a DIY Faux Bricks Look Real

What you need:

faux bricks diy

How to:

1) As always, begin with a plan. 

planning faux bricks
In this case, the plan called for starting with the most difficult part to make sure things looked good. 
We used cut-off pieces from the bookcase backing to cover a duct box. At this point, it was an experiment, but the planning rules still hold: 
Look at the sections you are using and line up the bricks like they would be on a real wall section. 
This means 'half' bricks are ends and should meet 'full' bricks on any outside corners. 

2) Prime, glue and nail up the panel. 

faux bricks install
You can see lots of seams here, and the good news is - it won't matter. We covered everything with lots of drywall compound to create a partially plastered wall look (Or a look like the guy doing it was partially plastered. 😜)

3) Now hide the seams and nails with drywall compound.

faux bricks texture

This was the most fun I ever had drywalling because the more uneven and random I made it, the better it looked/hid seams and corners. A light sanding knocks off any points, scratchy bits and you can put on your favourite paint colour.

4) Install The big wall.

faux bricks panels install
With the duct corner successfully complete, we were happy to move on to a big section and see how it looked. Again, look at the last row of bricks and make sure your new section will line up appropriately. THIS IS ESSENTIAL - miss this step and your wall will look decidedly phony.
Glue and nail it up.

5) The final piece - measure and cut carefully.

install faux bricks on wall
Because this seam was in the middle of the wall, we worked at getting it extra tight. We cut the last sheet so two factory square edges were landing together in the middle and double checked before we cut off the top or bottom (I almost cut the wrong part - which would have meant buying a whole new sheet.  Thankfully, Robin said, "Are you SURE?"- I wasn't... I really wasn't sure.)
Measure twice, cut once.

6) Glue & nail - with a friend holding if possible

faux brick panels on wall
(My friend helped hold then stepped back to take this picture)
Look carefully along the left third of the above photo and you can see the seam - just barely. We didn't prime these pieces so you can see how one might be tempted to think the seam wouldn't show up after painting -it totally will! Don't skip the next step!

7) How to hide seams in brick paneling: 

how to hide seams in brick paneling

Drywall compound like you're partially plastered.

(Yeah, I liked that joke so much, I used it again, so what?). 
Robin's preferred version is that the wall should look like a backdrop for a "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" themed photo shoot. 

Whichever version you choose, don't skimp on the compound up that middle seam, then drag it out in various random directions to look like an old wall. When complete, you can use your sculpting skills to make the seam bricks look connected or simply obscure everything. It's art!

8) Lightly sand, prime, finish paint and you're done!

What a difference!

diy faux bricks

And here's a similar angle Before:


Decor sources:
Throw Pillow Fabric (I made the simple pillow using this tutorial.)
Sheets (So soft and pretty - and a great price.)
Coverlet and Shams (Yeah - I almost didn't buy it when I saw who the "designer" was. Ha! But the quality is wonderful.)
Lamps (similar outside Canada)
Faux boxwood topiary (similar) vase is thrifted
Panelling paint (green): Milk Thistle Behr
Trim paint: Soft Focus Behr
Photography: Moody Blooms for Mental Health by Michelle Peek
Walnut Frames with 8x10 Mat. Ours aren't available online, but these frames are very similar and affordable.

faux bricks can look real

Other projects in our Basement Guest Room-Library:

  • Green Vertical Shiplap Panelled Wall treatment - which cost us almost nothing

painted faux bricks
These prints 😍
They're beautiful and they have a wonderful story.

We figured out How to build a faux fireplace that looks real and used a similar faux brick technique.  We modified our technique to a German schmear brick look - check it out here.

This is one of dozens of projects we've created in our Budget Basement Makeover(more here) and one of many projects in our cozy Guest Room-Library (more here).  

Wait until you see it all!  Keep in touch and follow our progress by subscribing at the top of this page.


  1. I think I'll try the faux brick. I love it!

    1. That's great! Be sure to come back and let us know how it turns out. :)

  2. I love it but don't want to paint over it. How can I make it look real without painting over it. I don't want the nails or seams to show.

  3. I've used faux brick on many projects as a home flipper. It's one of my favorite wall coverings! Y'all did a beautiful job. It looks great! When I butt the panels next to each other, I can never quite get the seems to completely disappear. It is a little more work, but if you cut out the half bricks with a jig saw on each panel, and finger joint the panels together, you can use caulk to "re-mortar" the finger joint seam, and the seams vanish. One key to this, is knowing that the panels are oriented with a "top" and "bottom". In order to finger joint two full panels together, each panel has to alternate "top" and "bottom".

    Also, as an option, you can use your joint compound thinly on the whole wall. When it dries, use a sandpaper and a wet towel to "clean" the bricks randomly, and you can get a really cool old world brick feel. A little polycrylic will seal it and your done.

    Thanks for the great post and the great write up!

    1. Those are great tips! I’m not sure we have the patience for the jigsaw one - good on ya for making that work! :)

    2. Have any trouble with yellowing? I used a putty knife and roll-on wall texture and once it dried it was yellow, especially in the grout lines. Scared to proceed with painting at this point as I wanted some brick to peek through so I didn't want to thick coat.

    3. No trouble with yellowing at all! I'd suggest using a good primer over your finish to stop the yellow from coming through. What was the roll-on texture that you used?


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