When it comes to exposed brick, I am a bit undecided. I admit that it does add a sense of character and also an interesting textural element. There are times when I positively hate it, and others, when it looks simply divine!
Maybe it all depends on how it is used and treated in an interior space. A lot of people hate the warm, rustic red tones of untouched exposed brick. I try and keep an open mind, however I do tend to dislike it when there is an excess of it, probably because it gives a space a dated,almost rustic look which is not to my personal taste. For me, if exposed brick is going to be used in its original form, then it needs to be accented with some really contemporary decor. That's why I love exposed brick in lofts. The industrial setting offsets the brick beautifully.
In the debate between exposed brick and painted brick, I lean towards painted. And there is no better color than white! I feel it adds a sense of lightness and lends an aspect of the contemporary to the space in which its used.
However exposed brick is used, untouched or painted, the rule I generally follow is - great in small does, don't over do it. Here are some images of spaces where I just love the way brick has been incorporated into interior spaces.
How do you like your brick work? Untouched, painted or plastered and no where in sight?
[I have credited wherever possible. If I've missed you out, please drop me a line and I'll be happy to add it in]