aesthetic opinions aside, the technical answer to your question is: clean the brickwork thoroughly,rinse and let dry. Apply a coat of acrylic masonry primer, topcoat with interior acrylic/latex (standard wall paint), whatever color or sheen you desire. there's nothing wrong with painting brick, if that's what you want. It will bond just fine,and will not harm the brick. most major brick manufacturers offer guidelines for painting brick,most paint mfgrs offer appropriate products, gov't. agencies have contract standards for painting brickwork, etc etc. It is a very common and accepted practice.