Brick walls. Seems we have a love / hate relationship with them in our homes...
Love, because of the sense of age and texture they give to a room. Hate, because they're sometimes crumbly or have a darkening, heavy effect that overwhelms small spaces.
If you're dealing with conflicting feelings about brick walls in your home, one thing you might consider is whitewashing. It's translucent, so it will still let the inherent qualities of the brick show through but lighten things up considerably. There is a simple how-to at Frugal Farmhouse for anyone who wants to give it a go.