I have always loved the idea of a real fireplace in my bedroom. But how easy is it to add something like that? Not as hard as I thought! Turns out, it’s actually very easy! And the benefits! Oh, we love it. So cozy and warm. And with my easy DIY fireplace tutorial, you can make this dream a reality too!
A fireplace not only adds coziness to a room. It’s a great way to elevate a room and add a substantial focal point.
Need a fireplace in the living room, dining room? These step-by-step instructions will work in any room. So, let’s get to this easy DIY project….
How to Build an Easy DIY Fireplace
Materials Needed for Easy DIY Fireplace:
(Total Dimensions are: 61″ long; 22 5/8″ wide; 59″ tall)
Well, first thing first, you need an electric insert 🙂 I highly recommend this built-in electric fireplace insert from Amazon.
All of my measurements will be based off of this fireplace insert, however, they can be adjusted to work for any insert.
I love that this faux fireplace displays different colors and features different heat settings. With the convenience of a remote control, this cozy fireplace looks and feels like an actual fireplace.
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- 2x4x8 pine boards (16)
- 3/4″- 4’x8′ sanded plywood (2 sheets)
- 1x2x8 pine boards(9)
- 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws
- 2 1/2″ wood screws
- Access Panel
- Wood filler
- Stain (I chose Varathane Golden Oak)
Tools Needed for Easy DIY Fireplace:
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Building the Easy DIY Fireplace Base
Step One: Determine where you want your easy DIY fireplace
Obviously, right? But you’ll need to make sure there’s an outlet in this space, or you’ll just have something pretty to look at instead of a functional fireplace. So, yes, this first step is kind of important. 🙂
Step Two: Clear the space
Remove the full length of the baseboard, where you want your fireplace to be. Using a multi-purpose tool, cut both ends of the baseboard you’re going to remove. Then with an exact-o knife, cut the caulk between the baseboard and the wall.
Drive a screwdriver/crowbar behind the baseboard with a hammer and shimmy baseboard away from wall until removed.
If you don’t have a multi-purpose tool, you can skip this step. The baseboard will cause a little bit of a gap between your wall and the surround that you build, but you can just add another strip of wood to cover that up. Either way will work.
Step Three: Build the base
Cut one 2×4 to 58″ and place against back wall.
Cut two 2×4’s to 15.5″ and drill 1.5″ pocket holes on both ends. Attach these two 2×4’s to the end of the 58″ 2×4 using 2.5″ pocket hole screws. (As shown below) (You’ll notice, I had not yet removed my baseboard in this picture, however, as you’ll see, I later did)….
Cut a 2×4 to fit between your two 15.5″ 2×4’s. Drill 1.5″ pocket holes on both ends and attach using 2.5″ p.h screws. You will attach this board to the 15.5″ 2×4’s at 11″ from the wall. (Further clarification in the picture below)…
Step Four: Build the fireplace risers
Essentially, this is like building with legos. Cut twelve 2×4’s at 7.5″ and drill 1.5″ p.h’s on one end. These 12 boards are your risers. You will attach them to the base using 2.5″ p.h. screws, following the placement of the picture below….
Step Five: Attach the stretchers
Now you’re going to cut six 2×4’s to fit on top of the risers. They will span from a front riser to the riser behind it. Attach using 2.5″ wood screws. (Note: As you can see, two of my Risers are missing in this picture below.
When finished with this step, you should have 6 stretchers spanned across 12 risers). Placement shown below…
Step Six: Add easy DIY fireplace supports
Cut two 2×4’s at 58″ long and attach to stretchers, using 2.5″ wood screws. Placement shown below…
Here’s a bird’s eye view of what it should look like so far….
Step Seven: Place the fireplace insert
Place the fireplace insert on top of the supports, centered. Ok! Now it’s getting real! Can you see this easy DIY fireplace project coming together? So exciting!!
So, what do you think so far? Simple steps?? The remaining two parts of this easy project is more of the same. So simple!
Building an Easy DIY Fireplace Surround
Step One: Build fireplace encasement around front of fireplace insert
The fireplace encasement will keep the electric insert fireplace sturdy and in place.
Front risers: Measure the height of your fireplace insert and cut four 2×4’s at this measurement. (I cut mine at 25 5/16″ long).
Drill 1.5″ p.h’s on one end and attach to front bottom support, using 2.5″ p.h. screws.(The placement is as shown below). Cut a 2×4 at 58″ long and span across 4 front risers. Attach with wood screws…
Make sure the two 2×4’s next to the fireplace insert, push up tightly against the insert. At this point, your electric fireplace should have little wiggle room…
Step Two: Build fireplace encasement around back of fireplace insert
Back riser: Cut two more 2×4’s at the same length as the four in the picture above. And drill 1.5″ p.h.’s on one end. Attach to both ends of the back bottom support. As shown below…
Cut another 2×4 at 58″ long and attach, spanning across back riser, using 2.5″ wood screws.
My fireplace was still a little wobbly, so I added another 2×4 to hold it in place (Completely optional)…
Step Three: Build top of easy DIY fireplace surround
Risers: Cut six 14″ 2×4’s with 1.5″ p.h.’s on one end. Attach with 2.5″ p.h. screws, according to the placement shown below…
Before we move onto the next step of building the top of the encasement, we need to secure the structure to the wall. Although the encasement is a very solid piece, it’s still wise to take this extra pre-cautionary measure.
Cut two 2×4’s at 7″ and drill 1.5″ p.h.’s on one end. Using a stud finder, find two studs on the fireplace wall above the encasement back riser. Then attach your 2×4’s in those two spots to the encasement back riser using 2.5″ p.h. screws.
Lastly, attach to the wall studs with 2.5″ wood screws. (See the picture below for more clarification) (Sorry for the blurriness. I forgot to take a picture of this step and had to take a screenshot of a video instead 🙁 )….
Stretchers: Cut two 2×4’s at 58″ long and attach to risers using 2.5″ wood screws…
Double check for level. If not, add some shims under your stretchers to bring it level.
(This is very easy: You can buy shims at the store or use thin scraps from your table saw. Simply place a shim on top of the riser that needs some height added to it, place your stretcher back in place, check for level. Repeat until it’s level)
Mine was level, and therefore, did not require shims. However, not all floors are level, so sometimes this step is necessary…
We have now finished building our own fireplace surround. And are ready to move onto the DIY mantel.
When it comes to a wooden mantel, you have different options to consider. You could go the easy route and have a mantel piece cut for you to fit the top of your fireplace surround. However, this can be a very expensive option.
The other option is this simple fireplace mantel design shown below…
Building the Fireplace Hearth and Mantel
Step One: Build the hearth
Stretchers: Cut two 2×4’s at 58″ and place between these two 2×4’s from when we built the base. (See picture below for further clarification)…
Note: As you can see in the picture below, I used 2×6’s for my back stretcher. I had extra 2×6’s on hand and chose to use them instead of 2×4’s, but either will work.
Risers: Cut eight 2×4’s at 8 1/8″ and drill 1.5″ p.h.’s on one end. Attach to base using 2.5″ p.h. screws. See picture below for placement…
Stretchers: Cut two 2×4’s at 58 1/16″. Attach to risers using 2.5″ wood screws…
Cut two 2×4’s at approximately 4″ (measure to fit in between the end of each stretcher). Drill 2.5″ p.h.’s on both ends and attach in between the stretchers on each end, using 2.5″ p.h. screws. This pulls the hearth together and makes it square.
See picture below for placement…
Step Two: Build the mantel
Cut sixteen 2×4’s at 4″ and drill 1.5″ p.h.’s on one end. Attach five of them protruding off the front using 2.5″ p.h. screws. See picture below for placement…
Risers: Attach remaining (11) 2×4’s to the top of the surround, using 2.5″ p.h. screws. See picture below for placement…
Step Three: Wrap the fireplace
Cut 3/4″ plywood to fit the front of the hearth. Attach using 2″ wood screws (Sorry about the blurriness of this picture; video screenshot, once again)…
Cut and attach 3/4″ plywood to fit the sides, front and top of the hearth…
Now we’re ready to wrap the front of the surround, but first add a 4″ 2×4 onto each side of the insert, using 2″ wood screws. This provides a backing for you to screw into when attaching plywood to the front of the fireplace….
Cut 3/4″ plywood to fit both sides of fireplace insert. Attach using 2″ wood screws….
It’s a good idea to leave an opening for access to your outlet. Although you’ll leave it plugged in all the time, there may be an occasion where it needs to be unplugged or you need to service that outlet.
Not sure why you would need to do either, but just in case. I left a big enough opening at the side of the fireplace to cover it with an access panel….
Now that the bottom is wrapped, move up to the top of the surround. Following the same steps–cutting plywood to fit…
And lastly, let’s wrap the mantel. I started with the top and ripped a sheet of plywood to fit as perfectly as possible…
For the front and sides of the mantel, I used 1×6 pinewood. I chose this option, so as not to have to use edge banding to cover up the rough edges of the plywood. Cut the 1×6 front and sides to fit and attach using 2″ wood screws….
Step Four: Add the fireplace trim
Now that the entire fireplace surround is wrapped, we’re ready to add the trim. I used 1×2’s to wrap mine. Cut the trim to fit and attach with 2″ wood screws.
(Of course, you can add trim in whatever design you would like–but if you would like to follow my pattern, see the pictures below)…
And here’s a good side view…
Step Five: Paint, Stain, Poly
The next thing you’ll want to do is use wood filler to fill in all of your nail holes. Once dry, use a 220-grit sanding block to smooth out the wood filler spots.
And now you’re ready to give it the finished look. It’s a good idea to stain first, then paint. I added two coats of polyurethane for protection from scratches, etc.
The stain I chose was Varathane Golden Oak. For paint I went with, Sherwin Williams Historic Charleston Green. This is a beautiful black-green paint color, that definitely lends itself to black….
I absolutely love the warmth and coziness our new gorgeous DIY fireplace has added to our master bedroom. Eventually, I’ll be adding a Frame TV with a TV mount, but for now, isn’t she lovely?
Want to see how I changed that bright red faux brick panel inside the fireplace to more of a limewash look? Here’s the post on how to limewash faux brick.
Easy DIY Fireplace FAQ’s
Does adding a fireplace increase home value?
Yes. According to the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers, adding a fireplace to a home can increase the resale value by as much as 6-12 percent.
Which is cheaper to run? Gas or electric fireplace?
Although they don’t heat a room as fast as natural gas fireplaces, an electric fireplace is cheaper to run and install.
Is it safe to run an electric fireplace overnight?
The short answer is, Yes. But it is advised to turn it off when possible. While it’s not necessarily dangerous, it is important to still follow the safety precautions that come with your electric fireplace unit.
Do electric fireplaces give off heat?
Yes. The unit I shared in this post warms up our 13×14 master bedroom very quickly. Some electric fireplaces can be wired to 220/240 volts and have an even higher heat output. In short, not only does our new fireplace look amazing, it is also functional. Providing us with a nice, cozy, warm bedroom on cold winter nights.
Teddy can attest to the coziness of our new master bedroom fireplace. 🙂
I hope you found this easy DIY fireplace step-by-step tutorial to be helpful. As always, let me know if you have any questions. I love helping you turn these DIY posts into something tangible. You never know what you’re capable of until you try! You’ve got this!
Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!
Until next time,
Happy Building, Friend!!
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