Skip to Content

How to Build a DIY Built in Fireplace (with an electric insert

How to Build a DIY Built in Fireplace (with an electric insert
DIY built in fireplace

I’m so excited to share my building plans for this DIY built in fireplace. I’ve also got a really great video showing how to frame out a fireplace unit, using an electric fireplace insert. It can be customized for different ceiling heights.

These plans include all of the instructions and dimensions to frame out the fireplace unit. This is an intermediate build. It is very straightforward, but some building or framing experience would be helpful.

Video of how to build in a fireplace

Remove Old Wall Treatment

You’ll want to start with a clean slate. So if there is anything on your wall, clear it off. We had some old shiplap that we had to remove here.

remove shiplap

Prep your Floor

You’ll want to make sure to build this unit on bare floor. So if you have carpet, you’ll need to pull it back, cut it out, and remove it from where your unit will be. If you have hardwood or tile, you are probably ok to build on top of it. Just make sure that the flooring you are building on top of is sturdy and doesn’t have any cracks.

pull back carpet

Get Building Plans

I am so excited to offer building plans for this DIY built in fireplace. These plans include all of the instructions and dimensions to frame out the fireplace unit. This is an intermediate build. It is very straightforward, but some building or framing experience would be helpful.

The building plans are designed for an 8 foot ceiling, but it can be customized for different ceiling heights.

Find an Electric Fireplace

I ordered this really cool electric fireplace from Amazon. It wasn’t the cheapest one there is, but it’s also not the most expensive. This fireplace is really cool because the fireplace and the electric heat work separately.

So you can enjoy the cozy feel of the fireplace without the warmth. Or just turn on the electric heater, if you don’t want the fire going. And of course you can have both on at the same time if you want the cozy feel of a fire and the warmth. There is also an option to turn on a crackling sound for a more realistic feeling.

I also really liked this fireplace because it was one of the more realistic looking electric fireplaces on Amazon. The way the fire looks, the logs, and the brick background were my favorite parts. Oh, and it also has a remote, which is really cool.

Click here to find the fireplace I used. All of the building plans are designed around this fireplace.

Build the Fireplace Frame

Start by framing out your base unit. I just used regular 2×4 framing studs for this. For all the dimensions, use my DIY Built-in Fireplace building plans.

fireplace frame

Build the Wall Unit

You could definitely build this DIY built in fireplace without going up the wall. But I wanted my TV mounted above my fireplace, and I wanted it to stick off the wall just a little bit. So I started framing up the wall.

built in fireplace

I added a lot of support in the middle of the unit, mostly because I was planning on hanging my TV here, so I wanted to make sure everything was really secured to wall.

I also needed some blocking to attach the shiplap to.

built in fireplace framing

Add TV Mount Blocking

All of the specifics are listed in my building plans. But you’ll need some blocking if you plan to hang a TV above the fireplace. Even if you don’t plan on adding a TV above the fireplace, I still recommend adding this blocking. It won’t hurt to have a little extra structure in there for a mirror, picture, or even a wreath.

fireplace framing

Build a Bench

This step is completely optional, but I like the idea of having a bench to sit on in front of my fireplace, so I added this little bench. You can learn more about how I framed it up on my YouTube video, or in my building plans.

fireplace bench framing

Add Shiplap to the DIY built in fireplace

Starting at the bottom, and working your way up, add shiplap for a clean, modern farmhouse look. There are a lot of different shiplap products out there. But this shiplap is my favorite!

shiplap fireplace diy

Place Brick

You’ll need to cover up your framing somehow. I used a faux brick panel, but of course you could use whatever you want. Just make sure to cut out the opening for your fireplace.

I made a few changes to the brick panel to make it look more realistic.

If you choose to do real brick, tile, or stone, simply cover the frame with some plywood, then just attach your finish to the top of that.

faux brick fireplace

Attach a Mantle and Hearth

You can use whatever you want for your mantle and hearth (bench seat). I wanted something really sturdy and strong, so I chose to rip down a butcherblock countertop to fit my dimensions. You can find out more about this process on my YouTube video.

I attached the butcherblock with liquid nails, so it is very secure and won’t budge.

liquid nails

For the mantle, I wanted it a little thicker, so I added an extra piece to the front edge to make it look more substantial. Since I’m planning on adding bookshelves to either side of the fireplace, you won’t be able to see the edges. If you aren’t adding bookshelves to the sides, you’ll need to take this into account and finish your edges. I just used wood glue and clamps for this.

butcherblock mantle

Finish Work

Use trim to trim out the shiplap. Then paint the shiplap. This is the trim I used: PVC trim

I decided to use shiplap on the bottom of my fireplace. I simply wrapped two pieces of shiplap around the bottom, with mitered corners, and then used my regular baseboard to cover up the bottom.

The baseboard trim really helps the fireplace look built in.

diy built in fireplace

Note- the baseboard is not put on in this photo because we are waiting for the carpet guy to come stretch the carpet and secure it back in place.

Supplies needed for DIY Built in Fireplace

Tools used in this Buid