DIY: making a modern fireplace surround
Do you want to make a fireplace surround? Then you have come to the right place! Interior fanatic and DIY enthusiast Nicole of the Instagram account @witzandwonen is happy to show you how. So you too can install an electric fireplace yourself. Nicole used Livn built-in fireplace Marly to give her bedroom an atmospheric finishing touch. She also created extra closet space this way: a win-win! Keep reading to see how Nicole tackled this.
Installing an electric fireplace
When we received the key to our current home in July 2019, we started renovating. We took care of everything at a base level, but we still had to add the atmosphere. In winter 2021, we started 'project bedroom'. There, we installed a wooden herringbone wall behind the bed, which gave a great effect to the room. But there was always a wall that remained empty. A white canvas that was still waiting to be transformed. I always wanted to install an electric fireplace in my home. Downstairs, all the walls were filled, so why not in the bedroom!? The perfect filler for the blank wall and it creates a romantic atmosphere.
Besides, I did miss some storage space in our bedroom. Since there was still plenty of free space in the fireplace surround, we built in a storage cabinet. It is concealed in the wall and can be opened with a pressure system. You can barely see it! Below, I explain how we approached this.
Make a fireplace surround
Step 1: Sketch & measure
First, of course, it is important to have a plan, so I started sketching. After creating the design, we got to work measuring the space. Our fireplace will be placed next to the bedroom door. The first wall started at just 10 cm from the door. A piece of existing wall also remains on the other side of the fireplace. This creates a niche next to the fireplace, where we will later install floating shelves.
Step 2: Building a frame
Since the cabinet we put above the fireplace is deeper than the fireplace itself, it was convenient to put the fireplace on a 'table'. This way, the fireplace was firmly at the right height, but we could still move the table forward or backward. After making the table, we attached the storage cabinet to the wall in the right place. This was the basis for the rest of the measurements. We then built the frame around the cabinet. We took the dimensions of the fireplace + 10 cm on each side into account here.
Tip: Don't forget to take into account the thickness of the sheet material that will be placed on the frame. You subtract this thickness from the size of the frame.
Step 3: Installing sheet material
After the frame is solid, the sheet material can be installed. We used poplar plywood for this. This is because it is easy to process, lightweight and has a smooth finish. Our wall will be painted and not wallpapered. That means it’s important not to have too many knots in the wood.
We pre-drill the poplar wood for subsequent screwing. A layer of wood glue is also placed between the frame and the sheet material. This ensures an extra solid connection between the wood, which prevents the risk of cracks in your paintwork.
Tip: By pre-drilling the sheet material, you reduce/prevent the risk of cracks in the wood.
First, the side plates were attached. Since our stairwell is too narrow for the sheet metal, we cut the front plate in half. We used the top of the fireplace as the measurement for the cut. Then it was time to saw out the fireplace opening. For this, we measured the opening from the fireplace to the side plate of the front wall and from the floor to the bottom of the fireplace. In the top plate, we cut out the opening for the storage cabinet.
Step 4: Finishing the built-in fireplace
The base is done! Time to finish it. The wood is primed after sanding. The holes are filled with a quick filler, which is sanded after drying. The gaps are sealed with acrylic sealant. Then apply two coats of wall paint in a colour of your choice. We chose 'Gentle Stone' and painted the door of the storage cabinet with it so that it completely disappears into the wall.
Fireplace surround supplies
- Livn built-in fireplace
- Beams in length of home
- 2 poplar boards (12 mm thick)
- Cabinet of your choice
- Drill and screwdriver
- Acrylic sealant
- Quick filler
- Paint or wallpaper of your choice
For us, the cost of making the fireplace surround was around €600. This includes the cabinet and does not include the purchase of the fireplace.
With a bit of skill, you can now make a fireplace surround yourself thanks to Nicole's explanations and tips! Follow @livnmadeeasy and @witzandwonen for more info on this DIY and other DIY tips. Enthusiastic about this DIY project, but don't have a built-in fireplace yet? Then view all Livn built-in fireplaces.