• Ruth

DIY Electric Fireplace

Updated: Jan 18

The Master Bedroom in the new house is much larger than the one we moved from but I didn't want to cram it full of stuff and make it feel crowed and small. So, when we were moving I decided to sell the dresser we had and move all of our clothing storage into the closet with the Elfa closet system from The Container Store that we were planning to put in the closet instead of the builder's standard closet. I knew, pretty much right away, that I wanted to build a fireplace in the bed room. I could just see it in my head and that's exactly what I wanted. It would be a beautiful focal point of the room without taking up a bunch of space. I made A LOT of sketches of how I wanted the fireplace to look. I went from traditional to ultra sleek and modern looks.

I finally settled on a style that, I would say, is very "me". It's a modern take on a traditional style that is simple, beautiful and hopefully timeless.

Okay, so there was a bit more detailing and it didn't end up looking exactly like that but this was where we started. I knew I wanted to do white trim to make it look like columns and tile around the fireplace itself. But to start, I had to find the electric fireplace insert that I wanted. I searched through dozens of electric fireplaces until I found the one with the best reviews and was the right look.

This is the one I ended up purchasing.

Something I had trouble finding was actual instructions on how to build the frame for this fireplace to sit in. In the customer reviews for this insert on Amazon is actually where I found a lot of good information about how to build the box for this to sit in. So, the next drawing is how we figured we would build the box--out of 1x4s and 2x6s. The box immediately surrounding the fireplace is made of 2x6s which is what was suggested by the manufacturer of the fireplace insert and the rest of the bracing is made of 1x4s (but we actually ended up using 2x4s just for added strength).


- 2x4 lumber

- 2x6 lumber

- HardieBacker board

- laser level

- stud finder

- counter sinking screws

- drill

- Hardwood Plywood

- finishing nails

- hammer

- mesh drywall tape

- Millwork

- Molding (to match current baseboards)

- Tile

- mortar

- white grout (used grout left over from the kitchen mosaic)

- grout sponge

- trowel

- construction adhesive

- jigsaw

- caulk

- clamp

- wood filler

- sandpaper

- white semi-gloss paint

- tile saw

TIME: 2-3 days

DIFFICULTY: Beginner-Moderate

COST: Approximately $650-700


Above I showed my plans for the frame and where I was going to put it. I wanted the fireplace to be on the wall that my bed faces in the master bedroom. On this project, I made the plan and design and Steve executed 90% of it. To start you want to secure the frame you are building to the wall so we attached three 2x4's horizontally: one along the wall where the top of the frame would be, one in the middle and one just above the baseboard. Then we have a 2x4 on each side going vertically down to the top of the baseboard. TIP: make sure that you are able to secure these boards to studs so that they don't go anywhere!

Next, we need to build the frame out from the wall. I don't have a lot of pictures of the framing process (this was before the blog about projects) but I'll do my best to explain since this was the most challenging part for us to plan out.

I determined the depth I wanted the fireplace to be based on the depth of the fireplace insert and the aesthetic I was wanting. I wanted it to look "real" so I didn't want to make it too shallow and I didn't want it to come out from the wall too far and take up a bunch of space in the room. I decided on a depth of 12". This allows plenty of room for the insert to set in perfectly but, if need be, we can remove the insert to access the cords in the wall.

Back to the frame, what we have so far are the boards attached to the wall. Now what we did was attach another 2x4 face-to-face (by face I mean the 4" side of the 2x4) with the one that is already attached vertically to the wall but this one will go all the way to the ground. Another way we could have done this would have been to remove the baseboards where the frame was going but alas we did not. The reason we added another 2x4 on top of the one already there was to start bringing the frame out from the wall. We need surface area to attach the Hardiebacker Board to so this is how we did it. Instead of me describing each board that was used, see below for the 3D diagram of the frame. I will mention that the boards in the middle that surround the fireplace insert were not 2x4s but instead 2x6s. This was a suggestion by the fireplace insert manufacturer so check the instruction manual for the fireplace you purchase.

Side Note: This is no