One of the best ways to add a sense of comfort and coziness to your home is by installing a fireplace. For generations, fireplaces have been a gathering place for the family and a symbol of warmth. However, these days, many homes aren’t built with fireplaces. Either they are no longer legal to build in your area, or maybe you even live in a condo or an apartment where it just isn’t feasible. Let’s not let that stop us.
Although you can’t install any kind of real flame fireplace, there is nothing stopping you from making an authentically pleasing fake fireplace. This guide is going to teach you how to make a fake fireplace, but more importantly, it will teach you how to make a fake fireplace look real.
Whether you want some fun DIY projects (DoItYourself project) for the living room, family room, dining room, or even the master bedroom, building a DIY faux fireplace is an incredibly rewarding challenge. The step-by-step instructions listed below will not only help understand how to build your fireplace, but it will also help you decide what style your faux fireplace should be.
In this post, you will learn:
- Safety – We will share some essential safety tips before you build a faux fireplace.
- Fireplace Surround Kit – Whether you should use one or just DIY from scratch.
- Planning – Anytime you are taking on a DIY job, planning ahead is vital to a DIY project’s success.
- Research – Using thorough research is important if you want to know how to make a fake fireplace look real.
- Choosing A Style – Choosing a faux fireplace style that matches the home decor of your living room or whatever room you will be building a faux fireplace.
- Placement – Choosing the right location for your fireplace, whether you want it permanently installed or freestanding.
- Materials and Tools – How to make a fake fireplace using wood, MDF, and more. We will also talk about the tools needed.
- Inserts – Making sure to leave room in your faux fireplace in case of a future insert.
- Design – Real fireplace design tips so it doesn’t look boring.
- Construction – Building your falsa fireplace.
- Finishing Touches – Adding faux fireplace finishing touches. This is how to make a fake fireplace look real.
- Decorating – A tutorial on decorating your fireplace mantel.
It’s great that you want to give your home a makeover and you are choosing to go the DIY route. However, when it comes to anything DIY related, it’s very important that you follow basic safety procedures:
- Wear Eye Protection – Use proper eye protection, especially when working with power tools. The last thing you want is a small piece of wood irritating your eye or worse.
- Wear Gloves – Even the smallest cut can be a big pain. Always wear your gloves.
- Lift Carefully – Don’t attempt to lift anything more than you can reasonably carry by yourself. Always remember to lift with your legs, not with your back.
- Be Patient – Don’t rush your work. Not only will your work look better if you take your time, but rushing can lead to an injury.
Whether you’re taking on your DIY fireplace with a lot of experience or not, just always be mindful of what you are doing. If you’re new to this kind of stuff and are unsure of some parts of the process, it’s always a good idea to ask for help from someone more experienced.
Should You Buy A Fireplace Surround Kit?
A surround kit is a kit to help you with your mantel. It already has a specific look, so if you choose one, it should fit the style you are going for. Some are basically already finished, others need just a small amount of work to put them together similar to an IKEA bookshelf, while others have a lot of work involved and truly feel more like a DIY undertaking.
Whether you want to go the full DIY path or you want something that is mostly pre-built, a surround kit might be something worth considering. It all depends on how much of the work you want to do, what tools and materials you already have to work with, and how much customization you prefer.
A surround kit can be found on Amazon and many other online retailers if you want to see what kind of styles are available.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
With any kind of home improvement project, planning ahead is very important. You don’t want to just jump in and start screwing pieces of wood together. You want to do your research. Regardless of your artistic ability, you should draw out a rough idea of what you are going for. You then need to come up with measurements for each piece. You also need to get your materials together before you start building anything.
While it can be exciting to hurry up and just get to work, unless you’re a veteran that already knows how to make a fake fireplace, take your time to get all of your plans in order so that you have the best chance of creating a fireplace that you’re happy with. You can find an in-depth tutorial or blueprints online if you want to follow an exact plan. Websites like the Woodshop Diaries have you more than covered. Or, you can use an existing plan as a jumping-off point and modify it as you see fit. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can always design the entire thing yourself. Regardless, figure out exactly what you want your end result to be before you start.
Why You Should Leave Space For A Future Insert
In the firebox of your mantel, you should leave space for a future fireplace insert. The next logical step after building a fireplace like this is to actually install an electric fireplace like MagikFlame.
Even if you aren’t sure you are going to install a fireplace insert into the firebox, it’s good to plan ahead anyway and match the measurements so that the option is there if you need it.
The measurements you should use for your firebox in case you want an insert are:
- Width: 28 Inches
- Height: 32 Inches
- Depth: 12 Inches
Why You Should Consider A MagikFlame Electric Fireplace To Insert Into Your Fake Fireplace
If you want a very cozy feel to your fireplace, a MagikFlame insert is something you should consider. These are fireplaces that run completely on electricity and are actually one of the most cost-effective ways to heat your home. Their units put out 5,200 BTUs of heat. They include 30 different holographic flames that look ultra-realistic. What’s really interesting is that they even produce authentic-sounding crackling log sounds.
With a MagikFlame, your home will have all the benefits of a wood-burning fireplace, without all of the problems and inconvenience that traditional fireplaces tend to have. If this sounds like something that might interest you, check out the MagikFlame electric fireplace buying guide or MagikFlame payment plans and financing options.
When first starting out, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out exactly what you want to accomplish. You can do plenty of research online. Do a Google search for fireplace ideas. You should have no problem finding an abundance of fireplaces that you like and want to replicate. Whether you want to go for an old fireplace look or something new and modern, save any images that jump out at you and try to figure out what materials are involved.
Do you want to go with something a little different like a Chimenea? Maybe Christmas is a big holiday for you and you want a large mantle to place stockings and Christmas decorations.
Take your time and look for tons of inspiration for you to choose from. Sometimes you aren’t really sure what you want your fireplace to look like until you’ve found the perfect reference photo that you fall in love with.
What Kind of Fireplace Style Do You Want?
While you are looking for research, keep in mind the style of your home as it currently is. You want to match the aesthetic of your fireplace to that of the interior decorating choices you have already made.
If you have a rustic country home, a country-style with rich wood or a brick fireplace look will look best. If you have a modern design for your living room, then you’ll want to go with a more modern fireplace with solid colors and decisive lines.
Take the time to consider what aesthetics are currently present in your house and align the design of your fireplace with it. However, you might be in the mood to change the interior decorating of the entire house, and your new fireplace will just be one small part of the entire project.
Choosing The Right Space For Your Fireplace
It’s important to choose a good spot for your fireplace. Take time to find the ideal space so that you know you will be happy with where it is for years to come.
In the living room, you want the fireplace to be the main focal point of the room. It should be a place to gather around, with nearby furniture to sit and be comfy. This is especially true if you are planning to insert a fireplace that is electric to help warm the area.
Materials And Tools
Materials are going to vary wildly for your project. Are you going for something very simple and more cost-effective like MDF, or medium-density fiberboard? Or maybe some plywood? Both of these are common if you purchase a surround kit. Maybe you enjoy woodworking and want to build something out of fresh lumber or even an unused pallet. You might even want to do an entire shiplap design behind the mantle to really help anchor it to the room. Just keep in mind the cost of the materials and the tools needed to work with them.
For any kind of woodworking, you will likely be using some power tools, although this job isn’t impossible using hand tools exclusively. It will just take a lot longer.
If you are using a surround kit, it should have a list of all tools that are necessary for the job. If you have done any kind of work around the house before, then you probably already have a basic set of tools and this will more or less be sufficient. However, if you don’t have a basic set of tools yet, now is the perfect opportunity to pick up a starting tool kit for projects that improve your home. You can usually find great starting tool kit bundle sets at your local hardwood store. Even major retail stores tend to carry toolboxes with starting tools inside.
Aesthetically Pleasing Fireplace Design Elements
If you are designing your mantle from scratch, pay special attention to the design elements of the inspirational photos that you have already researched. Many of the best fireplaces have two sturdy pillars on either side, with a mantle top that protrudes over the pillars for additional space to place items.
Notice how depth comes into play with overlapping edges at different lengths. You don’t want this to just look like a simple box sticking out of your wall. You want the lines to follow a natural flow from the floor to the mantle top, with different levels of material to create depth and shadow.
If you have a country or a rustic look, you want the texture of the material to do a lot of the work for you. If you want a modern style, you want to focus on line and shape primarily, where the material is secondary and will usually be painted black or white.
For a more luxurious look, you can include intricate details and carving. Of course, this is entirely dependent on your level of skill.
Constructing Your Fake Fireplace
When constructing your fireplace, make sure that you are double-checking your measurements. The old rule is an important one: measure twice, cut once. This will help ensure you aren’t making any major mistakes.
Also, take your time and try and do the cleanest work that you can. The more care you put into everything you do while you construct your fireplace, the better the end result will be. If you are unsure about a specific step when building your fireplace, check on YouTube for that technique and see if someone has a good demonstration that can help you out.
Finishing Your Fake Fireplace
Once the bulk of the construction is done, it is time to put the finishing touches on it. If you use wood, apply oil or finish. Or paint the material if that is what you are planning to do.
If you are using wood, be sure to sand it properly for the finish or oil you are using. Sanding will create a smooth feel while bringing out the beauty of the natural wood grain.
If you want a faux brick look, you can use some peel and stick tiles on it. These are high-quality stick-on bricks that add a lot to both the texture and depth of the fireplace.
Don’t forget to clean your mess thoroughly. Make sure your finished fireplace is dusted, excess glue is scraped off, and there aren’t any protruding sharp edges or anything else that can be dangerous.
Decorating Your Mantel
Decorating your mantle can be the fun part. This is another way that you are making the mantle feel like a part of the rest of the room to tie things all together.
If you like to bring some of the outdoors to the indoors, consider adding some fresh plants. A vase where you regularly put seasonal fresh flowers from your garden will not only look great, but it will add a wonderful smell to the room. If you don’t have access to fresh flowers, you can probably find some decent artificial plants at your local dollar store.
It’s important to have an anchor piece as a focal point. This can be any large piece that you will either place in the center of the mantle top or attach to the wall above the fireplace. A family portrait or a large clock are both common pieces that people use as their anchor piece.
Another good decoration to consider is to use one large mirror or a series of mirrors. Using mirrors in your decoration helps open up the room and make it feel much larger than it actually is. This is really useful if you live in a small place like a condo or an apartment.
For more helpful blog posts, visit our MagikFlame Learning Center.