It doesn’t matter if you are working on ideas for your new home or just doing some home improvement projects. Either way, having a great fireplace will add a lot of charm to your home. Of course, these days, many people are opting for faux fireplaces instead of the real thing. This includes building the mantel or surround themselves.
In this article, we are going to cover many of the different ways of how to build a faux fireplace, why electric is the best type for a project like this, as well as the brand of fireplace that will look the most authentic.
Why Make a DIY Style Faux Fireplace For Your Living Room?
Building your own fireplace mantel or surround gives you so much control and freedom over the look of your home. While many people have to settle for a decorating style that matches their current fireplace or other built in elements, by creating your own fireplace mantel or surround, you dictate the entirety of the decorating style.
Are There a Lot of Step-By-Step DIY Tutorial Guides Online When It Comes To Building Your Own Fireplace Mantel?
Yes, in fact, if you found some great inspiration, it is often better if you follow one of these tutorials so that you can make sure everything turns out right. You can find these kinds of things on Pinterest, YouTube, or by finding a blogger that specializes in the style of fireplace mantels that you are most interested in.
Can You Do a Faux Fireplace DIY Makeover For The Living Room With a Wood Burning or Gas Fireplace?
While you can easily build your own mantel or surround yourself with fireplaces that use wood or gas as their fuel source, there are many reasons you should just stay away from them instead. First, here are your common types of wood fireplaces:
- Open Hearth
- Enclosed Insert
- Wood Stove
- Fire Pit
And here are all of the immense problems you will be facing if you use wood fireplaces in your home:
- Fire Safety – Wood fireplaces are known for being huge fire hazards due to the soot that builds up inside of them.
- Harmful Emissions – Wood fireplaces also are unsafe due to the harmful emissions they produce such as carbon monoxide and smoke.
- Hassle To Use – It is a ton of work if you’d like to use a wood fireplace, from building fires, cleaning, and maintenance.
- Heat Loss Problem – They are quite inefficient because a lot of heat ends up being lost through the chimney.
- Smell – They can cause your entire home to smell like smoke because a little smoke always makes its way out of the fireplace.
- Stains – The smoke that leaks out of your fireplace will also cause stains in the form of yellowing on your walls and furniture.
- TV Damage – You can’t hang any kind of TV up above the mantle top of wood fireplaces because the heat and smoke will break your TV.
- Wood Storage – Wood storage is needed for all of the wood that you plan to burn in your fireplace.
- Expensive To Build – They cost a lot if you want to build a new one.
On the other hand, you do have these types of gas fireplaces that are a little bit better than wood fireplaces:
- Direct Vented
The bad news is that gas fireplaces have plenty of their own issues that you have to worry about:
- Flame Is Exposed – The exposed flame still gives these fireplaces a higher risk of starting a house fire.
- Carbon Monoxide – Even though smoke isn’t much of an issue, carbon monoxide can still be released through these.
- Ugly Flame Color – Between unnatural neon blue flames or dull standard flames, they are never very pleasing.
- Weak Flame – You are bound to have weak flames that barely manage to flicker naturally.
- Costly Installation – Due to the difficult installation, you’ll need professionals to help you out.
Why Is an Electric Fireplace Best For a DIY Faux Fireplace?
For the reasons listed in the previous section, you shouldn’t be using wood or gas fireplaces for your mantel build. Instead, you want to go with electric fireplaces. Here are all of the amazing advantages and benefits that come with electric fireplaces:
- No Added Fire Risk – No burning means no additional risk of a fire.
- No Harmful Emissions – Completely forget about worries of smoke or carbon monoxide.
- No Staining or Smells – Smoke staining and smells won’t bother you.
- Using it is Easy – There is no hassle at all to use electric fireplaces.
- Easy Installing – As long as you have a nearby outlet, installation is easy.
- Apartments and Condos – Perfect for homes where you can’t have a chimney.
- Any Room – Can be put in the dining room, family room, and more.
- TV Safe – It won’t damage a TV above it.
- Heat Efficiency – Infrared quartz technology means low heating bills.
- Supplemental Zone Heating – Zone heating with multiple fireplaces can efficiently heat even the largest homes.
- Remote Control – Often comes with a remote.
- Flame Effect Ambiance – Can replicate the atmosphere of a traditional fireplace with high end models.
What Types of Electric Fireplaces Are There and Which Electric Fireplace Type Is Best If You Want To Build Your Own Faux Fireplace Mantel?
So, if you want to build your own surround, mantel, or fireplace area, which of the variations of electric fireplaces should you go with? Here are the many types that there are, as well as which work best with custom surrounds:
- Flat Wall Mantel Package – These already come with a mantel, but the mantel can easily be replaced with your own custom build.
- Corner Fireplace – These corner units also already have their own mantel, but they serve as good inspiration if you want to build a corner mantel.
- TV Stand Fireplace – These help save space but there isn’t much customization involved.
- Corner TV Stand Fireplace – One of these is just the corner version of the TV stands.
- Wall Mount Fireplace – These hanging fireplaces allow for tons of different customization options.
- Electric Insert – These units are the most versatile and the one you want to go with if you would like to make your custom mantel or surround.
- Freestanding Fireplace Heater – These standalone units should just be avoided due to their weak performance.
- Electric Stove – An electric stove is just a standard electric style fireplace made to look like a wood stove. These aren’t made for custom mantels.
15 Faux Fireplace Interior Design Tutorial Ideas and DIY Projects
Without further wait, here are fifteen different faux fireplace ideas:
- Faux Brick – One of the easiest things to do for your fireplace is to use a faux brick kit to make it look like the surrounding area is built of brick. This will make your fireplace look like it is connected to a real brick chimney. The faux bricks are quite easy to put on yourself, so there is no need for the help from a professional to slap together your brick fireplace look.
- Natural Wood Fireplace Surround – If you feel like doing a bit of woodworking, you can build your own custom surround or mantel yourself. By having full control of it, you can choose the size, what type of wood you want, the style, the stain, and more. You can get as ornate and intricate as you want depending on the look you are going for and your overall ability.
- Christmas Focal Point – One thing to consider is how it will look during Christmas. Leave some extra space between the mantel and the fireplace so that you can hang stockings. You can also use some kind of greenery or vines along your mantel. This will look good all year, but you can then add lights to this during the holidays for some extra home decor fun.
- Shiplap Wall – There is no need for you to call a home builder to help you out. You should be able to handle this project yourself. You can choose light colored or white painted wood for a more clean and modern look. Or, if you want more of a rustic look, you can use shades of browns, gray, or a mix of both. Make sure you look online and see what different types of wood and patterns will look like so that you can pick something out that will match your current style. Interior designers shouldn’t be needed for this kind of decision. As long as the color somewhat matches the furniture and other items in your home, your new fireplace will look great.
- Bookshelves – If you are someone who loves to read, you can add shelving right inside of the wall completely surrounding your fireplace. This will give you a lot of space for books near your fireplace, as well as space if you have items you want on display. There is really nothing better than an inviting reading corner. Make sure you have a comfortable couch or chair nearby, with a place to put your feet up and a comfortable blanket always handy.
- Stone Fireplace Look – For your fake fireplace, you can do a faux stone type of look. Just like the bricks that you can find that are faux, stones of different shapes and sizes can also be found. These can be individual glue on pieces that you can arrange yourself, or large strips with many different stones on it. Stone fireplaces have a great, natural look. They are a great compliment if you have a lot of plants in your home. Make sure to have some nice track lighting above your fireplace area, as the lighting will cast interesting shadows all across the fake stones to add interesting depth.
- Birch Logs Fake Fireplace – If you cut a birch log vertically down the center, you can attach the flat of the logs to the walls around the fireplace. Birch has a beautiful light color to it, and really captures more of an inviting cabin feel to your home.
- Tile Fireplace Mantle – With the large variety of tiles that are out there, you can pick colors and patterns that will compliment your home makeover. With your tile remodel of your mantel, make sure to do a lot of research for the perfect visual look you want. It is better to know exactly what it will look like before you start since it is a lot of time and effort to complete.
- Tile Fireplace Wall – Just like your mantel, you can easily add a colorful tile arrangement to the wall behind your fireplace. Of course, it is a good idea to do tiles behind your fireplace, or for the mantel. Combining both can be a little busy. If you were to do a fireplace with a tile wall, then the mantel itself would look great with a matching wood. You can choose a more subtle mantel style to allow the colorful or ornate tiles to be the star of the show.
- Crown Moulding – If you really want to be the architect of your luxurious fireplace area, then you can attempt a crown moulding project. If you are great with wood, you can build this yourself. There are also fantastic kits for you to build your surround yourself instead. Either way, take care that everything looks right. If you are going to head in a direction of luxury, it is important that you pay attention to all of the little details or they will be that much more noticeable compared to something more rustic.
- Floating Mantle – You don’t have to have a mantel shelf that is attached to legs. Instead, find a nice solid piece of wood as your floating mantel. You can support it with beautiful metal brackets on the underside that are attached to the studs within the wall. This will give a nice rustic or industrial look depending on the type of wood you choose and the brackets you use. Just make sure that it is completely secure if you want to ensure it won’t fall once you place items on top of the mantel later.
- Recessed Wall Mounted – With a recession in a wall, you can set up a modern wall mounted style fireplace. With a fireplace like this, it can be completely embedded into the wall so that the end of the fireplace is flush with the wall. Or, you can only install your fireplace partially within the wall so that there is a slight ledge to it for added depth. Because this type of project can require some tricky and heavy lifting, you may want to enlist the help of a friend.
- Entertainment Center Fireplace – There are entertainment centers that can actually house electric fireplaces within their body. Some already have these fireplaces built into them. Other types of these TV stands have a spot where you can use an insert for your own fireplace. This way you can save space by having your fireplace and entertainment stand in the exact same spot.
- TV Mounted Over Fireplace – Another way to save space is to go with a really basic mantel for your fireplace and then mount your flat screen TV up above the mantel. Remember, unlike wood and gas fireplaces, it is totally safe if you want to mount a TV up above electric fireplaces. This is because there is absolutely no smoke that comes out of electric fireplaces and all of the heat that comes out of them is pushed out towards the room by the blowers. It won’t rise directly up into the TV.
- Convert Existing Fireplace – Lastly, if you already have an old wood style fireplace or even a gas fireplace, you can actually just repurpose it and convert it into an electric one. To do this, just use electric inserts in the firebox of the other fireplace. By doing this, you don’t actually have to build anything new, which will save you time and effort.
Can You Buy a Generic Electric Fireplace Insert Off of Amazon or Is It Better To Go With a Brand Name Fireplace Instead?
You really should avoid generic brands altogether. People tend to be very disappointed when they purchase things like these, thinking they will save a few dollars. Instead, you should invest in a quality, trusted brand. With trusted brands, you will end up with a fireplace that you are much happier with. Your fireplace will last for years to come, instead of needing to be replaced or repaired after just a short year or two. When it comes to electric fireplaces, like with many things, you get what you pay for. If you decide to hunt down the cheapest fireplace you can find, you will end up with something that can heat very well, won’t last very long, and has tacky fire effects. Investing in high end electric fireplaces right from the beginning will actually end up saving you quite a bit of money in the long run. Your monthly heating bills will be lower from the more efficient heating capabilities and you won’t be quickly spending more to repair or replace your device.
What Brand of Fireplace Insert Is Best If You Want Fire Effects That Look Like a Real Flame From a Real Fireplace?
If you’re going to go to all that trouble building custom mantels or surrounds for your fireplace, then you should make sure to get an insert for your mantel that is impressively realistic. For that, you don’t need to look much further than a MagikFlame fireplace. While MagikFlame offers many mantel and surround options, they also have great inserts as well. Whether you get an insert or a mantel package they offer, each MagikFlame fireplace comes with these features:
- Ultra Realistic 3D Fire Effects – Holographic flames are 3D projected right onto a physical log set that sits inside of the firebox of MagikFlame fireplaces. There are 30 different styles of flames you can cycle between.
- Crackling Log Sounds – For some added realism, MagikFlame fireplaces also feature the sounds of crackling logs. This elevates the relaxing atmosphere to an even higher level of realism. Additionally, we have nature sounds you can play as well.
- 5,200 BTU Heater – The infrared heating device inside of MagikFlame fireplaces is very efficient and powerful. It can quickly heat a room and keep it warm. It does all of this while making sure to use the least amount of electricity possible so that your heating bill stays nice and low.
- Smartphone App – Instead of a standard remote control, you can very easily control every aspect of your MagikFlame fireplace with their incredibly intuitive app that features large, easy to see buttons.
For some additional resources, check here: