DIY “fireplace.”

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i’m excited to share with you a project that my brother Brian + i completed together this fall: a DIY faux fireplace for our upstairs living room!

THE INSPIRATION

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{p.s. how cute is my niece?!}

after seeing my sister-in-law’s amazing faux fireplace {pictured above} + begging her to tell me how she did it – and where she got the rustic wood! – Brian and i tackled our own DIY interpretation in my home.

THE MATERIALS

to create our faux fireplace + mantle, which is approximately six feet wide and four feet tall, we used the materials listed below. i estimate that this project cost around $250 in materials; the reclaimed wood was free.

overall, i wanted to echo the dimensions of a real “fireplace” and mantle, which required us to build our structure out from the wall. my engineer brother drew up some plans {ahem, nerd}, based on where he found studs in the wall. we then used 2×4’s and 2×6’s to create a base surface to which we attached the reclaimed wood pieces and the wainscoting for visual appeal.

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  • 2×4’s and 2×6’s to create the base for the faux fireplace {pictured above}
  • heavy-duty and super-long screws {that’s as technical as i get, ha!}
  • plywood, trimmed to size, for the base of the fireplace
  • wainscoting, trimmed to size, to add aesthetic appeal to the faux fireplace insert and the base of the fireplace
  • a whole bunch of reclaimed rustic wood {the pieces that we used were from a local abandoned shed and fence near my sister-in-law’s home}

WHAT OUR “FIREPLACE” ADDS TO OUR HOME + STYLING TIPS

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{optional: cute baby who thinks the fireplace base is his own personal performance stage}

having this focal point in our upstairs living room has really changed the look and feel of the room. before we built this faux fireplace, we had a large Expedit bookshelf from IKEA in its place. while the storage capabilities of this bookshelf were top-notch, particularly for the kids’ toys and books, i was ready for a change.

instead of focusing on storage, i wanted to focus on creating a focal point in this room that 1) was pretty and, 2) frankly, that’s purpose was just to make me happy. {sidenote: i’m a firm believer that storage can – and should! – be pretty, which is why my home is full of woven or wicker baskets, large metal containers and colorful storage totes. but this girl wanted a happy place just for me, so we changed it up.}

in terms of styling {and i’m no Emily Henderson, but i love how i styled this part of my home, so i’m sharing!}, when the building phase was completed, i threw a bunch of my books in the middle of the “fireplace,” where the firebox would be if this were a real working fireplace. then, i roll-folded a bunch of neutral-colored blankets {some of which were made by hand by my grandmother!} and placed them in a felt basket with leather handles {a Target find}. then, i placed a taupe and black pouf on the other side of the fireplace. finally, i hung a garland of felt balls {thanks again, Target} on a few finishing nails that i pounded into the wood. so far, i’ve been changing this garland with the seasons, which has been quite fun; the photo above features an acorn garland for Thanksgiving. it was also quite charming to hang our boys’ stockings from the mantle in the Christmas season, as you can {partially} see below.

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because we mounted the television above the fireplace, i kept the styling of the mantle simple, with just a few items to the left and the right of the television to provide access for the remote control. i know that placing a television above a fireplace, real or not, is a widely debated topic in the design world, but i LOVE the way that this wall now commands attention with two “big items” – the fireplace and the television – working together. plus, the main critique that i found with this sort of arrangement involved the difficulty of seeing the television while seated, but our mount is adjustable, so we tip the television down slightly when we’re seated on the couch. and, since our upstairs living room is completely open to our kitchen, we can still play “Wheel of Fortune” {me and Jord’s guilty pleasure – we compete hardcore} while gearing up for dinner. in other words, this set-up works SO well for our family.

here’s how the fireplace currently looks:

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as you can see, the taupe and black pouf has been replaced by a basket, which holds Q’s musical instruments; the pouf now lives on the floor next to our armchair and is a rest for aching feet after a long day’s work. and though it’s not pictured now, more often than not, L’s Blaze and the Monster Machines playset is often atop the base of the fireplace, awaiting its next play session.

my kids love to use the fireplace as a performance stage and an obstacle course {never a dull moment}, but overall, the fireplace brings me so much joy that i could care less. many thanks to my brother Brian for the many, MANY hours that we spent on this project!

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.
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