How to Build a Portable Free Standing Decorative Faux Fireplace

4 Materials
$65
2 Days
Medium

So excited to share my favorite project of all time: a DIY faux fireplace! I've always dreamed of having a fireplace but my rental apartment doesn't have one. I was determined to change that and I finally did it ! I'm absolutely in love with it and It's amazing how it completely transformed my living room - it's like I moved to a new apartment!


***Do keep in mind that this project is for decorative purposes only and is not to be used as a heater***

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

This is what my apartment looked like when I moved in - very boring and zero character.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

I used 2"x3" (but you could also use 2"x4") , 1"x12" pine boards (but you could also use plywood) and 1/4" thick plywood.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

I started by building 4 supports using the 2"x3", using a speed square to make sure that every corner is at 90 degrees.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

Then I made the firebox by attaching the 1"x12" pieces that make the sides of the firebox to 2 of the supports and then attaching the top and bottom. Then I attached the 1"x12" piece that make the base, attached the remaining 2 supports at each end and then I attached the 1"x12" to the top of the supports.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

This is the structure of the fireplace surround before I attached plywood to it. You can easily customize the dimensions to suite your space.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

I covered the structure with 1/4" thick plywood and painted the firebox with black chalk paint. This entire structure only cost $65 to build and then can be customized with any mantel, finish and fake fire log insert.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

I wanted my fireplace to have a modern yet soft beachy look so I decided to cover the surround with easy to install peel and stick Smart Tiles that have a beautiful stone finish. They are easy to cut with a utility knife and ruler and there's no grouting so there's no mess! And it also made tiling around the corners much easier than having to cut real tile.

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

After tiling, I installed a mantel that I made with 1"x2"s, 1x"4"s and plywood that I had on hand. It was a bit of a frankenstein but once I installed it and painted it, it gave the desired effect of having a nice thick mantel. I added a mantle. Then the final piece of the puzzle to make this look like a fireplace is an electrical log insert that has surprisingly real looking flame!

*** I only use it as a decor item and NEVER use the heater function as it is not recommended in this type of application ***

how to build a portable free standing decorative faux fireplace

And voila! My dream of having a fireplace has come true! It has truly changed the entire look of my living room and apartment and since this is essentially like a piece of furniture, I'll be able to take it with me when I move out!

This was a really fun project to build and I made this video of the building process showing all the steps in more detail. Hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did!

Suggested materials:

  • 2"x3"  (1"x12")
  • 1/4" thick plywood (4'x8')  (material cost doesn't include mantel or tile)
Engineer Your Space

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Go

Have a question about this project?

3 of 26 questions
  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz
    on Jan 1, 2019

    Do you have to use chalk paint? Couldn’t you use flat black paint at less money?

    • Kim
      on Jan 2, 2019

      Yes, on bare wood, any paint would have worked.

  • Bob Schulenberg
    on Jan 2, 2019

    I’m such a cynic!

    i read the headline and always think “right!. It’ll probably look low rent!”

    But when will I ever learn?

    Yet again - this is gorgeous and as chic and stylish as something in a Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire movie!

    congratulations!

    Like another questioner, I also wonder where you’re able to store all your tools?

    • Ellen
      on Jan 2, 2019

      She said she had borrowed the tools in the video. Take time to watch it; it's worth the time.

  • Susan Truxal
    on Jan 6, 2019

    Where did you get the peel and stick tile?

    • Suzanne Olsen
      on Jan 8, 2019

      Amazon has a huge selection. The price isn't bad and I have prime so free shipping. I did the kitchen back splash in my rental unit and my home

Join the conversation

2 of 197 comments
  • Connie Steiner
    on Jan 24, 2019

    Great job and I think I'm going to make one too

  • Zena
    on Feb 13, 2019

    I have been thinking on doing this to mine for the past month or so but i wasn't sure if the peel and stick tiles would look okay.. They look amazing!, it's beautiful!. definitely be doing mine now. Thanks

Your comment...