How to Build a DIY Electric Fireplace Surround

22 Materials
2 Weeks


This little cave living room was so boring only a month ago, but with our DIY electric fireplace surround and our big, bold tile, it’s totally changed the vibe in here and we spend about as much time staring at it as we do watching TV. Here’s how we did it.

You can read a complete breakdown on this project on our blog HERE.

Remove Baseboard

In order for the whole structure to be super sturdy and flush with the wall, you’ll need to remove the baseboard in the section where the fireplace will go.

Build Base Structure

Start by making a rectangle out of 2×4 that’s the height and length of your hearth (minus the 1/2″ or 3/4″ thickness of the plywood that you’ll wrap it in), then secure it to the wall using 3-inch screws into as many studs as you can.

Build Surround for Fireplace Insert

To make the fireplace support, you’ll make another cube-like structure but much more shallow. Our fireplace insert was only about 6 inches deep so the overall middle section is about 8 inches deep, and we added a rectangular opening across the front that holds the fireplace insert 

Build Top Structure, Mount TV

We ran our cords down from the TV mount, through the mantel, down behind the fireplace and into the outlet at the base of our wall, so it was kind of a maze of holes all throughout constructing this piece.

Add Tiles

Because we tiled the whole upper portion, we used cementboard as the surround because our research told us it was a more solid foundation for tile (read: no warping or shrinking which could lead to cracking).

I was itching to use  this tile the second it showed up. I’d had it saved in my bookmarks forever wanting to use it somewhere because it’s so bold and old world and vintage but modern at the same time, I just love it.

Insert Fireplace

We cannot recommend these inserts enough because the manual made it really easy to design our own fireplace structure, it just plugs into an outlet like any other appliance, and it has different settings like the option to heat the room or just have the ambience of fire with the visual of flames.

Paint and Decorate

This is totally optional, but we added some outside corner trim pieces to the whole structure mostly because our math was off and we had a weird gap in the tile at the edges that this fixed. We painted the trim the same black as the hearth would be, and added a bead of construction adhesive to the back. We used painters tape to secure the trim pieces in place while they dried because it took a good few hours.

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Suggested materials:
  • Touchstone Home 36” recessed fireplace
  • Drill
  • Saw (we used both our table saw and miter saw)
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
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  • Carolina's Art Carolina's Art on Oct 03, 2021

    Looks great. Love the tile. What fireplace did you buy?

  • Lorie Lorie on Oct 03, 2021

    Not a question. This looks great! My husband built a box similar to this but we put TV on the wall since we had an outlet for it.