The Living Room: A Fireplace Built-In

2 Materials
2 Weeks
Now that you have seen how we re-worked the space in our new open concept main floor, let's get to that living room. We knew we wanted a fireplace, and I had always dreamed of having some kind of mantle and built-in's to help anchor the room and give it some traditional character. We went with a natural gas fireplace and after browsing around on Pinterest, I did up a basic sketch for our contractor. He seemed pretty confident that he could translate my drawing into reality, so we just let him run with it. Here is the play-by-play in photographs of how it all came together.
The fireplace installed in a basic frame that our contractor put up ahead of time...You can see the cabinets starting to take shape here, and the back of the wall that would run up from the mantle.
I know that TVs over the fireplace can be a design no-no, but I don't love the look of them off to the side of a built in (the symmetry just isn't right for me), and there was literally no other wall to put a TV against in this room. After looking up tons of inspiration to make sure I wasn't making a huge mistake, we went for it. That's why you see the cords running through that wall - so that we could mount the TV and not have any wires showing.
Here is when the detail work started to take shape. I had sketched out this very square design with in-lays, and our contractor built it out of MDF (medium density fiberboard - a cheaper alternative to wood). He beveled the in-lays to give them a traditional look, and copied the lines where two pieces of wood meet to mimic the kitchen cabinets. Oh, and our tiler had laid the tile for the hearth by this point too. I grabbed some basic 1212 carrara marble tile from the Home Depot - classic.
I wanted it to go all the way to the ceiling to really make the most of the height and bring the eye up.
Now you can see how the box was built for the TV. Our contractor built the box to leave enough room for our TV and sound bar - but this way it would be inset. I wanted to tuck the TV in as much as we could so as to not draw attention to it.
To see the rest of the progress, as well as, the finished painted fireplace wall, click through to see the full post.
Suggested materials:
  • Mdf   (hardware store)
  • Paint   (Benjamin Moore)
The Sweetest Digs
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 6 questions
  • Emily Emily on Mar 01, 2017
    What are the dimensions of your fireplace, firebox and tv? Specifically the width of each. Thanks!
  • Pamela Johnson Pamela Johnson on May 05, 2018

    How can this design be adapted for an electric fireplace insert? I have an all electric home.

  • Maxine Maxine on Feb 08, 2019

    Love this design! I have a window in the middle, what can I do with that!?

Join the conversation
2 of 65 comments
  • Patty G Patty G on Jul 27, 2018

    What a nice upgrade! Very talented.

  • Linda Abate Linda Abate on Jul 27, 2018

    Beautiful job and this really adds to the fireplace. Great storage space for games, puzzles, cd's and movies as well as books, and toys.