How to Build a DIY Fireplace for an Electric Insert From Scratch

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Our DIY farmhouse fireplace project is officially done y’all!!! We built this DIY fireplace for an electric fireplace insert from scratch!! This was a really big project for us, and there were times where we doubted our skill and abilities. But I’m here to tell you that if we can do this, you can too! So If you’ve been thinking about building your own DIY fireplace for an electric insert, this is the post for you!! I will walk you through the exact process of how we built the new fireplace from start to finish! I’ll share all the details and steps, measurements and dimensions, cost details, paint colors, info about the electric fireplace insert we chose, and everything you could possibly want to know about the project! But first, let’s take a look at what this space looked like before we got started…

wall of dark stained reclaimed shiplap

And here is how it looks today!

custom DIY fireplace with an antique mantel, built-in shelves, a frame TV above the fireplace, and an electric fireplace insert

Ok, so here’s the short version of how we built our own fireplace from scratch: First we framed and built out a brand new wall and wrapped that framing in beadboard. We then added an antique mantel to the front of the wall. We hung our Samsung Frame TV above the mantel and added a frame from Deco TV Frames. Then we installed an electric insert into the opening. And now we have a working fireplace y’all! I just can’t even believe it! I can’t believe how good this project has turned out so far, and I can’t believe we have a real fireplace in our living room now! And such a beautiful one at that…

Brittany of White & Woodgrain adding brass candlesticks to our new farmhouse cottage DIY fireplace
Brittany of White & Woodgrain adding brass candlesticks to our new farmhouse cottage DIY fireplace

What supplies and materials do you need for this project?

First things first… Let me tell you everything you will need to build a fireplace for an electric insert! Here’s a list of all the materials we used to build out the fireplace! The exact amount you need of each of these will vary based on the desired size of your fireplace.

  • 2 x 4’s – to frame out the wall. We got the 14 of the 10 foot length boards because we have 9 foot ceilings.
  • 4 x 8 feet sheets of beadboard. We bought 4 of these, but probably could have gotten by with 3 if we had been more precise with our cuts.
  • outside corner moulding – We used this as trim piece to hug the corner of the wall and cover the beadboard seams. We bought 3 of these.
  • lattice moulding – We used this as a trim piece at the very top and the very bottom of the beadboard to finish the wall and cover the seams. We bought 3 of these.
  • 4 inch Wood Screws
  • Brad Nails
  • Caulk
  • Paint
  • Dimplex Electric Fireplace Insert – We chose the 42 inch Revillusion with the brick paneling design.
DIY farmhouse fireplace with an antique mantel, built-in shelves, a frame TV above the fireplace, and an electric fireplace insert styled in whites and wood tones

What tools do you need to build a DIY fireplace for an electric insert?

Luckily we had all of these tools already except the brad nailer. We could have done without that, but it made hanging the beadboard so much easier! So I would recommend using it for sure!

  • Tape Measure
  • Saws – we used both a table saw and a circular saw for this project.
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Brad Nailer
  • Caulk Gun
  • Paint Supplies – Brushes & Roller
Cocker Spaniel in front of DIY farmhouse fireplace with an antique mantel, a frame TV above the fireplace, and an electric fireplace insert

How much did it cost to build a DIY fireplace for an electric insert?

While this number will vary based on the size of your project, and the price of lumber and other materials in your area… I am happy to share what the project cost us! We spent a total of $300 dollars on materials to build our DIY fireplace. The antique mantel cost an extra $280. And the two shelving units on each side of the fireplace were hand-me-down pieces from my grandparent’s house. So total for the project is just under $600.

Brittany of White & Woodgrain adding brass candlesticks to our new farmhouse cottage DIY fireplace

This number does not include any tools, or our Frame TV, or the Electric Insert. The prices for these items will vary widely based on the tools you may already own, what size electric insert you choose for your home, whether or not you choose to hang a TV above your fireplace, etc! But I will share the links here so that you can view the exact items we used in our space…

Dimplex Revillusion Electric Fireplace Insert

Samsung Frame TV

Deco TV Frame in Antique Gold – Unfortunately this color / style is no longer available online. The closest one available now is called Tuscan Copper and it’s actually really similar y’all! Like so so close, only slightly different in the color. Deco TV Frames has a ton of colors and styles to choose from on their website. Some of my personal favorites are the Antique Gold, the Antique White, and the Ornate Gold.

These frames are truly a work of art in themselves! Head to this post I wrote about our Frame TV for more details on our TV and the Frame.

The fireplace looks massive! What are the dimensions and measurements?

I want to preface this section with important information about our fireplace project! All the dimensions for this project were determined by the size and scale of the antique mantel we wanted to incorporate into this space. Feel free to use these as a jumping off point, but make sure to adjust the dimensions to fit your home and the materials / space you are working with.

Brittany of White & Woodgrain adding brass candlesticks to our new farmhouse cottage DIY fireplace

Overall, the fireplace wall measures 9 feet tall, by 7 feet 11 inches wide, by 15.5 inches deep. It’s quite large, but so is the antique mantel. The mantel measures 4 feet 11 inches tall by 7 feet 3 inches wide. So we needed to scale the project to fit those dimensions. The electric insert is a 42 inch model, which sounds big, but any smaller wouldn’t have fit the scale of the mantel. And our Frame TV is a 65 inch, which is another reason the electric insert needed to be on the larger side! (Men and their big TV’s… haha!)

Brittany, home blogger from White & Woodgrain, adding decor to our new farmhouse cottage DIY fireplace

How long does it actually take to build a DIY fireplace?

From start to finish this project could have been completed in a month’s worth of weekends. But if you were following along on my Instagram stories you know it took us much longer… This is partially because of shipping delays waiting for the fireplace insert, and partially because I tend to do projects around the kids’ schedules! But also for us, there was a lot of painting involved with this DIY! Yes, I painted the beadboard wall. But I also painted both of the shelves on each side of the fireplace as well as the mantel. Take the painting out, and I think you could complete this project in 2 weekends, maybe 3 tops!

How to Build a DIY Fireplace for an Electric Insert:

Let me tell you the exact steps we took to build out a fireplace to fit our electric fireplace insert!

  1. Determine your overall dimensions.

    (See above section.)

  2. Purchase materials.

  3. Frame out your new wall using 2×4’s and 4 inch wood screws. We framed the side sections first.

    For each side frame, we cut 2 2×4’s to measure 9 feet long, and then 5 shorter sections that were 12 inches long. Once we put them together, the side frames measure 9 feet tall by 15 inches wide.

    Position your frames, and then attach each side frame to your existing wall, ensuring you secure them to the studs inside your wall. Because we have shiplap on our wall, we were able to screw our side frames directly into the shiplap. If you are building the fireplace on a sheetrock wall, you can also also use backer boards. Basically you will need to attach boards to your wall, similar to shiplap. Make sure you secure the backer boards into the studs. Then you can secure your frame to those boards so that it is all tied into the studs.

  4. Build out your front framework, and secure it to the side frames.

    Because the side frames were already in place, it made measuring for the front frame a little easier. We measured the distance between the two side frames to determine the exact size for the front frame. It measured roughly 9 feet tall by 84 inches wide. Once you have the top, bottom and side 2×4’s cut, you can assemble them making a rectangle. Check the fit of this frame, then you can add the studs on the inside of the front frame. We determined the position of each of these interior boards based on the manual for our electric fireplace insert and also based on the tv mount that came with our Frame TV. Secure the front frame to the side frames with 4 inch screws.

  5. Wrap your new wall in beadboard.

    Wrap the new studs and framing in beadboard. This is where the brad nailer comes in handy. You can use it to quickly secure the sheets of beadboard to the wall, then you can go back and add additional screws as needed.

  6. Add some finishing touches with trim, caulk, a mantelpiece, and a fresh coat of paint.

    We added lattice moulding to cover the top and bottom of the wall. Then we added outside corner moulding to the cover up the seams at the corners of the new wall. Here’s a look at our trim before I painted it. I used a very simple understated trim, but it really finished things off nicely without taking away from the character and detail of the mantel!

  7. Mount your TV above the fireplace.

  8. Install your electric fireplace insert and enjoy!

    We installed the 42 inch Revillusion Firebox insert from Dimplex! And I couldn’t be more happy with the way it completed this project, and the cozy factor it has added to this space!!

What paint colors did you use?

The beadboard and trim on the wall was painted with Behr’s Ultra Scuff Defense Paint. The finish is eggshell and the color is called Bit of Sugar. This is also the same color we have on the rest of the walls and the trim throughout the house, so I knew it would blend in well! The built-ins are painted in the same paint as the wall, Bit of Sugar by Behr. I had extra paint leftover from painting the wall, but I also wanted these pieces to blend with the wall a bit.

DIY farmhouse fireplace with an antique mantel, built-in shelves, a frame TV above the fireplace, and an electric fireplace insert styled in whites and wood tones

Tell me the story behind the antique mantel that inspired this project!

The antique mantel was actually salvaged from an 1800’s era home in Fuquay Varina, NC. We actually found the mantel on Facebook Marketplace and were able to purchase it for $280. Which for the size of it and the age, I felt like we got a pretty good deal! And if you are looking for an antique mantel for your home, I think Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start your search.

farmhouse cottage style fireplace with electric insert and frame TV above the antique mantel

I know not everyone would attempt to paint over the original chippy paint on an antique find like this. But I just didn’t love the blue in our home. And because I’ve been able to re-create an authentic chippy look on other pieces, like this chippy painted farmhouse cabinet, I felt like I could update the color and still keep the character and chippy texture that I fell in love with. How do you think I did? I used Milk Paint by Fusion in the color Hotel Robe. Head to this post I wrote to see exactly how I got this authentic chippy look on our antique mantelpiece!

Where did you find such a realistic looking electric fireplace insert?

Ok, onto the electric insert!! It was very important to me to find an electric insert that would do the antique mantel justice, meaning nothing too modern, and appropriately scaled to fit the opening comfortably. So I searched for a long time… And I have to say that no other insert compared to the Dimplex Revillusion!

Measuring at 42″, it fits so nicely inside the opening of our large scale antique mantelpiece. The brick pattern on the back of the unit is absolutely beautiful in person! And the logs are almost life like! They even glow like an actual log does when it’s on fire, and they have a realistic charred look to them. The flames jump and flicker like a real fire, and the coloring is just perfect!

DIY fireplace with electric insert, chippy white antique mantel, and a frame TV above the mantel

Installation was a breeze! I mean it when I say this y’all… installing the electric insert was by far the easiest step of this entire project! We used the plug kit (which is sold separately) so that we could plug the unit into the electrical outlet in the wall. You could also hardwire it, but this was the easier option for us! Then the entire unit slid right into the opening of the fireplace wall. After adding a few screws the install was done, and it probably took us less than 30 minutes total!

The Revillusion Electric Insert by Dimplex has brought a huge cozy factor to our living room that has been missing! I mean, its the flicker and glow of the flames, the actual warmth from the unit, and the character and charm of the antique mantelpiece… it all blends so nicely together and completes this space! I seriously couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful electric fireplace. And I feel like it truly does our antique mantelpiece justice!!

Is that really a TV above the fireplace?

Yes, it really is! We have the Samsung Frame TV, which allows your TV to blend in and pass as art! You can read all about our Samsung Frame TV and the Deco TV frame we chose in this post.

DIY fireplace with electric insert, chippy white antique mantel, and a frame TV above the mantel

OK, now what about those built-ins…?

The built-ins used to be part of my grandparents entertainment center. We had them cut down to fit the depth of the fireplace wall. If you’re local, I highly recommend Potts Woodshop for all your woodworking / furniture repair needs! Originally the shelves were 20 or 22 inches deep. Now they measure 12 inches deep which is ideal for this space! We painted them to blend in, and we added anti-tip straps to the top of the shelves to secure them to the wall.

vintage farmhouse and cottage style shelf with framed photos, milk glass vases, a collection of books and an ivy houseplant
vintage farmhouse and cottage style shelf with framed photos, milk glass vases, wooden shoe molds, a collection of books, baskets, and a houseplant,

I wanted the look of built-ins with the option to move these shelving units later on. I can imagine moving them during the holidays to make room for a Christmas tree beside the fireplace! Can you picture it?? While we keep mostly decorative items and books on the shelves, our TV components are all hidden away in the cabinet on the right.

vintage farmhouse and cottage style shelf with framed photos, a stack of doilies, a collection of books, baskets, and a houseplant
vintage farmhouse and cottage style shelf with framed photos, a stack of doilies, a collection of books, baskets, and a houseplant

I am so happy with how our DIY fireplace project has turned out! I’m in love with the electric insert and how it compliments the antique mantelpiece! I’m also just so proud of us for completing such a big project!! And I’m thankful that my husband was so willing to jump right in and help me make my vision come to life! I hope you enjoyed seeing the finished fireplace in today’s blog post! Want to see this project unfold from start to finish? Take a look back at where we started… (Today’s post would be part 5 in this series of posts!)

vintage farmhouse and cottage style fireplace with lots of white and wood tones, beadboard, built-in shelves, a chippy white antique mantel, an electric insert, and a Frame TV above the mantel

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, thank you so much for hanging out and taking a look at this project with me today! I hope it inspired you in some way!! And if you’re here because you want to learn how to build a DIY Fireplace for an electric insert in your home, then I hope this post was helpful to you as you plan your own project!! If you have any questions please reach out and ask… I’m happy to share and answer your questions! To see videos of this project in progress, head over to my Instagram where you’ll find a reel I made of our progress and also lots more videos of this space in my highlights! Thank you for stopping by the blog today, and as always, thank you so much for following along…

Love, Brittany
how to build a DIY farmhouse fireplace for an electric insert - and where to find the most realistic looking electric inserts

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