Creating a DIY modern fireplace for our home was on my to-do list from day one! Originally, I wanted a corner fireplace (like what was offered when we built our home) but now I’m so glad I waited. When I came up with the idea for built-ins, I decided to include the fireplace in that too. I’m so happy with the way everything turned out, and it feels like it was always meant to be in our home. Also, special thanks to Touchstone for providing the electric insert! (post contains affiliate links, see disclosure)
I chose the 45-inch insert for a couple of reasons. It was modern and affordable, didn’t seem too big or too small and the width of it matches up perfectly to our 55-inch TV. This way everything is perfectly centered with the wall and doesn’t feel unbalanced. There are so many great tutorials on DIY fireplaces and all are so different and custom. My design and measurements are based on our home and insert, so I just kind of made it up as I went along and didn’t take many pictures. However, if you have any questions please let me know and I will try to help!
- Touchstone Sideline 45″ electric fireplace insert
- (4) 2x4x8 premium whitewood stud
- (4) 2x2x8 furring strip boards
- (2) 1x6x6 common board
- (1) 4×8 1/4 inch plywood sheet
- (4) 1x2x8 common board
- 2-inch wood screws
- Kreg Jig
- Kreg Jig screws
- impact driver or screwdriver
- nailgun & nails
- stud finder
- Build two sides supports using the 2×2’s and Kreg jig according to desired measurements.
- Build the front frame with 2×4’s and Kreg Jig according to desired measurements.
- Attach 1×6 to wall studs using a stud finder and wood screws. Make sure boards are straight and level, as they are the boards that will support the sides of the fireplace box.
- Attach side supports to the 1×6 using wood screws, spaced correctly according to front frame measurements.
- Attach the front frame to the side supports using wood screws.
- Place the electric insert into the front frame and attach it according to Touchstone instructions.
- Create front and sides cover with 1/4 inch plywood and attache with a nailgun.
- Design the front of the fireplace to the desired style and color.
My measurements are based on my built-ins because I wanted everything flush and symmetrical, however, you can create your own measurements for your space. The height for the fireplace (not including the mantel) is 45 inches, the width is 62 inches and the depth is 13 inches. Again, I didn’t take any pictures during the building so I created some very basic (not to scale) renderings of how it is all put together.
For the sides, I used the 2×2’s to create the supports. I cut each piece of wood at 45 inches for the height, and then 10 inches for the inner pieces. Their width is 13 inches in total. You will have to account for the 1 1/2″ of each piece of wood. Remember a 2×2 is more like a 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″.
The Touchstone electric insert came with great instructions and detailed measurements for building a frame. I was able to use those measurements to build the front frame. I started with a basic square, then added center support, where the fireplace will sit on. For extra support, three more pieces were added underneath. Then, side supports and a top for around the fireplace. You’ll need the sides because the fireplace insert is screwed into these.
Then, it’s time to start attaching everything together. Because the studs in the wall didn’t line up with where my side supports for the fireplace are, I attached two 1×6’s to the wall. Then, I attached the side supports to the 1×6’s with wood screws. Next, attach the front frame to the side supports. Here you can also dry-fit the fireplace insert and make any adjustments as needed.
FRONT & SIDE DESIGN
Now it’s time to create the front. Using 1/4 inch plywood, cut to 61 inches wide and 45 inches tall, I measured the opening for the electric insert. I used a straight edge and my jigsaw to cut the opening and then attached the whole piece with my nailgun. Then, I repeated the same steps for the sides. However, for the side next to the built-in, I cut the side almost in half and only permanently attached the front piece (more on this later). Once the front is attached, screw the fireplace in and attached the glass front according to Touchstone instructions.
Then came the fun part of the fireplace design. Originally, I thought I wanted a faux cement look and was planning to do that with paint, like this inspiration picture. I loved the gray and it was an amazing color. However, as I was about halfway into the project I decided to just paint it my go-to white, Ultra White by Valspar. It’s the same color as our bookcases, so now the eye just flows throughout the room without immediately being drawn to a dark gray fireplace.
SECRET ACCESS & STORAGE
I also used 1×2’s to create a simple design across the front and cover the seams from the plywood on each corner. The 1×2’s were used to frame out the built-ins, so now everything is tied together. On one side of the fireplace, the side is wedged into place instead of being permanently attached. I left this opening so that we can access the electrical for the fireplace and our tv components (they are in the mantel) when we need to. Now, the entire fireplace doesn’t need to be disassembled to gain access.
While I do wish we had a fancy Frame TV, I really don’t mind our tv here. It’s mounted to the wall and the fireplace and mantel come out far enough to where it seems natural. It’s another reason why I didn’t build the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling because once the mantel and fireplace were hung, it would protrude out even further into the room.
Overall I am so happy with this DIY modern fireplace. The Touchstone electric insert is awesome too! There are so many different options from the color of the flames, the strength of the fire, and heat or no heat. Sometimes we turn it on just for the pretty colors. Next, check out our DIY fireplace mantel with storage!