You are currently viewing How to Build DIY Fireplace Mantle and Surround

Are you looking for ideas to DIY a Fireplace Mantle and Surround. Whether your style is shaker, craftsman or farmhouse, clearly you will find this easy step by step guide will help you create a beautiful fireplace for your living room or family room.

Without a doubt, we LOVE fireplaces. Not only do we love the way a fireplace anchors a room, but it also adds charm, character and architectural detail.

There is nothing better than cozying up with a blanket by the fireplace on a chilly winter’s day. Just ask my youngest grandson, Mr. A about that!

It can be 90 degrees outside and the A/C is on and Mr. A wants to turn on the fireplace and cuddle up in a blanket! If you look closely at this photo you will see that the patriotic decor is on the shelves, the fireplace is on and we are cuddled up reading a book.

Yep, it’s July and he wants a fire! Definitely there is something magical about a fire. It beckons to a simpler time, gathering around the fire as a family and sharing stories.

Real quick – are you new here? If so WELCOME! We love new friends, be sure to say hi in the comments and sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss any of our latest ideas!

Before: Fireplace Mantle and Surround

Let’s take a look back at what this space looked like the day we moved in. This area was once the formal dining room. However with some creative redesign, this area became a cozy living room. Would like to see more of this transformation? click here

Can you believe the transformation? Isn’t it amazing what a fireplace and built-ins can do for a space?  Clearly we think so! We are thrilled with the way this turned out. It definitely completes the room.

For detailed plans to create built-in bookcase shelves, click here.

Now on with the build . . .

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See our disclosure for details.

Supply List: Fireplace Mantle and Surround

Tools and supplies we used:

Design & Plan: Fireplace

We began by drawing out the design plan on the wall so we could visualize it.

Pro tip: Our markings on the wall were 1″ smaller than our desired design to accommodate the thickness of the drywall.

As I began looking for the right gas fireplace insert, my brilliant hubby, Steve said, “why don’t we just reinstall the fireplace that was in the den?”

At first I didn’t like the idea, it looked dated with a lot of shiny brass trim. If we were using the existing fireplace I thought I would paint it with a high heat spray paint to update it.

Once again my cleaver hubby, Steve found a way to just remove the brass trim, no need for paint.

Let me share a secret with you, he is CHEAP! I don’t know of anyone who hates spending money quite like him.

Which is a great thing for me, because he is always looking for way to reuse and re-purpose something we already own.

Framework for Installation of Fireplace

We built the framework for the fireplace out of 2 x 4 lumber, using our drawing plans which we made on the wall.

You may also notice PVC pipe behind the framing. This was Steve’s idea for running cables and wiring for gaming, surround sound and cable. Once again he is the BRAINS behind every project.

Drywall Around Fireplace

Once all the framing was complete, as well as running the gas line for the fireplace it was time for the drywall.

We then taped and applied dry wall mud on all of the seams and screws.

Design & Plan Fireplace Mantle and Surround

With the taping and mudding finished, we mapped out the design and dimensions of the mantle and surround on the wall.

You are able see here the sketch of the surround and mantle areas. This helped to know exactly how to cut each piece of wood.

Cut & Assemble Fireplace Surround

For the fireplace surround we used 3/4″ MDF panels. We chose MDF because it paints up beautifully and it is more economical.

We cut 2 of each piece pictured in the diagram.

  • 53″ x 7″ (note: that the bottom section of this is 6″ wide for 40 1/2″)
  • 40 1/2″ x 6″
  • 40 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

Assemble the surround boxes by running a bead of wood glue on the 2 sides of the 40 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ piece. Align this board so that it is flush with the 2 side panels as pictured. Then using the pneumatic nail gun secure the sides.

Note: the seam of the wood will be on the front of the boxes. It will be covered later by the molding.

We next secured the 2 boxes to the wall by lining them up with the pencil lines we had made on the wall. We attached them by securing some strips of wood to the wall into the studs, then nailing the boxes to the wood strips on the sides.

Next we cut a board (72 1/2″ x 7″) that will fit on top of the 2 side pieces. Secure into place with wood glue and nails.

Cut another board (72 1/2″ x 12 1/2″).  Run a bead of glue along the bottom edge and the 2 sides and mount to the 2 side boards and the board that connects the 2 side columns. Secure with nails.

Note: The seam should be on the front and it will be flush with the 2 side boards. This seam will be covered with molding.

Cut & Assemble Fireplace Mantle

We then cut the board for the mantle top (74″ x 11″) from the 3/4″ MDF panel. To make the mantle top appear chunkier, we applied 1 1/2″ trim boards on 3 sides with a miter cut on the 2 front corners.

Secure the mantle top in place with wood glue and brads.

Adding Molding: Fireplace Mantle & Surround

Now it’s time for all of the details! Yeah! Without a doubt, this is what makes the fireplace mantle and surround come to life!

We used baseboard for all of the decorative craftsman/shaker details. I wanted a cohesive look in my home. Therefore to mimic the design of the custom shaker cabinets that are in our kitchen, we found a baseboard molding that was very similar to the cabinets.

Take a look at the cabinets and the molding we used. Don’t you think it’s a pretty good match?

At the base of the 2 columns we used the 8″ x 1″ molding board, trimmed to 7″ wide. We mitered the corners and installed this with wood glue and nails. This can be seen better in the close up picture of the column piece above.

We cut a 5 1/2″ strip from the 3/4″ MDF panel to use against the chimney wall where it meets the ceiling. Cut the board longer than needed then hold it in place and draw lines on the back of the board where it meets the side of the wall. Cut the boards on the marked lines and secure it in place using nails.

For all of the decorative trim we used a 3 1/2″ baseboard, mitered the corners and secured in place with wood glue and nails. Just below the top of the mantle we used a 1 1/2″ board behind the crown molding piece. It can be seen a little better in the photo below.

On the wall above the mantel we ran 2 lengths of the baseboard with the decorative edge facing each other on each side.

Final Step: Caulk, Putty & Paint: Fireplace mantle & Surround

The final step is to caulk all of the seams and putty in the nail holes. Once it is all sanded and prepped it is ready for paint. We had a custom color paint mixed that matched the kitchen cupboards.

Quick tip: Wait to install the tile around the fireplace until the painting is finished. This will save time masking off the tile. We used a traditional and classic white hexagon tile for the surround.

To finish off the tile edge we installed a cove molding painted with the same paint we used on the fireplace mantle and surround.

Do you love the fireplace mantle and surround? We absolutely LOVE it! The perfect spot to cozy up and read a book or cuddle with the grandkids. We also love the extra storage the built-ins provide too.

For more fireplace with built-in inspiration check out Steph’s built-in entertainment center with an electric fireplace.

Is this a project you would like to try?  Please drop us a comment if you have any questions or if you try this project. We would love to hear from you!

Please be sure to PIN IT and SHARE!

As always here at Sunny Side Design, we hope to


Fireplace Mantle Surround

Would you like to see more?  Tour the entire living room remodel here!

Do you love to DIY? Looking for plans for a custom mudroom storage.  Then check out how we built  custom mudroom storage that keep everyone organized!

For even more budget friendly DIY ideas follow us on Pinterest

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Paula Dudley

    I am interested in the fireplace surround plans. I was unable to click on the picture as indicated above. Would you be able to send to me?

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Hi Paula, the measured plans and drawings are in the blog post itself. We do not have a digital format to email out.

  2. Marilyn B

    Love your plan !!! I’m looking to do shiplap and something similar to cover over some old, brown 70’s brick that just dates my den into a sad, sad, room, Hopefully it will be THIS nice when finished

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Sounds fabulous Marilyn. Please share your room when you are finish. We would love to see!

  3. Elizabeth

    This looks fabulous! We are in the middle of a similar project, and are struggling to figure out how to keep the mantle flush on the sides as to not overhang into the bookshelf area. Can you elaborate on the size/type of crown molding you used and how you assembled it? Thank you!

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Elizabeth, We love to hear from our viewers. We used a more contemporary crown molding (3″). We purchased it through BMC We mounted the crown on top of a 2″ molding. The crown was cut to the length of fireplace surround. It does not go around on the sides of the surround. The side crown was finished off cutting it on a 45 degree angle for each piece. I will send you several photos of this area. Please let us know if you have any more questions. Please send photos when you are finished We’d love to see your project!

  4. Sonja

    Absolutely beautiful! How did you secure the tv? Did you mount it or use a stand?

    1. Michelle Dickson

      Thank you Sonja, The TV is mounted to the wall with a TV mount.

Leave a Reply