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How To Make An Electric Fireplace Look Built In

By Lawrence Macmillan April 08, 2022

An electric fireplace is a great way to add warmth and ambiance to your home, without the hassle that comes with a traditional (or ‘real’) fireplace. They come in various sizes and styles, from simple designs to elaborate ones.

The design of an electric fireplace depends on the style of your house, but they’re very versatile. You can install them anywhere in your house, whether it’s in a living room, kitchen, bedroom, or even outdoors.

They’re an ideal option for most homes, especially if your home wouldn’t be compatible with an ordinary fireplace.

But if you don’t already have a space for a fireplace, how can you make it look as if it’s built into your home? The following article will break down all you need to know.

Electric Fireplace Look Built In

Creating A Mantel For Your Fireplace

The first step to making your electric fireplace look as if it’s built into your home (or like it’s a real fireplace) is to make a mantel, which will be the primary focal point of the fireplace. If you’d rather just buy a pre-made mantel, this is also an option.

The exact method may differ depending on the size of your desired electric fireplace (most, though, are around 60 inches in length) and on your personal preferences, but in most cases, you should start with three boards of wood (preferably with ebony stain).

Next, apply mahogany stain to the boards, on top of the ebony stain. You’ll likely need a large number of liquid nails to attach all of your materials.

For even more character, you can also distress the wood, which will give it a more rustic feel. Frame the wall and do the appropriate measurements to determine how large your fireplace is going to be. Apply tape around the outline of your future fireplace.

Build your frame before securing the studs to the frames, and then securing the frames themselves.

Use The Right Materials

Use The Right Materials

Another tip for making your fireplace look authentic is to install certain features around the fireplace to draw visitors’ eyes away from the fire itself. Some of the best options to achieve this are wall coverings and certain custom cabinets.

Shiplap boards will help to provide a more rustic effect and are fairly popular amongst fireplace owners and electric fireplace owners alike. It’s a way to draw attention upwards, away from the fireplace.

If you’re so inclined you could also install a hearth made of synthetic bricks, which you could top off with a screen. It’s quite a bit more effort, but it’s one of the most effective ways to provide your electric fireplace with an authentic, traditional look.

Brick materials (even synthetic materials) are synonymous with a built-in fireplace. If you plan correctly and seek advice from an expert if you’re unsure, you shouldn’t even need a contractor to achieve this.

The best, most professional synthetic brick hearth will be made up of several different colors; think about the pattern you want to achieve.

When you’re adding to your electric fireplace, it’s important to remember why you’re going to the effort in the first place. A lot of fireplaces of this kind are small, often portable, so the bigger the mantel (or shiplap, or cabinets, or whatever you’re going with), the more it will seem like a real fireplace.

Don’t install molding around the back of the fireplace- it should stop at the edge, else it won’t look like a real fireplace. Make sure that your heart extends roughly one foot from the mantel, as this will make the whole feature seem more authentic.

When it comes to what to install around the fireplace to improve the overall aesthetic, there are several options- it just depends on what would seem natural in your particular home.

One of the most obvious options would be a firebox, but there’s no need to stop there. You could also install bookshelves, cabinets, shelves, or anything in between.

Bookshelves would be ideal because, as well as actual books, you can put anything up there that will detract attention from the fire itself. Make sure you’re grouping your pieces of decor so the items (such as books, art pieces, or photographs) don’t look too cluttered.

You may also be considering mounting a television above your electric fireplace. This is another way to draw attention upwards, away from the fire itself. Just make sure you don’t mount it too high on the wall, otherwise, it’ll be both too far from the fireplace, and potentially a strain on your neck.

Electric Fireplace Inserts

Electric fireplace inserts are designed to fit in varying sizes of fireboxes, regardless of whether your home already has a firebox or you’re building your own. It should be a minimum of 40 inches in height. Inserts of this kind tend to be relatively simple when it comes to installation, and all you’re going to need to use them is an electrical outlet.

The reason electric inserts look so much better than a fake fireplace on a flatscreen television is because of what you use to surround it, but you can also adjust the flame effect of an insert depending on what the mood (or even just the time of day) calls for.

Generally, electric fireplace inserts allow you to be far more flexible than with a freestanding fireplace.

Final Thoughts

These days, electric fireplaces look more realistic than ever. But committing to the authentic fireplace feel might just require you to think outside of the box (literally). The only way you’re going to sell your fireplace is by surrounding it with things that both draw attention away from the fire itself, and also add to the authentic, often rustic feel of the feature.

You must select the right materials, though. You’re wanting the fireplace to seem as real as possible, so use the materials that get that job done.


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