How To Turn A Mid-Century Modern Headboard Into A Faux Fireplace

Would you believe this used to be a headboard? You know, the mid-century modern headboards with sliding doors on the top. When I saw that lovely stained glass door peering from behind several other headboards at our local thrift store, I didn't see a headboard but rather a faux fireplace.

It was a lot of work digging it out from behind that deep pile and it was a struggle fitting it into the trunk of our Ford Taurus sedan, but we managed it and I'm so glad we did.

From Mid Century Modern Headboard to Faux Fireplace

How To Turn A Mid-Century Modern Headboard Into A Faux Fireplace

This is what it looked like when we brought it home...

Mid Century Modern Headboard with sliding stained glass doors

Remember these? My sister and I had one similar growing up but without the cool stained glass. She used to hide wads of chewing gum in the cubby on her side and mine was full of V.C. Andrews books.

I digress...ahem...back to the fireplace.

Step 1 - Build Fire Box

The first thing we did was mark the center opening on the front support and carefully cut it using a jigsaw. Next, we framed in the box using good one-side plywood and added a bottom plate the same width and depth as the existing top.
Building a firebox on MCM Headboard turned Faux Fireplace

Step 2 - Decorative Trim

We added MDF trim to the front of the fireplace echoing the trim on the stained glass sliders, gluing it with wood glue and attaching it with a brad nailer.
Adding decorative trim to Headboard turned Faux Fireplace

Step 3 - Replace Backboard

Initially, we kept the original backboard behind the cubbies and added a piece to the back of the fire box. We changed our minds because I plan on selling this piece and wanted a finished look on the back. Instead, we added one large piece of 1/8" hardboard to cover the entire back.

Back of faux fireplace

Step 4 - Prime The Wood

Because of all the different wood finishes and to avoid sanding the original headboard, the fireplace was primed with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer (my go to primer of choice).
Headboard Turned Faux Fireplace Primed

Step 5 - Paint

The headboard was painted with two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the color Old White. The edges were distressed to reveal the original wood underneath using a sanding block.

The paint was sealed with Annie Sloan Clear Wax. If the fireplace had a heat source, I would have used something like Tough Coat or Polycrylic to protect the finish because wax would not withstand the heat.
From Headboard To Faux Fireplace chalked paint white

Step 6 - Add A Mirror

We found a mirror that fit the opening perfectly for $17.00. To have something to support and glue the mirror onto, 2 x 2 lumber was attached to all four sides on the back of the fire box opening.

The mirror was glued using silicone. After it cured MDF trim was ripped on the table saw into 1 3/4" wide pieces to frame the front of the mirror and attached with construction adhesive.
Headboard Faux Fireplace with mirrored fire box
As you can see, it really wasn't that difficult to turn an MCM Headboard into a lovely Faux Fireplace. 

We later replaced the candle holders pictured below with real logs and you can find that post here at Easy DIY Faux Fireplace Insert With Real Logs.
MCM Headboard To Faux Fireplace
Here is a close-up photo of the trim we added to the front.
Trim on Headboard Turned Faux Fireplace
And a close-up of the pretty stained glass sliding doors, perfect for media components if one was to hang a television above the fireplace.
Headboard Stained Glass Sliding Door Right on Faux Fireplace

Headboard Stained Glass Sliding Door Left on Faux Fireplace

If you found our Mid-Century Modern Headboard Turned Faux Fireplace helpful, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.
Mid-Century Modern Headboard Faux Fireplace Before and After
I was hoping to fit this fireplace in our master bedroom or dining room but sadly we just didn't have the room.

Has this inspired you to build a faux fireplace from an MCM Headboard? Have you ever built a faux fireplace? I'd love to hear about it in the comment section below.

You will find this project linked at these fabulous LINK PARTIES.


  1. This idea is awesome, Marie! I've never really had a vision for these, and have seen plenty on the side of the road. This is a great repurposing idea! Pinned!

  2. Thanks Lora! The stained glass sliding doors was my inspiration for the fireplace. I have another similiar headboard set waiting on the queue for Fall.


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