How To Build A Faux Fireplace With Hidden Storage

How to build a faux fireplace with hidden storage just in time for the holidays!

If you are living in a rental and wish you had a cozy fireplace to hang your stockings this Christmas, then this is the perfect option.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer and know your way around power tools, then you should find the instructions included for building it helpful. The size of the fireplace can be customized to whatever works best for your needs. It's also a cute little fireplace for a bedroom too.

How to build a DIY faux fireplace with loads of hidden storage and media components just in time for the holidays! Perfect for a rental or small room.

The motivation for building the DIY faux fireplace is that it's a Christmas present for our daughter and son-in-law for their townhouse rental. My daughter loves the holidays and told us how she wished they had a cozy fireplace to decorate and hang the kid's stockings.

DIY Faux Fireplace With Useful Hidden Storage

The problem is they have a very small living room and only one wall could fit a fireplace. But that wall houses much-needed storage for our grandkid's books and toys. So we put pen to paper to come up with a solution where they could have both.

DIY faux fireplace design with hidden storage and media components just in time for the holidays! Perfect for a rental or small room.

A tall order for a fireplace but I think we succeeded. The fireplace is small enough that it could easily be moved with them down the road.

It contains easily accessible hidden storage for the kid's toys. It also has media component access for a wall mount television above the fireplace.

How to build a DIY faux fireplace with loads of hidden storage and media components just in time for the holidays! Perfect for a rental or small room. #diyfireplace #fauxfireplace #fireplaceidea

Some of you have asked about the large chalkboard above the fireplace as well as how I did the holiday chalk art. You can find those tutorials here in my how to make a large DIY chalkboard - no power tools required and how to draw chalk art like a pro.

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from any qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

What You'll Need To Make It

Building Materials:

Precut Laminated Pine Boards:

  • 3 @ 16" x 72"
  • 3 @ 16" x 36"
  • 1 @ 16" x 48"

Hardboard Sheets:

  • 1/8" x 4' x 8'
  • 1/4" x 2' x 4'
  • 2 @ 21" x 24" Cabinet Doors (Salvaged)
  • 4 Inset Cabinet Door Hinges
  • 4 @ 2' x 3' Aluminum Decorative Panels (Paulin Profile)
  • 60 @ 3" x 6" Ceramic Tiles (Cracked Pebble SE22)
  • 2 Brushed Nickel Knobs

Construction Materials:

Paint Supplies:

Power Tools:

Storage and Lighting:

How To Build A Faux Fireplace With Hidden Storage

The fireplace is built with 16-inch wide WoodCrafters Pine Laminated Boards from Home Depot (pictured below) and cut to size on the table saw (see dimensions below).

How to build a DIY faux fireplace with pine boards that is perfect for a rental or small room.

Wood Cutting Dimensions:

Top and Bottom Boards = 15" x 70 1/2"
Cabinet Sides = 14" x 33 1/4" (two each)
Middle Shelf = 14" x 67"
Middle Divider = 14" x 9"
Firebox Sides = 14" x 23 1/2" (two each)
Right Cupboard Shelf = 13" x 19 3/4"

Middle Shelf Assembly

First, the middle shelf is attached to the cabinet side pieces at nine inches from the top. Hold them in place with adjustable corner clamps.

Drill pilot holes with a 1/16-inch drill bit and then use a countersink drill bit so the screws are inset and hidden later with wood filler. Then attach the shelf with a #8 drill bit and two-inch wood screws.

Pro-Tip Fireplace Assembly

Alternatively, and what I would have preferred, is to build the fireplace with a seamless pocket hole assembly. Instead, two pocket holes would be drilled on the underside of the shelf on each end with a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig. The shelf would be screwed to the sides of the cabinet from the inside. I hope this makes sense.

Building a small faux fireplace with hidden storage for a rental or small space living.

Firebox and Top Shelf Center Support Assembly

Measure the center of the shelf and draw a pencil line. Measure 15-inches on either side of the center and draw a pencil line.

Attach the two firebox side pieces from the top of the shelf on each 15-inch pencil line (pictured below). This creates a 30-inch firebox opening.

Attach the center support for the top shelf from the underside of the shelf (pictured below).

Assembling a DIY faux fireplace with loads of hidden storage and media components for a rental.

Fireplace Top And Bottom Assembly

Now we're ready to add a top and bottom to the fireplace. But before they are installed, the front and sides of each board are softened with a router and 1/4-inch corner-rounding bit.

This not only adds a nice profile for a more finished look but it also is a safety consideration so there are no sharp corners for children to poke an eye out.

The total height of the fireplace is 35 1/4-inches tall which is a perfect height to mount a television on the wall above it.

Firebox With False Back

The depth of the fireplace is 14-inches, much too deep for a faux fireplace firebox. To decrease the depth you'll need to install a false back.

To do this build a frame using offcuts from the top and bottom pieces. Build the frame with 1" x 2" pine strips like pictured below.

Building a false back on a DIY faux fireplace firebox for a rental.

Cut a sheet of 1/4-inch hardboard to fit the back of the 30" x 23 1/2" firebox opening and attach it to the front of the frame with wood glue and brad nails.

Bottom Right Cupboard Shelf

With some of the leftover pine offcuts, make two angle brackets like pictured below. They are angled on the front so the brackets are less visible when the door is open. Attach them to the interior sides of the cupboard with wood screws, using a level to ensure they are perfectly straight.

Building a DIY faux fireplace with shelves for a rental or small space living.

Install the 13" x 19 3/4-inch right cupboard shelf piece on the brackets with wood glue and brad nails.

DIY faux fireplace with shelf and cupboard storage.

Finish the entire back of the faux fireplace with a sheet of 1/8-inch hardboard attached with brad nails.

Fireplace Cupboard Doors With Decorative Tin Panels

We found 21 x 24-inch cabinet doors at a local salvage yard for $6. We removed the center panel from the doors and replaced them with sheets of decorative metal.

This allows the remote control sensors to transmit through the closed doors while concealing the media components. Plus they give the fireplace a more modern style.

To do this drill a hole into the center of each door panel and cut the opening with a jigsaw, like pictured below.

DIY faux fireplace with media component cupboards with decorative tin panel covers.

The 2 x 3-foot decorative tin panel sheets with  Paulin profile are flimsy enough that a child could push them out. To remedy this the sheets are doubled up, making the panels more rigid and cut to fit the opening.

They are attached by running a bead of construction-grade hot glue on the tongue of the inside of the door and finished with narrow trim. My apologies for not getting a photo of this step.

Prep Fireplace Build For Paint

Now that the fireplace is built, fill all the screw holes with a non-shrinking patching compound.

Once dry, sand the entire fireplace smooth with a palm sander and 150 grit sanding pad. You may need a mouse sander to get into the tight corners. Go over it again with 220-grit sandpaper for a nice smooth finish.

Vacuum the sawdust, wipe the fireplace with a damp cloth, and then wipe it again with a tack cloth to get any residual dust. Then with a 6-inch foam roller, prime the entire fireplace.

Faux Fireplace Painted White

With a foam roller paint the fireplace with three coats of warm white paint. We had Home Depot color match a swatch of warm white that I liked with satin Behr Premium Plus Ultra latex paint. Lightly sand between coats with 220 grit sandpaper.

It's especially important when applying a clear protective coat over white paint that you get a non-yellowing topcoat. My go-to clear coat is satin Varathane Premium Diamond Wood Finish.

Ultimately using a paint sprayer to apply the clear coat gives you a factory-looking finish. However, I find using the car detailing pads provides a beautiful streak-free finish as well. Lightly sand between each coat with 600-grit sandpaper.

Tiled Fireplace Opening

Now that the fireplace is painted and sealed, it's time to finish the firebox opening. We considered embossed tin panels until we priced them out. Onto plan B...

We found a far more economical option at Home Depot. These glossy Datile 3 x 6-inch greyish taupe Cracked Pebble tiles were on clearance for a total cost of under $20. No twisting our arms.

After playing with a few different configurations we decided to lay the back and side firebox opening tiles in a simple subway pattern and the bottom tiles in a vertical placement.

The tiles are butted right next to one another for a modern clean look so we didn't have to grout.

wet tile saw makes the job so much easier and quicker. The tiles are attached with ceramic tile adhesive.

DIY faux fireplace with subway tile firebox opening for a rental.

Faux Fireplace Finishing Touches

Once the tile adhesive is dry, hang the doors with inset cabinet door hinges. I found some pretty brushed nickel knobs in my hardware stash that echo the decorative tin panels on the doors.

Line the top shelf with six collapsible 9 x 11 x 8-inch fabric cubbies with silver metal handles for hidden storage. The cupboard on the right is perfect for taller storage.

Faux Fireplace Insert Ideas

Pictured in the faux fireplace opening is this set of nine wax flameless pillar candles in multiple heights with a multi-function remote control that I found on Amazon.

They are a safe option for getting a cozy fire-like glow when you have little ones. But I've included other ideas for what to display in the faux fireplace opening below.

  1. Ceramic pillar candleholders at varying heights with flameless candles.
  2. An electric fireplace insert.
  3. Rustic wood log tealight holders.
  4. Or make our DIY real stacked log candle holder fireplace insert.

I wish I had taken more photos before we delivered the fireplace. Unfortunately, we finished building it in the knick of time to be delivered to our daughter's townhouse on Christmas Eve Morning.

Our daughter and son-in-law were thrilled when they saw their Christmas gift. Our grandson on the other hand gravitated immediately to the cupboards where he decided they were perfect for playing hide & seek. Not what we had in mind 😮.

Before we pulled back into our driveway our daughter sent a photo of the fireplace already decorated and the stockings hung.

Finally, she got the fireplace she'd been dreaming about to hang stockings on Christmas Eve. The stiletto boot stocking is a handmade gift from me a few years ago.

How to build a DIY faux fireplace with loads of hidden storage and media components just in time for the holidays! Perfect for a rental or small room.

Alternative DIY Fireplace Options

  1. Here's another idea for a smaller scale DIY faux fireplace except this one is made from a repurposed mid-century modern headboard craftsman-style faux fireplace with stained glass sliding doors.
  2. This is a much larger repurposed 80s wall unit built-in fireplace that we made for our living room.

Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by our DIY faux fireplace with hidden storage.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this DIY faux fireplace idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your favorite board on Pinterest.

How to build a DIY faux fireplace with loads of hidden storage and media components just in time for the holidays! Perfect for a rental or small room. #fireplacedesign #fauxfireplaceideas #fauxfireplacediy



  1. Right, that's me off to buy some supplies. I've always wanted a mantle without a fireplace coz it's just so damn hot most of the year here in S Africa and this is the perfect alternative. I probably need to find the right wall too, but that's a problem for another day ;-)

    1. I'm so glad our faux fireplace may have inspired a mantle for your home is sunny S Africa to decorate for the holidays. Happy building!


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