In the past I’ve written about how I hoped to add character to our new build home with various decorating and styling techniques. Building a faux fireplace to create a focal point in our living room was one of the major things on my wish list.
We started pricing up electric fires and the cost of building a faux fireplace late last year and when I found a builder who could do the work before Christmas the deal was sealed. (I mean, who wouldn’t love a fireplace for Christmas?!)
The twinkly fire combined with floor to ceiling faux chimney breast and Samsung Frame TV instantly transformed the room and adds a cosy inviting feature that we felt was lacking.
Yes, that is a TV above the fire! Read all about it here.
In this post, I’ll break down how we decided on the design, plus the measurements, materials and costs involved in the build for anyone who might want to give it a go themselves.
How to install a fireplace TV wall in a new build home
The design process
First up, I must credit The Blooming Nest whose DIY fireplace was the inspiration for ours. I scoured Pinterest and Instagram for different electric fireplaces and really liked the way The Blooming Nest clad theirs to add extra texture to the wall.
We had already purchased a 50 inch Samsung Frame TV after loving the one we had in our dining room, so this was our starting point for working out the dimensions of the chimney breast and what size fire we would need.
My top tip at this point would be to get out your masking tape. We cleared everything from the wall we planned to build on and used masking tape to frame out the ideal position for the TV, mantle and fire.
We decided that we wanted to give ourselves at least 15 cms either side of the TV to the end of the chimney and marked up how that would look on the wall, taking into account a radiator we (sadly) cannot move and the positioning of our sofa which we wanted centred to the TV.
Next, we went to a fireplace showroom to look at the options for the fire. We decided on an electric insert fire as we cannot ventilate a real one and electric fires are more toddler-friendly! We wanted something that was fairly narrow so the chimney wouldn’t jut out too far into the room and I wanted the option to have just the light effect on without heat, so we can create a cosy ambiance even when the house is warm already. I saw a Gazco fire in the showroom and thought it looked fairly realistic for a fake fire, so we took their brochure home in order to measure up what size we needed.
Once again we got out the masking tape and having seen how it all looked on the wall we settled for the Gazco EReflex 85R electric fire. The shop we went to didn’t have this one in stock but I found it online with Stoves Are Us. We ordered it online for approx. £935 and it arrived 2 days later.
Finally, it was time to measure up the mantle. I really wanted a mantle to pop decorative bits on (and hang our stockings at Christmas, of course) but was worried we wouldn’t fit one in without making the TV too high up the wall. I hunted around for an oak beam in the dimensions and stain I wanted and found this one from Cottage Beams that worked out just right. We can’t fit heaps on it because it is close to the TV, and I chose the narrowest option in order to not walk into it, but I think it makes the fire look a touch more traditional which is what I wanted.
If you are creating a media wall and putting the TV above the fire, I would say the most important thing to get right is how high you hang the TV.
(PS it’s totally safe to mount a TV above an electric insert fire as they pump heat out the front rather than up towards the TV.)
We didn’t want to favour style over function and end up with achy necks after watching Netflix every night, so although aesthetically I would have liked to space everything out more, practically these measurements are what’s worked for us.
Apologies if the title of this blog post is sort of misleading as we didn’t actually build anything ourselves. While this may be an easy DIY projects for other couples, Justin and I lack the equipment and skills for this kind of job so we hired local builder Ben from BAW Renovations.
We actually got quotes from a couple of builders and went with Ben not because he was the cheapest (he wasn’t) but because he was the most invested. He came out to price up the job, taking into account all the masking tape we’d left for him to look at and discussing with us the best materials to use to get the look we wanted for the panelling. He seemed genuinely excited to start the project and could fit us in before Christmas. It was a done deal!
Ben sourced all the materials to build and panel the frame and got the whole thing built, clad, primed and painted in 4 days. His job list contained the following:
- Build floor to ceiling projecting frame with supporting timbers to house tv and fire.
- Incorporate access door to the side of the unit. (This is so we can reach the plugs for the TV and fire without taking the fire out.)
- Line the front of the unit with 12mm ply.
- Clad with 14mm x 94mm timber cladding.
- Prime cladding and apply topcoat. (We supplied the paint as we wanted it to match what is currently on the walls. It’s just a Delux trade white though so will be changed at some point in the future.)
- Install the oak beam, tv and fireplace.
Ben took care of a couple of extra fiddly bits too, like cutting out the carpet so we could clad down to the floor and drilling a discreet hole for a lamp to be wired through.
Excluding the TV, we spent just over £2k on materials and labour for the fireplace. We obviously didn’t do any DIY and I didn’t exactly chose the budget options for the fire and mantle as they didn’t fit the look I wanted.
That being said, our total spend was still half the price of some of the fire suites we viewed in the specialist store and is completely custom too.
The final look
I have not worked out the final look for the room yet. I’m constantly playing around with the furniture and art arrangements and want to start painting when I work out what the right shade of white is! The radiator still bothers me, so in time we may look into having a mixture of built in cabinetry, shelving and a radiator cover either side of the fireplace.
The room is 100% cosier with the new fireplace though and I love how it doesn’t feel like a standard new build lounge anymore.
Feel free to ask any other questions you have in the comments. And check out my new Instagram account @ourtravelhome for more house updates and pics of the fireplace throughout the seasons :p
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