DIY Your Way to a Built-In Shiplap Electric Fireplace with Hidden Drawer, Shelf and Sound Bar Pocket

Ever wanted a fireplace without having to demo your home or pay for firewood? Or tired of looking at or paying for TV stands? Well, me too. So after doing some research, I came up with a plan to build our very own fireplace/tv stand just in time for the winter holidays!

Completed built-in electric fireplace!

You will see in the image above that there are some minor gaps on the edges of some boards, but this was on purpose – I promise! If you plan to build your own, you can absolutely avoid these gaps depending on what added features you’d like.

Wanna give it a whirl yourself? Here’s what you’ll need to build your own:

Additional items if you’d like to add a drawer or hidden shelf:

^That is the general list! However, if you’d like to know the amount of supplies it took for our 5′ wide x 9.5′ tall x 1.5″ depth (lower part) and 6″ depth (upper part), then here is exactly what we purchased by amount:

The before

Here’s what we began with in our living room! Our house has quite a mix of furniture after living in a few apartments and collecting pieces over time. The ceilings are close to 10 feet high. Placing the TV on this low stand seemed to emphasize how little we were utilizing the wall space. Additionally, I longed for a fireplace, knowing the people who had flipped our house had covered the original fireplace with drywall (the left angled wall in the picture).

World’s roughest sketch

After seeing some Pinterest and Instagram inspiration of large shiplap fireplaces, I decided that was just the thing we needed to maximize our wall space and add in a fireplace! First, I drew some very rough sketches, trying to determine measurements and centering. Depending on your ceiling height, desired mantle height, fireplace height, etc., you will want to do some sketches yourself.

Some tips to think about while you draw:

  • It’s critical to account for the width of shiplap when you are planning your structure. For example, if you want a 5′ wide fireplace, then you need to build a frame that is 49 inches wide because the shiplap will be 1/2 an inch thick on either end. Together, the 1/2 inch wide shiplap boards on either side add up with the 49 inch length of the structure to give a total of 5 feet wide. Make sense? If not, let me know!
  • Build a rectangle that is just wider and taller than your electric fireplace insert will be so that it is a snug fit. About half an inch larger on all sides is plenty.
  • Don’t forget to draw in any drawers or additions you will be including.
Lowe’s for the win

After the initial sketch, gather your materials! We made some trips to Lowe’s. It’s our favorite hardware store for sure. We also put our electric fireplace order on Amazon. The first time I ordered, I definitely didn’t realize I had purchased one that couldn’t be recessed in the wall – so double check that is what you order (if you don’t use my linked one). It was only a wall-mounted one, so it would have jut out from the structure. Ugh. I was so sad to have to make a return and wait for another fireplace to arrive.

Now, time to build! Start by finding the studs in the wall with the stud finder. Mark with pencil. Anchoring your structure in the studs (or 2x4s behind your drywall) is essential for keeping everything in place and sturdy. Cut your 2x3s to the width you want the structure to be. Level, then screw those 2x3s in with construction screws. We have a laser level (shown in the picture above), but it is definitely not required. A standard level works, too.

We began to build outward from the bottom-up, which I would recommend! Below is the completed structure:

Completed frame

Next comes the shiplap! Pick a point to start. We chose the top front of the mantle so that we could align the front of the mantle with the piece perpendicularly beneath it without having to make too many cuts. Then, we worked our way down the front of the bottom portion, using the nail gun on either side and the middle to secure the boards. We left a gap where we were going to place the drawer to come back to. Next, the upper portion was done, followed by the sides. There is no need to worry about perfect cuts because of the use of trim pieces (hallelujah!).

Adding in the sound bar pocket, drawer and hidden shelf came next. Construct a drawer that is the depth and height you desire using plywood. Then, attach the draw slides to either side. You’ll likely need to add in some extra wood to attach to the other side of the drawer track. Leave the front of the drawer shiplap free until you get to the trim phase.

A handy helper always there for my carpentry needs

Go ahead and mount the TV while you still have the ladder out. We drilled a hole large enough to run cords behind the shiplap to a power strip.

Time for trim! We found a trim for the top and bottom that matched our baseboard trim in the house. We also snagged corner trim for the edges. Lastly, we used flat trim for the sides of the shiplap that touch the wall and for the soundbar pocket. Using a 45 degree angle cut with the circular saw aids in a clean corner (but we did find this to be the most frustrating part!). The last piece of trim we used – quarter round trim – was for the gap between the back of the mantle and the upper part of the fireplace.

Almost there! To finish the drawer, measure the distance between both sets of trim and then cut your shiplap to fit snugly within those pieces. The more snug your fit, the less visible your side gaps will be. We felt like we did pretty well! My type-A self still wonders how this could be better perfected, but I think it still looks very nice. I may be biased though.

Gaming/remote shelf

Next, insert your electric fireplace. You may need to screw yours in, but we had a snug enough fit we didn’t have to! everything to ensure it works. For example, can you get your drawer open?! I hope so.

Another important step – filling in the holes and gaps! I used white wood putty and used my fingers to fill the holes. I tested white spackle and it left a chalky residue on the shiny shiplap – don’t do it! If you have large gaps to fill, white caulk will be useful.

Finally, add some decor to your mantel and boom, you’re done! Like these fun stockings.

Check out that fancy game drawer. Dang.

I hope this has inspired you and given you guidance to build your own DIY shiplap electric fireplace! Although it’s a lot of hard work, it’s fantastic to enjoy our new living room piece and hang out by the fire while we watch TV, play Nintendo Switch, or play board games.

Happy building!!



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