Build a Decorative Wood Fireplace in 7 Steps

decorative wood fireplace in white room

A decorative wood fireplace is a fireplace that, contrary to appearances, cannot actually burn wood. As such, their purpose is purely aesthetic. That said, building a decorative fireplace is cheaper than trying to install a functional one.


In decorative fireplaces, the basic structure is made using plywood. The plywood can then be lined with tiles and cast stone or concrete designed to imitate various brick and stone textures. You can also add trim and decorations or leave it as is and paint over it.

    Step 1 - Preparing the Site

    Find the place where you want to put the decorative fireplace. Measure the area and make sure that it isn’t smaller than the area of the fireplace. Mark the locations of every wall using masking tape or marker. Then, use the stud finder to check the adjacent walls for wall studs.

    Step 2 - Preparing Plywood

    Use the tape measure to see how much plywood you would need for the backboard and two side walls.

    Step 3 - Building the Walls

    Cut the top panel, two side panels, and a back panel out of the plywood.

    Step 4 - Assembly

    Place the back panel against the wall and drill the pilot holes along the sides, spacing them eight inches apart. Secure the back panel using three-inch screws. Attach the sides to the top panel using the melting plates, then attach the resulting combination to the back panel using the same method.

    Step 5 - Smooth out the Edges

    Smooth out the edges by applying narrow pieces of poplar where the panels meet. Use wood glue and nails to hold them in place.

    Step 6 - Install the Mantle

    Attach the mantle of your choice to the front of the fireplace using wood glue and nails. You may want to install a firebox beforehand and add some artificial logs if you are so inclined.

    Step 7 - Personalize

    Add any surface decorations and lining you desire using the methods appropriate for the material in question.