How To DIY a Fake Fireplace (or Dress Up The Real One You Already Have)

updated Jan 24, 2022
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(Image credit: In The Fields)

While one-of-a-kind, wood-burning fireplaces bring undeniable warmth to a room, fake fireplaces can bring just as much ambiance – just in different ways. Of course, some faux fireplaces are downright drab, but with the proper DIY skills, the mantel can become the stand-out piece of your living room. Whether you’re trying to add a little character to a boring, real fireplace or cover up a faux fireplace whose current look you don’t really love, you’ll find a mantel decorating project here to inspire you.

1. Use geometric tilework

This fireplace update from Jamin and Ashley Mills uses geometric tiles for a crisp and modern look. The matching marble tilework revamps a boring, wood-burning fireplace. 

Credit: Amy Runner

2. Paint the mantel and wall the same color

For an understated renovation on your faux fireplace, try painting it the same color as your walls. The chameleon effect can help your trinkets and coveted coffee table book collections shine as they appear to pop out of the wall on the mantel’s shelf. 

3. Try floor-to-ceiling wood

Stacey Cartwright’s mantel redefines what a wood fireplace is. Floor-to-ceiling reclaimed wood transforms the wall into a rustic oasis.

4. Hang an over-the-top mirror

For a lower-lift DIY update, try splurging on an oversized mirror to hang atop your mantel. The classic look expands the room and in some instances even exaggerates your favorite living room spaces. In this room, Alaina Kaczmarksi uses the accent to highlight the absolutely breathtaking chandelier. 

(Image credit: Home Depot)

5. Try a paneled mantel

This fireplace update from The Home Depot Blog involved adding a paneled, ceiling-height surround to an existing fireplace.

(Image credit: Blesser House)

6. Play with different white textures

It’s hard to believe there used to be a blank wall where this beautiful mantel is now a focal point of the room. Blesser House has made some changes to it over the past couple of years, and it’s never looked more real than it does today.

7. Spruce up a cozy bedroom fireplace

Kristi of Making It In the Mountains fashioned this arched fireplace facade for her master bedroom, as part of the One Room Challenge last fall. It adds tons of character to the space.

(Image credit: The Proper Blog)

8. Add modern subway tiles

This DIY faux fireplace mantel from The Home Depot Blog (with a subway tile insert) gets a little extra architectural interest from the tongue and groove panels on the side.

Credit: Jared Ashby

9. Create a dark, moody look

Jared Ashby turned an eye-sore of a fireplace into a moody and bold centerpiece. He paired matte black paint on the actual fireplace with mossy green on the brick above to create one dramatically chic look.

(Image credit: The Pear Tree Cottage)

10. Decorate with neutral tones

The folks at The Pear Tree Cottage turned a seriously unsightly brick fireplace into this beauty.

(Image credit: Instagram)

11. Add a shelf above the fireplace

This project from Maison de Pax involved simply adding a shelf above the existing fireplace — but this little change really transformed the look of the room.

(Image credit: Manhattan Nest)

12. Go simple with black and white tones

Daniel from Manhattan Nest added a vintage mantel to a room in his home that lacked character. Thanks to his attention to detail, you’d never guess that this fireplace hadn’t been there all along.

(Image credit: A Bowl Full of Lemons)

13. Decorate with frames and vases

This mantel from A Bowl Full of Lemons appears to just be leaning against the wall, but it’s still a great spot for frames and vases and a beautiful focal point for the room.

(Image credit: Shine Your Light)

14. Install marble tile

Lisa from Shine Your Light transformed her unsightly fireplace with a DIY marble tile surround and hearth.

(Image credit: In The Fields)

15. Invest in an electric log warmer

This fireplace (lead image above), from In the Fields, looks like the real thing but is actually an electric log warmer with a surround built around. This is a great way to get the warmth and the beauty of a fireplace with only a small investment — no chimney needed.