Before and After: This Living Room’s New Fireplace Will Make You Look Twice

published Feb 17, 2020
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When it comes to making a living room feel warm and inviting, it’s hard to beat the impact of a fireplace. But not every home has one—and they can be especially tricky to find in warmer regions, as Aubrey Figueroa found. “When my husband and I moved into our first home, I loved everything about the house but the living room,” Aubrey says. “In Florida, it is somewhat difficult to find a home with a fireplace, but that is a feature I have always wanted in my living room space.”

Without it, Aubrey says, the living room felt “small and box-like”—and she had a hunch a focal point would help. “The living room is the first thing you see when you enter the front door, so I knew it needed an upgrade,” Aubrey says.

With the help of her dad, Aubrey created her own fireplace. They used a basic electric fireplace Aubrey bought secondhand; then, they built a simple frame around it going up to the ceiling to mimic the look of a chimney. After covering it with shiplap, they removed the fireplace’s old mantle and added a slab of raw cedar instead—an ultra warm and cozy upgrade.

To the left, Aubrey added cedar shelves to match, and filled them with a mix of art and other tchotchkes. The tailor-made setup looks like it’s always been there—the biggest success you can ask for.

“I love the grand feel the fireplace gives to the living room now without taking up too much space,” Aubrey says. “It actually makes the room feel much bigger.”