DIY Fireplace Mantel

This month’s challenge, as a Lowe’s Creative Blogger, was to makeover a part of our basement.  I knew that it was time to finally give this fireplace a makeover.  We had been talking about adding a Fireplace Mantle to this plain brick face and this month’s challenge was the perfect excuse for us to get it done.


I am so happy with how this turned out and feel like it really finishes off the basement.  I always felt like the room was a bit lacking and felt like the Fireplace could be a great focal point, but the weird shape of the bricks on the ends made it so that a pre-manufactured Fireplace Mantle would now work without us having to make some adjustments to it.  So…of course…we designed one based on some inspiration pictures and made one to fit our existing Fireplace.

DIY-Fireplace before

**One note of caution though…we do NOT use this fireplace for fires. The drafting has never been good on this fireplace in the basement and we have three others in the home (crazy right?). This fireplace mantel is for show only. So if you are going to be using your fireplace to build real fires, be sure to check out the safety building code for fireplaces so you don’t start anything on fire!

I will attempt to share with you how we made ours so that you can see how you could possibly use that to make one for your own individual home.

Material List:

3 – 2 1/2 inch wide x 8 feet MDF boards
1 – 3 1/2 inch wide x 8 feet MDF board
1 – 7 1/4 inch wide  x 8 feet MDF board
1 – 11 1/2 inch wide x 8 feet MDF board
1 – 11 1/2 inch wide x 6 feet MDF board
1 – 3 1/4 inch crown molding x 8 feet
4 – 2 inch wide x 8 feet MDF strips (1/4 inch thick)

DIY-Fireplace 12


The two side box pillars were designed to adjust to the changes in the wall and brick depths. For instance, the outside of the boxes was 2 1/4 inch deep, and the interior of the boxes was 3 3/8 inch deep.  The front of the boxes used a 8 1/4 inch wide board with the side boards glued on each edge so the total with of the box was approximately 9 5/8 inches.

DIY-Fireplace 13

I used the 2 inch mdf strips to cover the seams you could see on the front where I attached boards together. The boxes were 49 7/8 inches tall from the floor and 37 1/2 inches from the top of the brick seat of the fireplace.

DIY-Fireplace 3

The mantel had a shelf of 7 1/4 inch deep by 78 7/8 inches wide. The width of the lower part of the mantel was 71 5/8. To ensure the same overhang of the shelf over the crown molding, each side of the shelf needed another 3 5/8 inches (71 5/8 inches + 3 5/8 inches + 3 5/8 inches = 78 7/8 inches of the top shelf). See picture below for further illustration.

DIY-Fireplace 7

Clamp and stapled 2 inch mdf strips to cover seams on edges and for decoration (above 2 pictures and one below).

DIY-Fireplace 8

DIY-Fireplace 5

DIY-Fireplace 6


*We ended up cutting the top 2 inches off the side boxes (to lower the mantel and to get rid of the top (mdf strip).


We tested to ensure the mantel properly fit on top of the boxes before finishing the other parts of the mantel.


After all the trim and the crown molding have been nailed on, you will want to caulk around all the cracks and nail holes with some painters caulk and wood filler.  Sand down everything to a smooth finish.

DIY-Fireplace 10
DIY-Fireplace 11
Paint the mantle.  We painted it in a white paint color in a semi-gloss finish to match our Wainscoting.

DIY-Fireplace 1

Have you had a chance to sign up for Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine. It’s FREE and offers a bunch of DIY inspiration. Go ahead and connect with Lowes Creative Ideas to find a lot more fun and creative ideas.


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*Disclosure–In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network, however, all opinions and statements are mine and mine alone.




    • Nancy says

      Very NICE! White-washed brick would be gorgeous!!


    • says

      Thanks Katie! We did talk about painting it but ultimately decided against it since we did have a nice color of brick to work with. I am so glad we went the direction we did. It definitely fits with the style of our home more this way!

  1. Michele T says

    Looks fantastic!!! Wish I had the skills and ideas to make beautiful changes like you’ve done!!! Wow!!

    • says

      It was really one of our easier projects! The hardest part was figuring out how to go around the bricks along the sides where they jut out. I bet you could do it! ;)

  2. Brettaney says

    Thanks for sharing. We have a big wood stove surrounded by a lot of brick in our basement, I think this may work to update it a little!

    • says

      Oooh fun! I hope you are able to update it! We have one like that upstairs that I am still struggling on what to do with as it is in the corner with two brick walls on either side!

  3. Shawnna says

    Great Job!! And thank you so much for sharing!! We have the same style fireplace in our basement. We’ve tossed around the idea of painting it, but I like this sooo much better!!!

    • says

      Thanks Shawnna! We too tossed around the idea of painting it. The previous owners got a lot of old paint on the top of the bricks by the ceiling that looks really sloppy, but ultimately we decided for us that we liked the option of doing the mantel. You have to do what works for you!

  4. AK says

    Looks great! We have a similar red brick fireplace. Only change I would make on my is we want to whitewash the brick. Love yours, however.

  5. Maria M says

    Love the way this turned out. I have the same fireplace, so your instructions will help me when I do my fireplace. I want to extend the wood above the mantel though. Great job!!

    • says

      Thanks Maria! Glad it will be able to help! We talked about extending the wood along the top but ultimately decided to keep the brick. Good luck with yours!

  6. Monica says

    Looks great. I hope your fireplace is for looks only because it does not look like you have not met the clearance to combustibles with that mantle. You need 6″ on either side at least and 12″ on the top (and that is if you have a heat shield on the mantle). I see that many people want to do this same project so the issue of fire safety needs to be addressed.

    • says

      Great point Monica! Yes…we will not be building fires in this fire place. It is in the basement and has never drafted well.

  7. Celeste says

    It looks amazing! I have a portable electric fire place that I thought of painting. I live in an apartment and could use some inspiration on what to do. Does Lowes have ideas for maximizing small spaces?

  8. says

    May I ask how you connected it to your fireplace? I love how yours turned out and would love to recreate in our living room! Just am not sure how to secure it to the brick background. Lovely job!

    • Leona says

      I was wondering the same did you secure it to the actual fireplace..great job. .looks beautiful..

  9. Melody says

    WOW- that looks great! We added a fireplace mantel years ago, and we have one in need of a facelift now. What great inspiration!

  10. Ann says

    That’s exactly what I want for my fireplace. My fireplace looks the same as your “before” photo and I would love to have it look like the “after” photo. Beautiful! Sure makes a difference.

  11. Cindy Sherritt says

    Fantastic update to your fireplace and love that you kept the brick original! Since don’t use it for fires, candles, either real or battery powered, would look really nice in the evening when you’re enjoying the basement :)

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  13. Christy S says

    White awesome against the bricks, I recently painted my gold trim a cooper color (super simple) – really updates from old gold look too

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