Published on January 17th, 2011 | by Jules Yap


Tobo Fireplace

Materials: Tobo entertainment center, ClassicFlame electric fireplace insert

Description: Recently, while perusing my local big-box hardware store, I found an entertainment center with a built-in electric fireplace. It was pretty awesome. I don’t have a fireplace, so I’m enamored over even fake flames.

The styling of the center wasn’t exactly perfect, however. No way could it replace my Tobo. Yet, I wondered if I could make something similar by taking out the Tobo’s center drawers whose gaps have always bothered me.

After removing the hardware, I took some measurements, and went online. I found a few options that would work, but decided on an 18″ ClassicFlame at Mantels Direct because of the timer feature and the remote. It was around $250 with free shipping.

Height-wise, the unit fits exactly with less than 0.25 inch to spare. Width-wise it was short by about 1.75 inches on either side. To compensate, I trimmed-in the fireplace with the Tobo’s two wood stops (found below glass shelves) which I ripped down on a table saw.

I was able to re-install the drawers on the sides by creating a template and drilling new holes for the slides. I can now see what’s inside the drawers… especially in the backs, which had been a problem.

Relatively speaking, this was a simple hack, and the result looks as if it was designed this way to begin with. Tobo++.

~ Jim

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

9 Responses to Tobo Fireplace

  1. wow what an amazing idea!!! thanks so much for sharing! i love the look of a fireplace but don’t like heat because we already live in florida so this is a wonderful solution. I love your hardwood floors, they are beautiful. we are trying to get the same ones but are shopping around for the best laminate flooring ….. Thanks again!! :)

  2. Jim says:

    Wow, I had given up that this would get posted (I’m the “hacker”). Thanks, everyone, for the kind remarks. I like my Tobo so much better now, I can’t imagine not doing this.

    To answer the questions… The drawers are easy to remove, and drilling the new holes wasn’t too bad. On the center-facing sides I was able to drill the existing holes straight through. As Moontree said, the “fire” is just for show and isn’t hot at all. The heater blows out of the top front, and with the 0.25 inch gap, no heat is transferred directly to the Tobo.

    The hardest part of the project was talking my ladyfriend’s father into the use of his table saw! :-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stunning! Thanks for sharing your brilliant idea!

  4. DJinny says:

    Completely totally amazed!
    Beautiful, looks soooo expensive!
    goooood job!

  5. Moontree says:

    @ captainpotato:

    having bought (and assembled) a fake fireplace for my husband this Christmas, i can tell you that the heat really isn’t a problem. Mine wasn’t built into an entertainment unit, but the mantel surround was pretty much just veneered MDF construction @ la Ikea with an electric heater unit set into it. Using the heat is optional and it gets vented out the front panel and the “fire” is really just an electric light show.

  6. AprilAries says:

    Awesome hack! I wish I had a Tobo. :(

  7. That’s brilliant. The only question I have is about the heat that the heater produces – do the sides and top radiate heat into the Tobo, which could affect the items you have in/on it?

  8. Josef says:

    Oh, wow… I love it! Question, though. Are the Tobo drawers easy to remove after the unit has been assembled?

  9. gk says:

    wow, you read my mind! i was just researching whether this was possible this morning. we even have the tobo (although not as wide, so maybe the lack of symmetry would be annoying?) really happy to know this is possible!

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