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Ikea items used: LACK bookshelf, BESTÅ bookshelf, VIKA ANNEFORS desk leg, Pax door(s)

I really needed to build a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace. I looked online for all kinds of information on various surrounds, and ultimately fell in love with some concepts that were pre-built to be hung on the wall. The problem was that I wanted it to have a custom built-in appearance and also accommodate a TV. I happened to have an extra BESTÅ bookcase and some unused VIKA ANNEFORS table legs. I purchased some PAX doors (at least I think they are Pax) from the As-is section for $20 apiece and some trim and 2×4’s from the local big box hardware store.

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The base is the BESTÅ bookcase, atop which sits opposing sides of 1 VIKA ANNEFORS table leg. I used heavy-duty construction adhesive as well as some extra L brackets I had lying around to reinforce the whole structure. I cut a PAX door to lay on top and 2 pieces to frame out either side. The left side actually comes out so that I can get behind the fireplace to manipulate the cables and access the power supply. Since building code requires that a fireplace surround may not enclose an electric outlet, the back of the BESTÅ portion is left open so that the power outlet is technically not enclosed. A LACK shelf sits on top of everything. I reinforced it with some wooden bracket that I found in the As-is section for $3 and anchored it directly into a wooden stud.

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The key to this design is not so much the surround as it was the choice of electric fireplace. This particular unit is a “zero clearance design”, meaning that you can put flammable building materials up to the frame of the fireplace unit. Otherwise, I would have had to use other materials for the fireplace surround. The only thing that is required is 2″ of clearance above the air intake on the fireplace unit, and I have left it open more than 3″ above the fireplace unit.

Custom built-in fireplace surround with mantel

~ Augustine Nguyen