When we moved into our new construction home just over a year ago, we dreamed of fireplace built-ins with lots of storage. This is a main wall in our house and a focal point, so we knew we needed to give it some pop. Here’s a before image of what the wall looked like:

We went with the basic tile on the fireplace because we knew we would rip it out anyway, so why waste the money? Of course, I perused Pinterest looking for fireplace wall ideas. By far, the most helpful and inspiring was Decor and the Dog’s blog. Halfway through the project, I also fell in love with ideas from Thrifty Decor Chick.

So how did we get started? And by “we” I mean my husband…. We removed the mantle being extra careful so we were able to resell it (I got $100 for it.). We also removed all tile but ended up having to patch the wall because the mantle and tile caused some damage to the drywall. We dry fitted the boxes inside the house, but the majority of the building was done in the garage.

Once all the boxes and bookcases were built, everything was painted with a spray gun outside. The color is Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal (same color as the upper wall in my dining room seen here). We also used 1/4″ plywood to create shiplap for the back of the bookcases (Chip and Joanna would be proud!). See I helped too!

I couldn’t resist decorating even though we were far from finished.

Here’s the half-way point without the cabinet doors:

Next came the board and batten, mantle, and tiling.

The mantle is made of cedar. He basically made a hollow box that fit over a 2×4 on the back wall to secure it. This is the mantle being dry-fitted. I later stained it outside in the garage and use a spray poly once it was dry.

Here is the finished tile! I majorly copied Thrifty Decor Chick’s herringbone marble design. I love it! The floor tile I used was an unpolished marble. Both are from Floor and Decor.

Here is the completed look without the crown molding.

Finally, here is the completed look! I’m sure I’ll redecorate the shelves many times before I’m satisfied. The middle section is pretty dark, so we may add some low voltage lighting to illuminate that area.

 Before and after


  • Paint: Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal
  • Tile: Floor and Decor
  • Materials: Home Depot, a mix of MDF and wood
  • Knobs/hinges: Amazon and Overstock

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