Make a fireplace more practical adding homemade bookshelves

If you own a fireplace into your house, you can make it more practical by adding bookshelves on both its sides without any risk. You can also install shelves on the upper side of the mantel to arrange artwork items but not books. You first need to design a correct plan in accordance to the style of your room.

What you need:

  •  Oak cabinet doors
  • Glue
  • 1/2 -inch plywood
  • Glass shelving
  • Wood trim
  • Recessed light fixtures
  • Heavy crown molding
  • Sketchpad
  • Oak shelving
  • Graph paper
  • Wood veneer sheeting
  •  Glass fireplace doors


  • Use a sketchpad to design the areas around the fireplace and the fireplace itself. Take into account the materials you want to use for your project. If you want to hide clutter, the best material to use for shelving and cabinet doors is oak. For a better aspect, you can also build heavy crown molding at the upper limit of the ceiling. Use graph paper to draw your plan and to determine the right distance between the shelves
  • Imagine the proper design for the mantel; you can build it by yourself or you can buy it from a specialized store. As a piece of advice, use a 12-to-15 inches in depth and more than two inches thick mantel. The cut out mantel should fit perfectly in the bookshelf unit. You can also draw a shorter mantel if you want.
  • Use nails to attach half-inch plywood parts on both sides of the fireplace. Fix the plywood to wall studs; apply fine-textured wood veneer sheeting on the entire surface of the plywood. Build as many shelves as you want on both sides of the fireplace. Use the lowest part of the unit to install cabinet doors. For a professional aspect use glue to cover the wood trim over the front edges of the shelves. Use crown molding at the ceiling level of your bookshelves.
  • Stick a band of wood molding on the highest areas of each shelf. Use glue to attach a strip of wood molding from one side of the shelf to the other to keep your books and other items in place.
  • Use special glass to build the fireplace opening. If you burn wood in the fireplace, take care to shut the doors down otherwise the smoke and ashes may come out and damage your storage unit.
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