Barbara Crigler recently purchased this 1958 house. She lives here alone but has frequent visits from her four grandchildren, three active boys and one girl.

The family room is in good condition, with nice hardwood floors and a big window that lets in tons of natural light, but it’s missing character and a true focal point.

One of the biggest problems is a blank, boring wall that Barbara just doesn’t know what to do with. But she does know what she wants there: a TV and a fake fireplace.

Just adjacent is a dining table with another blank wall — but it won’t stay that way for much longer!

The Plan

To break up Barbara’s long, boring family room wall, we’ll build a small bump-out to add dimension and architectural interest.

We’ll also build a mantel to frame an electric LED fireplace and hang the TV above it.

Next, we’ll add crown molding to the room, along with a grid-work of applied molding to the accent wall.

Finally, we’ll conceal the window treatments with matching cornices for both windows.

The Projects

Build Bump-Out Wall for Fireplace

The bump-out we’re building is only 6 inches in depth but we still have to build it like a legitimate wall.

Because we’ll have a bump-out, that means we’ll also have crown molding that juts out, which always looks nice, and creates a nice focal point.  

When the framing is complete, our electrician, Jeremy, wires an outlet for the TV and a pair of sconces on the fireplace wall.

Once he’s finished, we can install the drywall, which is a material called Hi-Impact XP from National Gypsum. It’s called Hi-Impact because the gypsum core includes a built-in fiberglass mesh to protect the surface from dents, dings and penetrations.

Build, Paint and Install Fireplace Mantel  

We frame the mantel with 2-by-4s and install it on the bump-out with Titebond Construction Adhesive and our trusty nail gun.

For the mantel top, we’ll use a 2-by-8 instead of a 2-by-4, and we’ll stain it to match the floor.  

Watch and Learn: How to Build a Fireplace Mantel

Bonus Feature: FREE Printable Fireplace Mantel Plans

Install and Paint Brick Panel

Nothing is more iconic in a home than a nice brick fireplace, but brick can be expensive, so we’re using faux brick paneling, which is authentic looking and costs just $35 per sheet.

The paneling looks great, as is, but it’ll look even better once we whitewash it. We apply a 50-50 mixture of water and paint and later wipe some of the paint off with a sponge.

Install Sconces on Either Side of TV          

Barbara’s TV looks a little lonely above the mantel, so we’re giving it some company with Winslow Wall Sconces in Old Bronze finish on either side.

The sconces, available from Kichler Lighting, will add light and dimension to this space.

Create Accent Wall         

First, we use a utility knife to score caulk on top of the baseboard. This will make the baseboard come off a lot easier.

Then we gently pry off the baseboard all in one piece.

Next, we cut the boards to 3 1/4 inches wide and keep the waste — we can always use it for other projects.

We want vertical boards to be plumb, so we grab a level and draw those plumb lines on the wall to make the installation easier.

Next, we use Titebond Construction Adhesive to install the vertical and horizontal boards. Not all the boards fall on studs, and the adhesive will help them stay up once we nail them into place.

Install Crown Molding

One of the easiest ways to give a room instant elegance is to add crown molding.

If you’re not sure what size you need, get samples of different sizes, sold by the foot, from the home center and place each piece up against your wall.

Next, compare it to the molding around your windows and doors and see what looks good.  

Build, Paint and Install Cornice

To help tie the cornice into the dining room wall and the fireplace mantel, we’re using lattice strips. They’re thinner and smaller but mimic the same design.

We’ll use horizontal pieces at the top and bottom of the cornice, and we’ll add some vertical pieces in between.

Watch our video: Diy fabric-covered window cornice

Learn More: How to Make a Fabric Valance

Post-Production Thoughts

The main living area of Barbara’s new home was in nice enough condition, but it just didn’t have nearly as much personality as its owner. There were broad, blank walls and great windows with nothing to frame them.

But now, we’ve added the focal point this space so desperately needed. Even though the fireplace isn’t a real one, it adds the warmth and character that were missing from this room.

The mantel’s clean lines seem to fit the house perfectly and the wall space above it is ideal for the TV and the sconces we’ve added.

The crown molding adds a touch of elegance to the whole area and the grid we created on the accent wall breaks up that space nicely without stealing too much thunder from the fireplace.

And the window treatments echo the linear design in both of those other elements.

The best part? All of these construction materials cost less than $800.

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Editorial Contributors
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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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