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How to turn a fireplace into shelves

Updated February 21, 2017

If you no longer use your fireplace for fire, it's a great source of extra storage space. Many fireplaces represent 0.28 to 0.56 cubic metres (10 to 20 cubic feet) of unused room. By installing shelves inside your dormant fireplace, you can tap this unused resource in an attractive and unusual home decorating move. This project is appropriate for beginning to intermediate do-it-yourselfers and should be a breeze for experienced builders.

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  1. Close the flue of your chimney. If your chimney doesn't already have a hood, install one. Many models simply fit over the lip of a chimney like the lid on an airtight food storage container. The flue and the hood will keep rain from leaking onto your new shelves.

  2. Measure the width and depth of your fireplace. Cut the 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) wood sheet to match these dimensions.

  3. Set one of your wooden strips on end in a corner of your sheet of timber. Glue it in place. Do the same for the remaining strips, providing legs for the other three corners of your shelf. Allow the glue to dry.

  4. Reinforce the legs by driving two finishing nails through the wooden sheet and into the end of each leg.

  5. Set the shelf unit, legs down, inside your fireplace.

  6. Build additional shelf units to stack on top of the one you've installed until you've filled the vertical space in your fireplace.

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Things You'll Need

  • Chimney cap
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Measuring tape
  • Wooden sheet, 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) thick
  • 4 wooden strips, 1.2 cm by 1.2 cm by 10 cm (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 8 inches)
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Power saw

About the Author

Jason Brick has written professionally since 1994. His work has appeared in numerous venues including "Hand Held Crime" and "Black Belt Magazine." He has completed hundreds of technical and business articles, and came to full-time writing after a long career teaching martial arts. Brick received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Oregon.

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