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Graphic showing how to build a media wall

How to Build a Media Wall With a Fireplace

Discover everything you need to know to build a media wall in your home.

The starting point for building a media wall will depend on what features you currently have in your living room. If you already have a chimney breast in the room, you could close the traditional fireplace opening, make a suitably sized hole in the brickwork at the appropriate height, and recess an electric fireplace within the chimney breast.

If you don’t have a chimney breast, which is commonplace with many new-build properties, you can instead build a stud wall to house your media wall. This could be in the style of a chimney breast or a different design of your choosing.

If your existing chimney breast isn’t suitable or you don’t want to alter the brickwork, you could construct a stud wall around the chimney breast.

Hole In Wall vs Stud Wall

The starting point for building a media wall will depend on what features you currently have in your living room. If you already have a chimney breast in the room, you could close the traditional fireplace opening, make a suitably sized hole in the brickwork at the appropriate height, and recess an electric fireplace within the chimney breast.

If you don’t have a chimney breast, which is commonplace with many new-build properties, you can instead build a stud wall to house your media wall. This could be in the style of a chimney breast or a different design of your choosing.

If your existing chimney breast isn’t suitable or you don’t want to alter the brickwork, you could construct a stud wall around the chimney breast.

How to Choose Your Media Wall Fireplace

There are a couple of different options when choosing your media wall fireplace depending on how you want the fireplace to be installed. The main choices, which can be used on both existing chimney breasts and stud walls, are:

Built-in electric fireplace

Also called hole-in-wall fireplaces, recessed fireplaces or inset fireplaces, built-in electric fires are embedded within your media wall so that the front of the fireplace is flush with the front of the media wall or recessed slightly.

The main benefits of this approach are a clean, attractive finish and an interesting design feature in which the fire is sitting within the wall.

There are several ways in which a built-in electric fireplace can be installed to reveal either one, two or three glass sides. In any case, it creates a stylish, contemporary media wall fireplace. 

This type of installation requires some careful planning to make sure the media wall is built with suitable dimensions and that recesses to house the built-in electric fireplace are measured correctly.

Wall-mounted electric fireplace

Wall-mounted or wall-hung electric fireplaces are attached to the media wall similarly to how you might attach a picture to a wall. Using an installation kit supplied with the fireplace, which contains brackets and screws, you simply fix the fire to the wall.

Wall-mounted electric fireplaces are easy to install — they simply need to be attached to the wall — and are typically cheaper to buy than built-in fireplaces. They are also more versatile and easier to fit retrospectively because no forward planning is required during the construction process. 

For the same reason, the media wall build as a whole is more straightforward when you’re installing a wall-mounted fireplace.

How to Choose Your Media Wall TV

Although we don’t supply televisions, they are almost always installed directly above the media wall fireplaces we supply. For that reason, TVs are a key consideration when building a media wall.

Broadly speaking, a media wall TV can be installed using the same two methods as a fireplace:

  • Recessed media wall TV — the TV is inset within a purpose-built recess in the media wall, usually on an extendable bracket for easy access to the back of the TV
  • Wall-hung media wall TV — the TV is mounted to the wall with a bracket or fixing kit

 

You will also need to think about the right size of TV for your media wall. This will involve considering how the dimensions of the TV will impact the look of your media wall and ensuring there is enough wall space or a suitably sized recess in which to fit the TV.

It’s also worth checking that the weight of the TV is appropriate for the construction of the media wall and won’t be too heavy. 

Follow the TV manufacturer’s guidance for any minimum distances to an electric fireplace — although this is unlikely to be an issue if you’re installing an electric fire with a front-facing heater.

Where to Put Your Media Wall

Another key consideration is where to put your media wall within your living room.

The most popular location for a media wall is in a central location in the middle of the main wall. This creates a natural focal point in the room in the way that a traditional chimney breast and fireplace does. A central position may also have the advantage of offering views of the TV and the fireplace to people sitting in various positions around the room.

That said, a central location won’t be the best place to put your media wall in all cases. A media wall can be positioned to fill an awkward gap that already exists in the room. Similarly, it might be positioned off-centre to create a snug area within a larger open-plan space or to work most effectively with the position of windows and doors.

If you don’t want to do any rewiring as part of your media wall build, the location of your electrical sockets might also be a factor in your decision.

Overall, the best location for your media wall is likely to be the one that offers the most comfort and the best viewing angles for your household. It should allow people to sit on any of the sofas and armchairs in the room and be able to watch the TV and enjoy the cosiness of the fire.

Measuring the Wall

Once you’ve decided on the location of your media wall, you can start measuring the space and planning the dimensions of your media wall.

Depending on what stage you’re at and which appliances you already have, you could either plan to build a media wall that’s the right dimensions for your TV and fire or measure out the size of the wall you want so that you can buy appliances that are the right size.

Other important considerations when measuring up include:

  • Measuring recesses - the size and position of any holes or cavities for built-in appliances
  • Depth - how deep the wall needs to be to house your appliances and whether this impacts the room
  • Design features - how any features of the media wall, such as ledges, shelves and cupboards, will impact the size and dimensions of the wall

Installing Electrical Outlets

You don’t necessarily need to do any electrical work to build a media wall but you might choose to do so if it provides convenience or a neater finish.

The only essential requirement is enough plug sockets for the appliances you plan to install. In most cases, there will be two sockets: one for the electric fireplace and one for the TV.

If you plan to use any gaming consoles, audio-visual equipment or other appliances that also need a socket, you may want to install more electrical outlets.

When moving or adding electrical sockets, you might want to consider where it is best to position them. For a TV, you could conceal the socket behind a TV that is installed on an extendable bracket.

Other locations for electric outlets include the size of the media wall or the back of a recess or alcove shelf.

Even if you’re building a DIY media wall, we would strongly recommend using an electrician who is registered with NICEIC or a comparable government-approved registration body to undertake the electrical work for your media wall. Electrical work is dangerous and not something we would advise you to attempt as a DIY project.

Choosing the Materials

There are several options when choosing materials for a media wall. Most media walls are built using a timber frame, though some are built with metal frames. If you’re building your stud wall from timber, this will usually be done with 75mm x 50mm or 100mm x 50mm lengths of sawn timber.

Once the stud wall is built, it will typically be clad with plasterboard, MDF or even an engineered stone. The media wall may then be finished with plaster and paint, Venetian plastering or an alternative finish.

How to Build a Stud Wall for Your Media Wall

There are several ways to achieve a media wall build but most will start with building a stud wall to create the structure of the media wall build. Here are the steps you need to take to build a stud wall.

1. Prepare the build 

Create a scaled plan of where the media wall will be built. Mark the position of the media wall on your wall. Use a tape measure and spirit level to give you accurate dimensions and straight lines.

2. Build your media wall head plate and foot plate

Construct the base and top of your media wall. To do this:

  • Measure and cut four lengths of timber to the width of your media wall and four lengths to the depth of your media wall.
  • Create a rectangular box by screwing two of the longer lengths and two of the shorter lengths together. This will be the foot plate.
  • Repeat to create another rectangular box for the head plate.
  • Attach the foot plate to the floor and the head plate to the ceiling in the correct position for your media wall.
3. Fit vertical studs

The next step is to add supports running between the head plate and the footplate. To do this:

  • Measure and cut four lengths of timber for the gap between the head plate and footplate.
  • Knock the studs into position in each corner of the head plate and foot plate using a mallet.
  • Use a spirit level to check that all four vertical studs are straight.
  • Screw the studs to the head and foot plates.

4. Add noggings

Noggings are horizontal supports that run between the vertical studs to provide more strength. Depending on your design, plasterboard and appliances will be mounted to the noggings, so position them accordingly. To do this: 

  • Plan where you will need horizontal braces to provide the support needed for your design, while also leaving recesses in which to install your appliances.
  • Stagger the position of the noggings on the longer sides of the media wall and those on the two shorter sides to give yourself better access when screwing the noggings into the vertical studs.
  • Screw noggings into all four sides of the media wall. 
5. Install your electric fireplace

Once the stud wall and supports are built, you can position your electric fireplace into position. 

With some fireplaces, including wall-mounted appliances, this will be done after the stud wall has been clad. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how and when to install the fireplace.

6. Add cladding to your media wall

Create the final structure of your media wall by adding plasterboard or MDF cladding. To do this:

  • Cut the cladding material to size then fix it to the vertical studs and noggings.
  • Clad the insides of the recesses to create a neat, uniform finish.
  • Leave gaps or mark any places where you will need to cut the cladding to bring through wires.
  • Skim, plaster, paint or finish your cladding as needed.

 

Installing the Media Equipment

With the main structure of the wall complete, you can turn your attention to installing your TV and any other media equipment. Your appliance may have been supplied with a wall bracket and fitting kit. If not, these can be bought separately.

In the case of both recessed and wall-mounted TV installations, an extendable bracket gives you the greatest flexibility. With an extendable bracket, you can easily pull out the TV to access cables and sockets behind it or even adjust the angle of the TV when needed.

It’s important to use brackets, wall plugs and screws that are designed for TVs and for the material to which your media equipment is being fitted. In the case of a wall-hung installation on an existing chimney breast, you can drill into the masonry to attach the bracket.

If you’ve built your own media wall, the mounting brackets should be fixed to the studs and noggings within the recess.

Your TV can then be attached to the bracket as instructed by the manufacturer. You can repeat a similar process for soundbars and any other audiovisual equipment that is being embedded within your media wall.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Media Wall?

On average, it costs between £2,000 and £4,000 to build a media wall. The cost of building a media wall varies dramatically depending on a range of factors, including:

  • Whether you’re able to build the wall yourself
  • The size and design of the media wall
  • How much construction and electrical work is needed
  • Your choice of electric fireplace, TV and other appliances 


The cost of building the stud wall itself is likely to be around £1,700 - £2,000 at a price of £55 - £65 per m2. You can instantly cut out the labour costs by building the media wall yourself — a simple job for any competent DIY-er. Alternatively, you can easily build your own wall with total control over the cost of materials by buying one of Gr8Fires’ ready-to-build media wall kits.

Best Media Wall Electric Fires

Here are some of the best electric fires for media walls:

Ezee Glow Celestial

Our best-selling hole-in-wall electric fireplace, the Ezee Glow Celestial Built-In is an attractive and hugely versatile media wall fire. Available in 36", 50", 60" and 72" models, it can be installed with one, two or three glass sides and it includes a choice of three flame effects and 12 fuel bed colours.

Key Features

  • 1.4-1.6kW heat output 
  • Sleek, modern design 
  • Realistic flame effect with three colour options 
  • Less than 48 decibels in normal use

Suitable for:

  • Modern living rooms
  • Media walls of all sizes
  • Cost-effective cosiness
Take a Closer Look at the Ezee Glow Celestial

 

Ezee Glow Zara

The Ezee Glow Zara can be installed as a recessed or wall-mounted electric fireplace. Available in four different sizes and with a choice of black or white surround glass, it creates a contemporary focal point in any media wall.

Key Features

  • 1.6kW heat output
  • Low running costs with flame-only settings
  • Three flame colour options 
  • Space-saving shallow design

Suitable for:

  • Minimalist looks
  • Existing chimney breasts and new media walls
  • Affordable, contemporary design

Take a Closer Look at the Ezee Glow Zara

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Ready to build a media wall?

If you’re about to embark on your own media wall project, take a look at our full range of media wall electric fires to find the perfect fireplace focal point for your living room.

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