How To Build A Kiva Fireplace: 3+ DIY Plans


A kiva fireplace is a southwestern-inspired indoor or outdoor fireplace. They are typically tall, flowing fireplaces with a metal face frame and an inner firebox. It is this plaster that lends a kiva its distinctive stucco or adobe appearance, making these fireplaces ideal for any southwestern-style home.

DIY Kiva Fireplace Plans & Ideas

Santa Fe Inspired

A kiva fireplace is a type of Native American fire pit. It is traditionally used for heating and cooking, but can also be used for ceremonial purposes.

Kiva fireplaces are typically round or oval in shape, with a shallow depression in the center. The sides of the fireplace are often lined with stones, bricks, or other materials to help contain the fire. A kiva fireplace may also have a vent or chimney to help with ventilation.

Frame Home Design

Kiva fireplaces are usually built outdoors, but can also be built indoors. They are often used in areas where wood is plentiful, such as the southwestern United States.

Kiva fireplaces have a long history, and are still in use today by many Native American tribes.

Outdoor Design

There are both pros and cons to using a kiva fireplace. Some of the pros include that they are easy to build, they can be used for both heating and cooking, and they have a long history.

Some of the cons include that they require ventilation, and they may not be allowed in some areas due to fire codes.

Inside option

An indoor option is to build a false kiva fireplace (check out our faux fireplace guide).

Corner Option

A corner kiva fireplace is a type of kiva fireplace that is built in the corner of a room. This type of fireplace is often used in rooms where space is limited.

Corner kiva fireplaces have many of the same features as other types of kivas, including a shallow depression in the center and sides that are lined with materials such as stones or bricks. The main difference is that corner kiva fireplaces are built in the corner of a room, rather than in the center.

Corner kiva fireplaces have both pros and cons. Some of the pros include that they are easy to build and can be used in small spaces. Some of the cons include that they may not provide as much heat as other types of kivas, and they may not be allowed in some areas due to fire codes.

How to build a kiva fireplace

Pueblo Indians in the southwest used the term “kiva” to refer to a circular underground meeting area for rituals, spiritual ceremonies, and other gatherings. Adobe bricks were used to build the kiva fireplace of the Native American style.

There are many similarities between its design and the spherical, pit-like adobe dwellings built by Pueblo Indians’ descendants.



It is more energy-efficient to use a kiva fireplace because of its characteristically wide base. The flume’s upper flume opening can be accessed through the narrow top of the flume. The nichos and bancos of the kiva fireplace are traditional elements.

A nicho is an adobe wall with a recessed shelf cut out of it. This is a great place to show off your favorite trinkets and trinket containers. A banco is a bench erected on either the left or right side of the kiva’s hearth.

Firebox, metal face frame, air intake, “chimney,” and thin plaster/plaster/adobe finish are typical components of Kiva fireplaces.


There are a wide number of Kiva fireplaces to choose from in a variety of southwestern designs. If you’re looking for a gas or wood-burning stove that can fit in a number of rooms, there are several alternatives.

In addition to providing warmth and ambiance, outdoor kiva fireplaces are built to last in all kinds of weather. Newer versions are lightweight, pre-fabricated, and simple to erect. (Learn how to make an outdoor fireplace cheaply!)


Fire embers can be deflected by fireplace screens, keeping you and your floor safe. If your fire is still burning and you need to leave the area securely, you can close the glass doors that cover the opening of the firebox.

Kiva grates are used in fireboxes to hold logs in a campfire shape.

How to Build a Kiva Fireplace

How to Build a Kiva Fireplace

In contrast to the laborious, time-consuming, and untidy installation of conventional adobe fireplaces, building a kiva fireplace is among the simplest tasks you’ll ever undertake. The firebox, chimney, face frame, air intake, finish stucco, and gas assembly, if you want a gas-fired model, are the five main components of the fireplace.

This fireplace can be built by an experienced do-it-yourselfer, but it is always recommended that you hire an experienced contractor to build any home improvement that poses a fire hazard.

Install your Kiva Fireplace Inside or Out

Install your Kiva Fireplace Inside or Out

The fact that these fireplaces may be used both indoors and outdoors is another factor contributing to their widespread use in southwest design. They are a wonderful addition to the corner of any living room, family room, great room, or even a dining or sunspace in a home.

They may be easily integrated into tiled and stuccoed outdoor patios, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors even when the weather is chilly.

Other fireplaces, which can look industrial and out of place in modern southwestern homes with smooth, natural pueblo designs, don’t blend in as well as a kiva-style fireplace.

A Multi-Level Fireplace

These fireplaces also have a lot to offer when it comes to their weight and installation options. Don’t be fooled by their stone-like appearance.

Stucco is simply put to the metal face frame that rests above the firebox and chimney in a thin layer to achieve the kiva fireplace’s distinctive southwestern aesthetic.

These fireplaces are substantially lighter in weight than conventional fireplace designs since most of the space beneath is open air. It makes them ideal for use in second-floor study areas, master bedrooms, and other areas that have access to the upper floors.

The design of the kiva fireplace

The design of the kiva fireplace

Kiva fireplaces are typically placed in the corners of adobe dwellings, either indoors or out. Their circular shape, which many consider a “beehive” or an “inverted cone,” lends itself to comparisons. With their earthy appearance and smooth form, Kiva fireplaces have a “romantic” appeal.

It is common for Kiva fireplaces to have a niche (art nook) because Santa Fe is an artistic and creative community. Others feature built-in shelves that are sunken into the wall. Some Kivas have a “bench” or seating space, known as a banco, which is connected to the main room.

Stucco or plaster may be applied to the wireframe of some Kiva fires, but adobe remains the most common material. If you’re looking for an easy-to-build fireplace, Kiva is the way to go.

Firebox, metal face frame, air intake, “chimney,” and thin plaster/plaster/adobe finish are typical components of Kiva fireplaces.

What You Need to Know About Kiva Fireplace Installation

As previously stated, this is a simple procedure. When it comes to stucco or plaster, the most time-consuming part is waiting for the scratch, base, and finish coats to dry.

Once the firebox is built, you’ll need to run the steel chimney from the firebox to your roof, as well as install the faceplate.

Finally, you’ll apply three coats of stucco or plaster to the fireplace’s face frame in order to achieve that sought-after stucco look. Your choice of color for these coatings is even more flexible because it will be mixed by yourself or by a contractor for you.

Talk to a store or contractor who has worked with kiva fireplaces to learn what actions you need to take to get your installation started if you want the southwestern elegance of a kiva fireplace.


A Rumford fireplace’s radiating heat and a southwest-style fireplace’s traditional elegance are combined in a Kiva fireplace. The curved firebox and curving chimney are a stylish addition.

Two rammed earth walls support it on a smooth hearth. An environmentally friendly and locally available fuel source is used in this fireplace. The heat from the flue gasses rises via the chimney thanks to the mass of the rammed earth.

For hours after the fire has been put out, this heat continues to radiate into the room. The Pueblo people regard kivas as sacred and private, and they hold a significant place in Pueblo culture.

Eugene Duke Pic

Hi, my name’s Eugene Duke and I love sitting by my fireplace reading a book and sipping on an adult beverage. Do you have a fireplace in your house? I’ll help you figure out the best type and style of fireplace for your home.


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