How to Build a TV Lift Cabinet for under $300

How to build a tv lift cabinet

Want to build the perfect TV Lift Cabinet? Have you found the perfect spot for your TV but don't want it showing all the time? Maybe you need to save on space but can't find the right TV stand.

How can you solve your design problem and your TV problem?

There's great news! By installing a TV lift, you can have the best of both worlds.

If the cost of a TV lift has you nervous, we've got good news for you. Keep reading to find out how to build your own furniture and get a great TV lift without busting your budget.

Why Do You Need One?

If you don't want your home decor dominated by a flat-screen, a TV lift is a perfect solution. TV lifts are also a great way to save wall space. Maybe you'd rather have a piece of art hanging on your wall than a TV. 

Perhaps family pictures are taking priority over your source of entertainment. Those memories should absolutely be valued over mounting a TV. With a TV lift, you don't have to choose.

TV lifts are also a great solution to a partners' spat about the use of home and wall space. One wants the nice looking cabinet, the other wants the TV in the same space. With a TV lift, everyone gets what they want.

In addition, TV lifts are just cool. No matter how old you are, it's fun to push a button and have a TV pop up out of nowhere!

Where You Can Use a TV Lift?

The short answer is anywhere! The most obvious place is a family room or den. These shared spaces may not always be conducive to flatscreen decor.

Do you have a man cave or she shed? If so, a TV lift is a perfect complement to your sanctuary space!

Some use incorporate TV lifts into kitchen counters. Hiding your TV is a great way to maximize counter space when not using your TV. When you want to cook along with Rachel Ray, you can have her show right in your kitchen with the press of a button.

How Does a TV Lift Work?

When turned on or activated, the TV lift uses electrical energy to activate a linear actuator.  Your TV is attached to this actuator mechanism. At the push of a button, the linear actuator either pushes the TV up or pulls it back down.

Since the TV lift is powered by electricity, you'll need access to a wall outlet when you install it. 

Below is a video that shows a TV Lift in action and the basics of a cabinet. 

Rear or Floor Mount, or both?

Rear mount TV lifts can be mounted to an existing structure, like a cabinet or console. TV lifts can also attach to the floor. Let's take a look at the differences between floor-mounted and rear-mounted TV lifts.

how to make a tv lift cabinet

Floor Mount

In some cases, consumers want a TV lift but don't want to attach it to a stand, console, or cabinet. When this happens, it makes more sense to mount it to the floor and place an object in front of or behind it.

A floor mount TV lift is a great option if the console or furniture you have doesn't have a back or has a different shape. Using a floor-mount model, you can attach the TV lift to the floor and place it inside of the console or cabinet.

This looks as if the TV is attached without having to drill into your furniture.

Rear Mount

Rear mount TV lifts are great for attaching to your furniture. If your cabinet or console has a sturdy back this is a great option. 

If the piece of furniture housing your TV is a regular rectangle, you shouldn't have any problems attaching a rear mount TV lift.

Rear mount TV lifts are a great way to avoid placing holes in your floor as well.

Should You Flip Your Lid or keep it attached?

Now that you've decided on a floor model vs. a mounted model, think about the top of your console or cabinet. Would you like the top of your cabinet to flip back or stay put

Fixed

A fixed lid attached to the top of the TV lift and stays there the entire time your TV is up. This eliminates the need for hinges and keeps the lid fixed in place at all times.

Fixed TV lift lids are ideal for homes without curious little hands. If a child's hands are in the way while the TV is lowering, the weight of the lift and TV will come down on their fingers. Even with a protection mechanism in place, this can cause serious damage.

Tiny fingers can be saved by attaching the TV cabinet lid to the TV lift with strong magnets. If something gets in the way, the lid will separate from the TV lift, freeing any little digits in its way.

The advantage to fixed TV lift lids is their ability to lift up whatever may be on them. You can place a cup of coffee or favorite figurine on the console and it won't be tipped over when the TV lift is activated.

How to Build a TV Lift Cabinet

Flipped

Some people may be distracted by something on top of the TV. If this describes you, the flipped lid is your best option.

Don't worry about the TV hitting the top of your cabinet each time it pops up. Each lift is designed with rollers to prevent the lid from touching your TV.

The flipped lid can be a finger saver as well. If you have little ones who may have their hands in the way while the TV is lowering, only the weight of the lid will be felt.

If you tend to leave items lying around, the flip option may not be for you. Imagine leaving a beverage or glass on your TV stand. If it's not moved when the TV lift is activated, you could have a real mess on your hands.

How to Build a TV Lift Cabinet

DIY Projects Mean Safety First

You don't need to be a carpentry expert to build this TV lift cabinet. You do, however, have to be comfortable and familiar with basic woodwork and tools. 

If you've never used a power tool before, have a seasoned DIYer help you out with this project. Always follow safety guidelines for tools and equipment. 

Anytime you build your own furniture, you are taking on a certain amount of risk. So, have fun and proceed with safety, tools, and common sense.

Steps to Build a TV Lift Cabinet

If you already have an existing cabinet, adding a TV lift is a great idea. Do you have a knack for DIY projects? With basic carpentry skills and the right materials, you can build your very own TV lift cabinet.

The process to build a cabinet is two-fold. First you build the TV Cabinet Frame using 2x4's and plywood sheets then once the frame is built you add whatever covering to the outside you wish to make it look pretty. We recommend using hardwood flooring as the outside material for many reasons. One is that the choice of colors, materials and finishes are endless. The other is that this material is very easy to work with and comes in packs that are easy to carry and are pretty cheap. 

Here is a picture of the 1st step in the cabinet making process - making the frame from 2x4's. The TV Lift mechanism has been added here to show how the system work in the frame. Below are the step by step instructions on making the frame for a cabinet that holds a 50" TV. Adjust the frame size depending on the TV size you wish to install.

how to build a tv lift cabinet

1. Choose Your Material

What kind of structure will you use for your TV cabinet? If you're planning to stain it, consider oak or maple. These woods have great natural grain and hold up pretty well to everyday wear and tear.

If you plan to paint your piece, plywood, or MDF will do the trick.

Materials List

  • One – 1/4″ plywood sheet 
  • One- 1x2x8 board
  • Rear Mount TV Lift
  • Piano hinge if opting for the Flip Back lid style cabinet. 
  • 1.25″ nails 
  • Wood glue
  • Legs (if desired)
  • Hardwood flooring for finishing the outside
  • 220-grit sandpaper

In addition to these materials, you'll also need the right tools. For this project, you'll need a drill, a nail gun, and any brand pocket hole jig. You also need a circular saw with a track, an electric sander, a hand saw with a miter box and a concealed hinge jig.

2. Make Your Cuts

Once you've got your tools and materials together, it's time to make your cuts. Some people prefer to have all cuts made at the beginning of the project. Others prefer to cut as they go during their DIY projects. 

  • Top piece: 3/4" plywood cut in half and cut again to 45" x 15 1/8"
  • Side 1: 3/4" plywood cut to 30" x 15"
  • Side 2:  3/4" plywood cut to 30" x 15"
  • Back: 3/4" plywood cut to 43.5"0 x 29 1/8"
  • Front of Shelves: 1x2x8 cut into two pieces measuring 43.25" each
  • Shelves: 3/4" plywood cut into two pieces measuring 43.25" x 6" each
  • Cut small notches on two corners of each shelf with a hand saw. This allows the shelves to fit around the false back (if you decide to have one).
  • Doors: 3/4" plywood cut into two pieces measuring 30.75" x 22.5" each

As always, use proper safety equipment. It's important to follow all safety guidelines and directions when using your tools.

Frame build step 1

how to make a tv lift cabinet frame step 1

Frame build step 2
tv lift cabinet Frame build step 2
Frame build step 3
tv lift cabinet Frame build step 3
Frame build step 4
tv lift cabinet Frame build step 4

3. Prep the Back Piece

On the back piece of your cabinet, pre-drill holes using a pocket hole jig. You'll want five evenly spaced holes on either side. Place six holds on the bottom and leave the top untouched. 

Make sure the holes on either bottom corner are about 90 degrees from one another. This should make a small square shape around the corners to reinforce them.

4. Put the Pieces Together

Once you've pre-drilled, you're reading to put things together. Begin with one side piece and the bottom piece. Line the appropriate sides with glue, then assemble using 1.25" Kreg screws.

Next, attach the back to the bottom and side piece you've just connected. Last, glue and screw the other side where it belongs. 

You should have a small gap at the top of your newly assembled structure. This needs to be there to accommodate the TV lift. This space should be about 1/16".

Hiding the Lift

If you want your cabinet to be functional, you can install a false back on the inside. This will allow you to put shelving and use your cabinet once the TV lift is installed. It will also hide the TV lift should you want to keep the shelves open (no doors) for decor display.

To make your false back, 1/4″ plywood sheet cut to 43.5 x 29.25. Next, cut four dowels to 29.25" each as the bottom of the cabinet. 

Glue two dowels on either side of the unit, 6.5" from the back of the cabinet. Measure just over a 1/4" gap and glue the next two dowels parallel to the first dowels. You're making a track for your false back to slide in and out. 

You can also reinforce your track using nails if you're worried glue won't be enough to hold them in place. Just make sure your nails don't poke all the way through the unit.

Slide the plywood into the dowel-track and you've got a false back in place.

5. Shelves Up

Now you're ready to make those shelves. This tv cabinet has two shelves. If you'd like more or less feel free to add or remove to suit your needs.

Take your first 3/4" shelf piece and attach a cut 1x2 to the front using nails and glue. Do the same to the second shelf. Hold them together using clamps until the glue has completely dried.

If you'd like the option of moving shelves, use a shelf pin jig to make additional holes along the sides of your tv cabinet.

6. Sand and Paint

If your pieces aren't already sanded, take the time to sand until they are smooth. This may take some patience and several hours or days of sanding, wiping clean, drying, and sanding again. 

Always make sure the wood is completely dry before priming or painting.

Next, prime your partially assembled cabinet, doors (not yet attached), and shelves. 

After the primer has completely dried, paint with your selected color. You may need two coats to get the look you want.

If you decide to stain your woodwork, remember to do so in a well-ventilated area. Make sure you're staining with the grain of the wood. 

7. It's Got Legs

If you're using legs for your TV stand, flip the TV stand upside down first. Measure four inches from the left and mark spots for front and back legs. Do the same to the right-hand side.

Place your front legs just a little bit back from the front edge. Now you can pre-drill holes for legs and attach them according to their specific instructions. Most legs are pretty easy to install. 

If you've chosen a unique leg style, read all instructions before starting your project. You may need to tweak a few steps before attaching the legs if they need special instructions.

8. Don't Leave Unhinged

If you aren't planning to add doors to your TV stand, you can skip this step. I

If you have a concealed door hinge jig, it will make drilling door holes much more efficient. Pre-drill holes before screwing the hinges onto the door. Then, attach hinges to the doors using screws.

When measuring, make sure the hinges on your door will line up with the hinges on your TV stand.

After you've screwed the hinges to the door, connect them with the unscrewed part of the hinge. Now, hold it up to the cabinet to find the best place for the doors to go. This is a great way to check your measurements.

Mark and pre-drill where you're connecting the hinges to the TV stand. Finally, attach the hinges with screws and you should have yourself a nice looking door or two.

Why Don't You Slide?

For sliding doors, you can use the same measurements but install a track. Follow the instructions for track installation instead of assembling and attaching hinges.

If you're looking for a farmhouse feel, you can purchase a mini sliding door kit. Just make sure the measurements line up with the rest of this project before purchasing. 

If you're going to build your own furniture, why not make it exactly what you want? Doors (or lack of doors) create a TV stand that is your style and taste. 

9. Make Room for the Cords

Before you install the TV lift, you will need a place for cords to pass through the back of the unit.

You can do this by making a small hole on the back of the TV stand. If you already have carpentry tools, you can use a 1.25" paddle bit to make a round hole.

If you don't have that specific tool, you can make the hole using a hacksaw. If you're using a hacksaw, a square or rectangle shape will be easier to make. It won't look as clean but it will get the job done.

10. Install the TV Lift

Finally, it's TV lift install time! We recommend using this TV lift from FIRGELLI Automations. It's simple to install and the instructions are easy to follow.

How to Build a TV Lift Cabinet

Carefully follow the mounting instructions provided FIRGELLI Automations. Make sure you decide how high you'd like the TV lift before drilling into your newly built cabinet.

11. Put a Lid on It

The top of your TV stand is two sections. The front section will not move, the back section will flip up to allow your TV lift to do its job. 

Attach the top piece front section using four inside corner brackets. Make sure everything lines up before drilling.

Pre-drill holes for the piano hinge to attach to the back of the cabinet (where it will flip up to allow the TV out). Once the piano hinge is secured, take the back section of your top and line it up.

Pre-drill, then drill in one screw on each side and one in the middle first. Then, pre-drill and drill the rest of the screws to fully attach the top piece to the TV stand.

Fixed Top Option

If you're planning to have a fixed top you won't need the piano hinge. You can attach the back piece of the lid to the top of your TV lift. This way, the lid will move with your TV when it slides up and down.

11. Place Your TV Inside

Following the instructions provided by FIRGELLI Automation, attach the TV to the TV lift. This shouldn't take more than five minutes. Once it's attached, take a minute to stand back and admire your TV lift jack-in-the box.

This would be a great time to plug in your TV and connect any other units you might need. Turn on your TV to make sure it all works.

12. Put the False Back Back

If you added a false back and shelves, reinstall them now. This time, they can stay put. 

Take off the front piece of the top. Slide the false back in and secure the shelves where you want them.

Drill the front piece of the top back on (for good this time). 

13. Admire Your TV Lift Cabinet

Before you clean up the mess, get a cold beverage and plop down in your comfiest spot. Grab the remotes you need and get a good 30 to 60 minutes of TV time in. After all, you've earned it!

Finding the Right Fit

If you DIY a build or refurbish an old piece, a TV lift in your cabinet makes a lot of sense. It's a great way to keep the visual focus on your home decor and still have a TV for your favorite gathering space.

Looking for a solution for another room in your house? FIRGELLI Automations can help you find the right TV lift for you. They even have drop-down TV lift kits for TVs that come from above.

Lifts aren't just for TVs. Wouldn't it be nice to have small appliances pop up from your kitchen counter? A linear actuator from FIRGELLI Automation can make that happen.

FIRGELLI Automation is committed to helping you find solutions that make your life easier. Our materials are high quality and dependable. That's why organizations like NASA, SpaceX, and General Motors trust FIRGELLI products.

Let us help you put your plans in motion, give us a call at 1-866-266-0465 or send us a message today.

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