Build a TV Lift Cabinet for under $300
Want to make 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 creating and installing a TV lift cabinet, you can have the best of both worlds.
If the cost of a TV lift and the tv lift cabinet have 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 lift cabinets 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 cabinet, 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 can you 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 flat screen decor.
Do you have a man cave or she shed? If so, a TV lift is a perfect complement to your sanctuary space!
Maybe you want to install a tv lift your bed's footboard? Create your own bed tv lift footboard to allow you to watch tv in bed but also saving on room.
Some 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?
A TV lift mechanism is basically a linear actuator, but with a few extra features that make it suitable for lifting TV’s out of cabinets. The TV is attached to this actuator mechanism, and at the push of a button, the linear actuator either pushes the TV up or retracts 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 diy tv lift cabinet.
Rear or Floor Mount, or both?
Rear mount TV lifts can be mounted to an existing structure, like a tv lift 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 in the image below, which shows a Cabinet frame and a TV Lift mechanism installed
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 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?
This is where the lid of the cabinet is fixed. A fixed lid is attached to the top of the TV lift and stays there the entire time your TV is up, so it will lift up and down along with the TV. This eliminates the need for hinges and keeps the lid fixed in place at all times. Plus if you have any ornaments on the top of the cabinet they will stay in place and not need to be moved.
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.
Safety Idea of fixed cabinet lids
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. This technology is already in use on the FIRGELLI outdoor TV cabinet, and works very well The magnets are strong enough to hold the lid firmly in place even with ornaments on the top, yet weak enough to auto disconnect if something like a child’s finger gets caught between the lid and the cabinet as the TV lift is retracting.
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.
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 and can very easily be purchased online to match you're existing décor. 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.
First step in building the cabinet is to build a frame to which you can apply the outside hardwood material too. The video below shows how to make the frame. The dimensions we chose for the frame are further down the page, but the process is very simple using regular 2x4' purchased from Home Depot
Below is the full video on how to build a diy TV lift cabinet with the frame and applying the hardwood flooring. The hardwood can also be purchased online, we used Home Depot and it was $97 per pack. We used approximately 1.5 pack for this cabinet which is sized to accommodate a 50" TV. We estimate 2 packs would still be good for an 80" TV, so this still keeps you under the $300 level.
First step to make the TV Lift Cabinet
Here is a picture of the 1st step in the diy tv lift 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.
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.
- One- 4'x8' x 1/4″ plywood board ($32 each)
- seven 2"x4" x 8' wood for the framing. ($2.34 each)
- Rear Mount TV Lift ($390)
- Piano hinge if opting for the Flip Back lid style cabinet. ($8)
- 1.25″ nails ($4)
- Wood glue ($6)
- Legs (if desired)
- 2 packs of Hardwood flooring for finishing the outside and the lid (497 per pack x 2)
- 220-grit sandpaper ($2)
In addition to these materials, you'll also need the right tools. For this project, you'll need a drill or electric screwdriver, and a circular saw with ability to angle at 45-degrees to cut the corners of the hardwood, some clamps to hold the hardwood onto the frame whilst the glue dries, or if you don't have any clamps watch the second video so show how to clamp them on with just using some spare pieces of wood and one screw.
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.
- Cut 4 pieces of the 2"x4" 47.5" long
- Cut 4 pieces of the 2"x4" 9" long
- Cut 8 pieces of the 2"x4" 28" long
- Cut 2 piece of the plywood for the bottom and lid piece 47.5"x 12"
- screw them all together using 1.25" screws. The center 2 pieces of 2"x4" are placed on 21" centers from the corners to match up with the tabs on the side of the TV Lift Mechanism. so that you can screw the TV Lift onto these 2 pieces of wood once the frame is built. Again depending on the TV Lift you are using you can adjust these.
As always, use proper safety equipment. It's important to follow all safety guidelines and directions when using your tools.
Frame build step 1
3. Screw on the plywood base.
The base is needed to mount the TV Lift system to and hold the controllers and wiring for the Lift. Some people maty want to install wheels to make this portable. These ball caster wheels below are very cheap, only $15 from Amazon.com
4. Hiding the Lift
Once the frame is installed you can install the TV Lift. The model we used for this cabinet is this unit FA-TVL-180-36 FIRGELLI TV Lift this unit can be rear mounted or floor mounted or both. The unit comes with both bracket to make either a flip back lid or a fixed lid. Both of these are demonstrated in the video. This unit also comes with 2 controllers, one a wireless and one a wired for back up.
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 tv lift cabinet.
5. Sand the cabinet frame ready for siding
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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 cabinet 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 Lid cabinet 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.
10. Place Your TV Inside
Following the instructions provided by FIRGELLI Automation, attach the TV to the TV lift. This shouldn't take more than a couple 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.
11. Add the hardwood flooring to all sides
Now the frame is completed and the TV Lift is installed inside the tv lift cabinet, its time to add the outside material. We chose the hardwood flooring because its comes finished and there are over 100,000 different colors patterns and materials to choose from. Also been easy to work with you don't need any special tools to cut it.
We start at the bottom and cut all 4 sides at a time and then cut 45degree angles to each side so that when they are mounted to the frame they fit nicely together. We used glue to stick them to the frame but if you have a nail gun this will be far quicker.
Most hardwood flooring is tongue in groove style so they easily fit neatly together creating a neat fit look one connected.
For the Lid we approached it as a mini cabinet, we used a piece of plywood in the center and then sandwiched the hardwood to all 6 sides cutting 45 degree cuts on each edge and then glued it together.
12. Put the False Back on
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 sit down in your comfiest spot. Grab the remotes you need and get a good 30 to 60 minutes of TV time in allowing you to test out your new tv lift cabinet! 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 hidden tv lift 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.
If in the future you are in need to replace your tv lift actuator, our replacement actuator article will be of great help.
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.