The big black box - it's the dreaded design dilemma heard over and over again. Here is how to build a wall mounted TV cabinet in just one day and hide that eyesore.
It's not too often when you get things right - especially in the DIY world.
But this little box made me feel like a rockstar and got me some huge kudos from the husband - which always feels good.
When we moved to this new home, I was always battling the big black box, when I tried to take pictures of this room.
These days, the TV is a necessity in every home, but from a design standpoint - it's not pretty to look at.
And while I dream of having one of those flat-screen TVs that display artwork, that simply isn't in our budget at this time.
Plus I didn't want to place a huge entertainment center in my living room.
I also didn't want the flat screen TV just hanging on the wall.
I wanted a seamless look for this occasional room while also having the opportunity to watch TV when I wanted to.
So I had to come up with a solution to hide it and my inspiration struck in one little email from Michaels.
This perfect TV setup is a great way to solve both dilemmas!
So let's start with the supplies you need.
How to Build a Wall Mounted TV Cabinet
(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
- Picture frames that fit the size of your TV - I ordered these from Michael's in 11x14
- Wood to fit the depth of your TV - we used 1 x 6 Pine Boards
- Mitre Saw or Circular Saw
- Stain - I used Weathered Gray and Antiquing Glaze
- 4 Piano Hinges - ours were 30 inches long
- Wall Mount Kit
- Cord Hider
- 2 Metal Brackets
It was an end of the year clearance sale email from Michaels for their picture frames at 70% off if you ordered in bulk.
That gave me the idea to build this cabinet.
I had been looking for solutions to hide our electronic devices and there are plenty of storage cabinets and tv consoles out there.
But only a few actually hid the TV.
The cabinets that hid just the TV run from $250 for a small TV to $1500 - way too expensive for our tight budget. So a DIY solution was needed.
STEP ONE: Take your measurements
To begin with, I measured our TV.
You want to measure the height and width of your TV to determine the size of picture frames you'll need.
Ours is a 43 inch TV measuring at 38 x 22.
Please Note: This tutorial is for a 43 inch TV, so you will have to adjust and customize the measurement for your screen size. This may also mean you need to find smaller or larger picture frames.
To cover the entire TV, I took the measurements from Michaels and made sure the picture frames would work.
I ordered eight 11 x 14 frames to cover the entire TV.
Next you want to measure the depth of your TV.
Take into account the measurements of the TV mount.
What I love is the Cord Hider. As professional musicians, we are always dealing with cable management, so being able to hide them away is amazing!
You cut out two holes in your drywall - one behind the TV and one directly below at the same height as your wall outlet. Just install these boxes and it hides your cords!
Next we took the depth measurement to find the size of wood needed to build the box.
So for our TV, we needed 1 x 6 boards to completely fit the TV and wall mount.
STEP TWO: Build your door panels
The goal is to make these picture frames seem like accordion doors.
You'll need 4 piano hinges. The long hinges stabilize both frames without the need to glue them together.
Start by laying the frames out face side down and begin installing your piano hinges using the included screws to the center of each door as pictured above.
TIP: Pre-drill the pilot holes with a small bit before screwing them in. This will help prevent your frames from splitting.
It's a relatively quick process with two people but it is a bit tedious.
Trent and I built one door together and it was a breeze with one person drilling/screwing while the other held the doors in place.
When I built the second door on my own, it was a lot of back and forth to make sure the ends were aligned properly. It's not impossible to do this solo, but it did take more time.
For the inside panel, where the doors meet, you need something to stabilize the picture frames.
Without these brackets, you run the risk of the frames bending and knocking everything out of alignment.
We had these mounting brackets on hand, but you can get them for a few bucks at your hardware store.
Now that my door panels were built, I placed them side by side and measured the height and width of both panels together.
You will need this measurement for the next step.
STEP THREE: Build and stain your cabinet
This is super simple, but you need a miter saw or circular saw. Here are some of my favorite DIY must-have tools I recommend.
Remember the measurement you took of your finished doors?
Cut your wood the width and height of your finished doors - not the width and height of your TV. This gives your DIY doors a frame to sit against.
NOTE: This will not be a tight fit around your TV. There will likely be an inch gap or more between your TV and the wall cabinet.
Nail your box together. We used a pneumatic nail gun for a quick an easy build, but you could use 1 inch pocket screws for this as well.
Once assembled, you should have a big, square box.
Next you will need to add two boards on the inside of the box.
Adding a support pieces across the top and bottom of the box makes able to hang it into a stud. It will also help to keep your box square.
Attach the beam by nailing or screwing it into the sides as well as the top or bottom piece.
You can see the lower support beam pictured below. I'll explain how we hung the cabinet later.
Next, I stained my wood.
How do you get the stain to match the frames?
Wood does pick up different parts of the stain and sometimes you have to either apply less or more depending on what's happening.
To get a good match, try sanding the stain down a bit and wiping it with a damp cloth. We took a few days to apply a few coats of stain to get the look we wanted. It's truly about trial and error holding up the frames to the stain many different times.
In all honesty, our wood isn't a perfect match to our frames. It's just a bit darker, but you really can't notice it.
STEP FOUR: Attach your doors to your box
This was the trickiest part. You will need two people to get this job done properly.
Mostly because it was midnight when we were trying to figure this out, but Trent and I sat there for a few minutes thinking this through. So here's what worked.
Lay the box flat on the ground facing up.
Start by attaching the second set of hinges to each outside of the box first.
Next you attach the doors to the frame.
Using something to support the doors (we used pillows, but blocks of wood would work), attach the hinges to your DIY doors.
We went for a flush mount across the top with our doors, leaving a quarter inch hang across the bottom.
Here's a full view of the back of the door.
I wanted hidden hinges while the doors were closed.
So I attached them to the inside edge of the box.
When it's open, you see the full hinge, but it's not that noticeable.
Now you have a bifold door that works!
Next it's time to hang your box.
STEP FIVE: Hang your DIY TV Cabinet
Remember those support pieces you added to box? You can see ours clearly in the picture above.
This is how you will attach the box to the wall.
Get out your stud finder and level and make sure to attach your wall mounted tv cabinet to studs. We used a 2 inch screw to attach to our wall.
You will want to make sure it's secure since you will be opening and closing the doors each time you watch tv.
Finally I added some easy DIY artwork.
I just love these vintage botanical pencil drawings! I have lots of free printables you can download!
Ready for the reveal?
No more ugly black box!
This DIY Wall Mounted TV cabinet has taken center stage and is the perfect anchor for this room!
And so many people are surprised when I open the doors to reveal our hidden TV.
What I love the most about this is that while the doors are open, it is still framed by the artwork.
Do you know what else is awesome?
I have the ability to swap out the pictures to match the season, or if I change out the decor.
One Christmas, I added some fun seasonal trees to the frames.
Once it was hung, and I moved those DIY Accordion doors for the first time, Trent told me he didn't think this DIY was going to work and was amazed with how it turned out.
That's the best compliment of all!
The total cost of this DIY was right around $135 - just right for our tight budget.
Other ideas for doors
If picture frames aren't your thing, here are some other options to consider to use as door panels for your DIY Wall mounted TV Cabinet
- Cabinet Doors
- Barn Doors
- Old Shutters
I hope this How to Build a Wall Mounted TV Cabinet post inspires you.
This would be a perfect solution for small rooms that need plenty of space without the bulkiness of a giant TV cabinet taking up their living space.
So, think outside the box.
Don't be afraid to try to create a solution for your design dilemma.
And listen to that spark of inspiration that may come from a passing ad or random email!