Google+ Nine Red: How To: Build a TV Stand

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How To: Build a TV Stand

I've shared how we've been tackling some of the living room projects we've been meaning to do.  We've whitewashed the fireplace, painted half the room green, built a modern style bookshelf, and added Marilyn to the mix.  The list is shrinking, I think.  One major improvement we finished recently was for our TV.  First, my fancy cover photo, for the people who pin & want to save this project for later:

Yes, that's mood lighting.. ooh!  OK back it up, here's our living room when we swapped the furniture around:
Take note of the TV, and what is holding it up.  This room has been so hard to arrange, because as luck would have it, each wall has either a door, or a fireplace/heater on it. Also a stairway practically in the middle of the room. Arranging a cozy living room around those obstacles was rough, but we finally found the solution - we just have our living room "zone" as I like to call it, floating in the middle.  And I love it!

But that means we need a TV stand that doesn't show the TV back to the rest of the room. This kitchen bench definitely will not do:
One technique that has helped Ralph & I get projects done faster than usual, is to make things uncomfortable for ourselves. Like when we moved in, leaving our living room completely barren and scary helped us work on the place literally every night:
Nothing like a squeaky wheel to get the grease. Man, the living room has changed! So having our TV on a bench we used for kitchen seating, definitely didn't allow us to forget this project.

So for our TV stand, we knew we wanted something to be the same height as the "interesting" stair banister, and to be flush and almost look built in.  This idea can be adapted to so many different sizes, and was pretty easy to make. We started on a Saturday Morning, and finished before dinner that night. Not bad!

Read on to see how we made ours, and how you can too!

  • 10.5' of 1" x 4"
  • 5' of 1" x 12"
  • 5' of 1" x 6"
  • 15 fence boards in varying widths, cut to 5' (6 feet long usually)
  • 4 1" x 1" square stakes, cut to 5' (8 feet long usually)
  • Flat brackets - 3 straights, and 3 L's (like an elbow)
  • 1/2" long screws, for the brackets.
  • Wood Screws
  • Drill/Screwdriver
  • Nails - 1.5" without a head
  • Wood Glue
  • Heavy Duty Velcro
  • Spade drill bit set (optional, for drilling wire holes)
For the whitewash finish:
  • White Paint
  • Water
  • Plastic cups you don't care about (Chinese food soup containers work AWESOME)
  • Brush
  • Clean Rag, or least favorite T-shirt
For the kick-ass lights:
  • 12 ft white 3 prong extension cord
  • Keyless Ceiling Lampholders (as many as you want to install)
  • LED Party Bulb (I found one at Home Depot, but they are also here on Amazon)
  • Screwdriver
First up is the obvious, measure the area.  You need your total depth, height, and width.
You see here we have a depth of 16.75" but I rounded to 17" because decimals are no fun.

Before we start, the basic idea & skeleton of this stand, consists of 3 "L"'s - standing up, connected by a ton of lumber.  Here we have an L:
You're going to need to work WITHIN the measurements you came up with, so you'll need to do some math-work. The key is to think slightly ahead, and subtract the sizes of other pieces of wood.  In the photo above, the 1" x 4" board is cut to our total height (as it will be the back of the L) MINUS the thickness of our future top piece, which was about .75".

The larger, 1" x 12" board, has been cut to a length that is the total desired depth, minus the width of that 1 x 4.  (Which is around 3.75", they are never perfect)

Chop chop:
Here's where having a Kreg-Jig would be awesome. (Santa, are you reading this?!)  They let you easily create pocket holes to join wood flush, in just this situation.  Because I don't have a Kreg-Jig, I'm using these flat brackets:
One is an L, the other just straight. They work just as nicely, and remember, tons of pieces of wood will eventually connect all this together and keep it super still. Joyous!

Make 3 of those wooden L's, and be sure to keep the brackets facing the inside of the cabinet. Hence why one of ours is faced the other way:
Now when they stand up and sandwich, no brackets will show. Hazah!

Now start chopping all the other boards you've collected into the total width of your cabinet. Just go wild:
Here's where you can get really creative and use whatever wood you like. We used fence boards because they were CHEAP and we wanted that, dirty rustic look, even though it's a clean line TV stand. We've coined it "Modern Mountain" but we might be way off in that dept. Meh!

Look at us go, I absolutely adore this saw, it's been in TWO of my dreams:
Once you have everyone cut to size, it's time to attach them to our frame. This part is fun, and easier with a friend.  For the first few, just to get our wooden L's to quit wiggling, we found it easier to put our nails & screws in halfway, making it easier to attach to the wiggly L's.
Please note, I only used screws for the bottom boards, because I think they are "not as cute" as nails, in other words, they're ugly.

Also, if you'd enjoy putting wood glue on any of these before you join them, by all means.. it doesn't hurt. I didn't however, just sayin.. you could.

Lay your Wooden L's on their back, and start installing a bottom board.
We chose the placement of the supports (which are dividers for the cubbies) totally at random, I definitely like the look of off center.
**IMPORTANT: We made a discovery so you don't have to.  The box on the left side was a little big and I had to add a simple board as a support a month after we made this. The TV was just a little much for it to hold it on it's own. I'd suggest centering that middle support more. Or, If you want to keep a big cubby there without a support, simply use better quality wood than fence post on the top, where the TV will sit. I'd suggest the pine 1x8x6, those things are strong.

Use a straight edge with a right angle to make sure everything is nice and 90 degrees:

Hi Reuben! Rest in Peace lil guy.. (full story)
Continue attaching the boards with the unit on it's back. I like to start with attaching at the tops, bottoms, and corners so that there are no gaps in those spaces.  When filling in however, our goal was to leave gaps that would add a unique look.

We're using only nails without heads to attach here, we only used the screws in the invisible areas.
Once you have finished all you can on the front and bottom, stand her up and work on the platform where the TV will sit. (This is where you can use a stronger board than us...) Same technique, new side:
Oh that's nice & fresh....
Face forward and resting on some milk crates topped in wood scraps, we begin the backside:
Same routine, line 'em up, nail em in. Repeat, repeat.
Now wait! I have a suggestion! I decided it would be good to NOT INSTALL the very bottom back panel.  The rest of the boards hold this piece securely enough, and I REALLY REALLY wanted a service panel. In other words, a pop open panel so I could plug all those wires in without climbing inside this thing!
I used heavy duty velcro to attach the wood to the unit.  I recommend adding a little wood glue to the velcro glue, because by itself it comes off the wood in about a month.

Velcro is easy. Just join the two pieces together (scratchy to soft, like normal), then remove the backing, add a dabble of wood glue and put it in place:
Then just pop the wood on top and let it join & dry.

Now stand this beezy up!
Fancy! Now seal the top up.  We used our 1 x 6 which was cut to 5'.  We used a clean pine board vs. a fence post, because we wanted this one to be a bit cleaner & prettier:
OK, that's the bulk of the work! The rest is all cosmetic. So you can stop here, or read on to see the finish and the beautiful lighting we installed in ours.
Wires are an eternal battle, but lucky for us this thing is hollow, so we can tuck the wires out of site!

Figure out where you'll put the TV, then right behind it, place your hole. Make sure to use a spade drill bit big enough to pass the plug of the TV through, not just big enough for wires.
Boom! No one will ever know that thing is plugged in, it's like witch-craft.

At this point we were pretty ancy, and wanted to "try it on" so to speak:
Isn't that just a teency bit better than the kitchen bench? Just a tad...

Now for our finish we chose to whitewash it. It's clean, it's bright, and most of all - it reflects what little light we have. We set up shop in the kitchen, so we could cook dinner at the same time. Multitasking....
A simple 50/50 of water to paint, painted on and buffed off with a rag:
Just do this forever:
Eh, it only took an hour. It just felt like forever. But look, we're done!
Does it get any better? Yes, yes it does.  Because every part of me loves lighting, everything about this TV stand is demanding kick-ass lights.

**Stop here if wiring freaks you out, it's not worth a fire, just call an electrician**

One of my favorite shortcuts to get some electricity, is to chop the end off a cheap extension cord.
Then I strip the wires and attach them to socket. Easy!
There are directions on the package for the keyless socket, but to sum it up:

  • The white wire goes to the Silver key (ribbed side of the cord)
  • The black wire goes to brass (smooth side of the cord)
That's it. You can connect two in a row simply by cutting the long cord after the first socket, and installing it to both sockets in the same way. Just all in a row. 

Then you can install your socket inside the cubbies:

So I did two LED bulbs, because I think they're amazing:
They rotate through the colors automatically, creating endless combinations.  Here you can see my mounting situation, I did the top back of each cubby, and ran the wires through holes in the wooden L's.
This way when you're standing you dont' see any wires or bulbs, just the perdy lights. Example of the changing combos:
It's so hard to photograph that, here's a video, but I warn you: the LED's were freaking the camera out, so there are a couple weird moments. Just imagine it fading smoothly..
I know, hard to watch, but in PERSON  it's just delightful. Imagine watching a movie, with these slow fading colors lighting up your floors. Hello movie theater! Haha.. Ok some night-time / light-time shots, you can still see the color a bit:

So that back service panel I talked about, here it is in action:

Womp - See how easy it will be to hook cords up? And let me tell you, we did this project a bit ago, and that panel has come in SO handy. Do it!

Just a lil arrested development to test her out. Oh, a side shot:
So slim and clean! Thank goodness flat screens were invented, it has changed my world completely.  I might add one more socket right behind the TV screen itself, because those things are friggin' awesome and I want more colors and that would also shine on the ceiling.  Cool...

 Here's how the back looks, not bad at all.....
And some daytime shots, since I was major impatient the first time around:

Hooray, we're done! If you're wondering about the middle support on the left there, I did add one later because our heavy TV was causing some sag in the cheap fence boards. For yours just use the nicer wood (finished pine) boards for the platform. They are less bendy than our rustic fence boards.

I might go back and swap my boards out, and I might just leave it like this forever.  You know how it goes!

So that's our TV stand, thanks for reading & if you make one, show me, show me, show me

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Here's the cover again for all you pinners out there... 

You might like these other living room projects:

Build a Bookshelf Covers-001 White Wash The Fireplace-008

Living Room Paint Project Rhododendron-001
DIY Wood Look Tile Entryway

Post a Comment


  1. what a great idea to hide the back with a wall! looks awesome!

  2. Awesome, awesome!! Love, Mom :)

  3. Excellent job, guys. Practical and nice looking stand. Two questions:
    - what size is the TV in these pictures?
    - how far from the screen are the eyes of someone sitting on the green couch across from the TV, next to the table wit the round glass top?

    1. Thanks!!! The TV is a 42", and if you are sitting next to the glass table it's about 102" from your eye to the screen. I know, we were really worried it would feel too close too, but luckily it's perfect! If anything, I like it better than when we were farther away. I feel like the couch + TV area is a separate little nook within our open living room. really cozy. I fall asleep there CONSTANTLY....hahaha......

  4. Superb job with the brilliant ideas..!!
    Adorable.Luxury Beds and Mattresses

  5. How much did the materials cost you? I love this idea!

    1. You know, a smarter person would have included that - oops! This was a while ago, but I can confidently say that it was under $100. That includes those fancy light bulbs, too. Sorry I don't have a more accurate answer!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Perfect post! thank for sharing this useful information for all.
    See also more and compare for best prices deals for Entertainment Furniture Decor here!


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