Picture of How to Make a TV Lift cabinet
Do you hate walking into your living room or family room and seeing a huge black TV flat screen dominating your view?   Do you wish that you could just make it disappear when you're not watching?  If so, read on.  We will show you how to build a TV lift cabinet that hides your flat screen TV in a nice looking piece of furniture when you're not watching it.  When you're ready to watch, hit a button on a universal remote and it will rise up out of the cabinet like magic.

This Instructable uses birch plywood and a lift by Firgelli Automation to implement the design.   The TV shown here is a 60" Samsung but could be any modern flat screen.  It includes shelving for your components and drawers to store Wii remotes and DVDs/CDs. 

The step by step pictures show key parts and there are over 40 minutes of video with tips and tricks as well.  The total cost is around $1000... not including your TV.

There is also a set of shelves to go above the lift cabinet listed here:  TV Lift Cabinet - Shelves

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Step 1: Video of TV Cabinet operation

This is a video showing the TV Lift cabinet in action.

This video shows how to remove the front panel for access to the inside of the TV Lift Cabinet.


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Can this lift be used upside down? I want to put a tv in my bedroom and make it disappear into the ceiling when not in use
ihart (author)  justin.webster.9215 days ago
Yes it can! Check this drop down lift out from Firgelli:

This is totally awesome :) Just what I'm looking albeit for a slightly different purpose. Perhaps I could include a TV into the design.

Do you happen to know if you can attach two LCD monitors to one of the lifts or would this need to separate mechanisms

Cheers :)

ihart (author)  davidjohnlong1 month ago
Hi David,
It looks like you could mount 2 LCD monitors to a TV lift. I'm not sure what your application would be. They make brackets that hold 2 LCDs for example:
Hi, Thanks for your reply.
I was looking using Openbuilds to build a vertical linear actuator and possibly attach a couple of wall brackets to a cross bar to enable monitor movement once they're been deployed above the desk. Any ideas how much load stepper motors can handle?
ihart (author)  davidjohnlong1 month ago

Well... in answer to your question, a stepper motor can lift an infinite load with infinite gear reduction.. ;-) You are trading off speed vs. power. It depends how long you are willing to wait for your LCD monitors to rise up.

The Firgelli lift I used takes about 20 seconds. The lift has some huge motor in it and is made of steel. It feels like it weighs over 50 (imperial) pounds.

FYI, there are some other linear actuators out there that may work for you as well. For example, these cost ~$150, move at 2"/sec., max load = 35lbs, and max height= 20"

Good luck with your project. Let me know if you make your own custom lift.

ckirste2 months ago

I first saw this a few months ago and review it now and then. Really great Instructable.

I am thinking of building something similar but it will be freestanding behind a couch in the middle of a room. I don't need it so deep and am wondering if you think your cabinet would be stable if it were not next to a wall? It doesn't look like you attached the cabinet to the wall or the floor. I would likely make a cabinet for a 60" or 65" TV and don't need the storage on either end. I'm a little worried about stability when the TV is raised and what the best depth is to be stable but not take up too much width behind the couch.


antoniot23 months ago

hi, and can know where you purchased the lift tv ? i'm italian sorry for my english

ihart (author)  antoniot23 months ago

The Link is in the first item in Step2. For translation to Italian, try using:

matthewjmaher4 months ago

This is fantastic - I've gone pro with so that I can use your instructions. I'm in the UK, the nights are getting longer so it's time to fettle in the garage. I just hope my skills are as good as yours and I can do it justice! However, I am trying to download the tv_lift_cabinet_drawings.doc but the website is blocking it. Can you help, please?

I'm thinking that I might make a hinged door on the front left to expose the "boxes of tricks" instead of having the IR repeater. Push to open closure device required. Do you think that would work?



ihart (author)  matthewjmaher4 months ago

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the note. I'm not sure what you mean by a "make hinged door on the front left." There is a hinged door there with a soft close hinge. I think you can see it in the demo video. The IR repeater sensor sits up high and repeats the remote control signals to the hidden components, lift and TV.

Hi again,

Thanks for your reply. I'm convinced to go for the IR repeater; you're right. it will just make things easier in the long term. What I meant by the doors was to have one on the left and one on the right on the front; your one on the left is on the side. I don't know if that is going to cause some issues. I have plenty of wall to work (100") with an a 50" TV.

What I really need is the tv_lift_cabinet_drawings.doc that is linked in the instructions pdf in section 4. When I click on it I'm told "403 Forbidden - Request forbidden by administrative rules". Any idea how I can get it? See the image below if you're not sure what I mean.

Thanks for your help - I'm very excited about starting this!


Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 23.43.02.png
ihart (author)  matthewjmaher4 months ago

That's great that you are going forward with this project! As you said, if you have plenty of wall, you can have your components come out the front. Just measure your components and make sure you have enough room for their depth.

The plans should be here. I see a link and can click it to open them. I dont have to be logged into google to see them.

Step 4: Wood Parts Detailed Plans, Cut List and Cut Drawings

The following Word document:

If this doesn't work, message me your e-mail address and I will e-mail the doc file to you.

RohitK34 months ago

Do you know anywhere where a cabinet like this can be bought from?, or a builder in the UK who would be happy to undergo a project such as this? Thanks

cyclone500107 months ago

Great job! Cabinet looks great. Do you know if you can mount an extendable swivel arm on the lift?

I would like to do the same thing you did with an existing cabinet that is beside my fireplace. The issue is that the cabinet is recessed about 5" back from the fireplace so the view is cut off. If the lift could accommodate an extendable swivel arm then I could just auto-lift the TV and then manually pull it out to clear the fireplace. Any thoughts?

ihart (author)  cyclone500107 months ago

Thanks. I understand what you are saying. I imagine that your idea will work fine. Contact Firgelli automation to ask if the swivel will fit they're bracket. I think it would.

If you do this, obviously make sure you secure your cabinet to the floor so that it can handle the cantilevered mechanical advantage of that TV sitting a few feet in front of the cabinet. Another remote risk is a kid trying to grab the arm and swing off it which could be deadly if the cabinet is not secured to the wall and ground.

Let us know if you make this!

cjones1198 months ago
Great project but for those of us who don't have a G to spend on a projectI think you could have reduced the cost by quite a bit. Using birch plywood only then paint it white seems like a waste of money to me. Granted if you were wanting to have a stained or natural wood finish I can see spending the extra money to have a nice grained wood but in this case I think in this case you could have cut your wood cost in half. Just my opinion though.
ihart (author)  cjones1198 months ago
Seriously? You signed up to Instructables just to make this comment? What wood material can you recommend that can be edge glued and painted to a desired color to match the trim in a room? Not particle board. That wont work. How exactly would you cut the wood cost in half?
djopole1 year ago


When the TV is closing down the lid from the cabinet closed after the tv ? What did you use to do it and how did you do it ? Thank you for a quick respond

ihart (author)  djopole1 year ago
I'm not totally sure I understand your question but the lid closes with a piano hinge and gravity. Home Depot sells the piano hinge. See the videos and pictures.
drose251 year ago
I'd love to build something like this but the dang TVs are never off around here so it would be pointless. :D
ihart (author)  drose251 year ago
One of the reasons I built the lift cabinet was to make it a little harder to watch TV. The TV is down most of the time since when you shut the TV off, it drops back down. If you really want to watch something or play the Xbox, it takes 20 seconds for the thing to come up. My kids don't "default" to it. They will consider other options as well as the boob-tube.
This is exactly what I was looking for. You did a wonderful job! Thanks for posting such an excellent project. I only hope my finished product turns out half as well.
ihart (author)  BichonWheels1 year ago
Thank you! Please post pics of your project and let us know how it works out. The lift cabinet we have is still used a few times a day and is going strong.
MartijnD1 year ago
Nice project! Idea: instead of the infrared receiver hide it in the doorknob. I think I will build a similar construction too. I have the old set-up of an electric projector screen, first measure how much it can lift, second measure tv and rig, add counterweight if needed, get 4 telescopic drawer slides and have bottoms facing each other for stability. The motor/tube has adjustable end-stops so you can set min and max depth via wire-thread movements, or add the sensing switches in the top and bottom positions...
ihart (author)  MartijnD1 year ago
Thanks! If you build a lift cabinet, post some pictures.

re: the IR receiver LED, you could hide it somewhere. I'm not sure a knob is a good place.

re: The make vs. buy decision on a TV lift mechanism, we all need to make these tradeoffs when we build something. The lift mentioned in this instructable can reliably lift and lower a 60" TV. It comes with standard brackets that mount to the TV and cabinet. It has a built in limit and over-current sensors. It has a built in top stop limit which is settable through IR command. It has a microprocessor to handle the IR commands and the limit switches.

It sounds like you would have a very popular Instructable if you can reproduce this lift here in a way that would be easy and inexpensive for others to build.
Leevers1 year ago
Fantastic idea!
French831 year ago
Looks awsome! Doesnt the cabinet vibrate with your sub inside it?

I had thouts about build a cabinet likes this, but than mount the tv in the back of the cabinet ant the stereo equipment in front of it.
You dont find temperature problems with it like this?

tumbs up!
ihart (author)  French831 year ago
Thanks for your kudos!

The sub woofer doesn't vibrate at all in there. It does a good job with the low frequencies. That said, I don't crank it all the way up for earthquake type bass.

Re: the temperature question, I've had a few comments about that. I've had it running everyday for almost 2 years now with no component failures. I have a thermometer in the cabinet above the components. It stays around 90degs F most of the time, if the wii or xbox are on, it goes higher. These components are certainly designed to run with an ambient temp of 100 deg F. Many people actually live in temps like that in the summer.

Also, there are many companies reducing cooling for their server farms because the cooling is not needed! For example, read this:
mr.cletus2 years ago
excellent work!!
ihart (author)  mr.cletus2 years ago
pdesjardins2 years ago
Hi, the Word document generate at this moment an error : 403 Forbidden error. I am using Chrome browser on Windows 7.
ihart (author)  pdesjardins2 years ago
It seems like there was a problem with the Instructables link to the doc. I put it here now and listed it in Step4:

Let us know if you build something! Post a picture too.
jumpfroggy3 years ago
I love this build! Are there any viable cheaper alternatives for the lift itself? I wouldn't mind a real cheap tv lift for the end of the bed, but at $500 for the lift itself, I don't think I could justify this for a fun project. Are there any cheaper out there?
I found a complete cabinet with the tv lift unit for under $300 once at a discount furniture store. The cabinet was cheap looking and I was shocked at the cost until I saw the price on just the hardware.
The Project looks great, ihart. It'll be high on my list once the sources for the mech expand and the price becomes reasonable.
ihart (author)  jumpfroggy3 years ago
Firgelli automation seems to own the industry for the lift kits. I actually emailed them about their price. I think that they could sell a ton of these lifts if they would lower it to $200 or $300.

You could certainly make your own with a 36" linear actuator, an encoder to feedback the actuator position an IR interface, a micro-controller such as a PIC or arduino and a small remote control.

I did a quick search and it looks like some Chinese companies are starting to compete in this market. I dont know what their specs are but it would be worth checking out:

Let us know what you find if it looks promising.
Geggo2 years ago
really cool :)
ihart (author)  Geggo2 years ago
EET19822 years ago
So awesome! Great job!
That's so cool.
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