Introduction: LCD Coffee Table

Picture of LCD Coffee Table
Have an extra LCD monitor laying around? I think most of us have upgraded their screen or TV at some point to a larger one and have their old one collecting dust. If you have the space, why not put it to good use and create a coffee table with a built in LCD screen?

- Stream anything from Mac OS or iOS with an Apple TV! (Airplay mirroring)

- Use it as a fully functioning PC! (with a bluetoothkeyboard and mouse)

- Control your table from your tablet or phone! (with LogMeIn)

- Turn things on or off using an app on your phone or a small remote! (with Belkin WeMo or a remote power strip)

I have always wanted to do this, and when I got a 27 inch monitor for cheap, I decided to browse YouTube for some ideas. ( ) The best one I found I decided to build, and here is the result!

*EDITOR NOTE*: I got the glass cut finally and have posted the finished project! :D

      I've got a lot of comments on my photos, be sure the check them all out!

Step 1: Disassemble LCD and Grab Some Wood There Bub...

Picture of Disassemble LCD and Grab Some Wood There Bub...

Careful when taking apart any TV or LCD panel!! I cannot stress this enough! Disassemble the plastic housing around the TV or LCD panel. Don't worry if you need to chip the plastic or break some buttons, just make sure that you don't have to fiddle with a remote or pressing of any buttons to get the TV or LCD to recognize your input device. Min was a TV, so I tested hooking up a PC, a Mac, and an Apple TV to test the three ports (HDMI, VGA, and DVI) to make sure I didn't have to fiddle with any buttons for the TV to turn on and recognize my source.

If you can't get around the pushing of a button to turn something on, think about a switch. I suggest using the wireless Belkin Switch Memo for ease of use and price.   ( )

Once the TV or LCD panel has been disassembled, think about getting a plank of wood. My parents had this piece sitting around, but if you are getting a piece from Lowe's or Home Depot, think about the thickness of the wood, the finish, and the durability. We're going to be using screws for the assembly, and you don't want something cracking or splitting. Also think about the finished look, do you want to keep it fresh or stain it? Paint it maybe? Think about it before you buy. 

Next, think about the wood. My parents had this piece laying around, but if you're going to buy a slab, think about the thickness, the finish, and the quality of the wood. Remember, we're using screws, we don't want to split the wood. Think about the finish. Do you want to paint it? Stain it? Keep it fresh looking? Also, take into account the kerf, or the thickness of the blade, when you cut. Get a pice of wood with some extra length, don' get it exactly the right dimensions. Cutting wood to the same dimensions -> ( link

Step 2: Pop in the LCD Panel...

Picture of Pop in the LCD Panel...

When you've cut your pieces of wood, assemble them together with four screws on each side. I countersunk mine by drilling partway into the wood with a larger bit, puling out, then screwing in my screw. You'll see why later.

After the box is put together, you can flip it over, plop down the LCD on a flat and smooth surface, and screw in the ledges for the LCD to hang on to. See the photos for an idea. Yours will be slightly different, but the same general idea.

At this point you can simply put some glass on top with some rubber stoppers, make another ledge for a PC laptop, grab a bluetooth mouse and keyboard and be done! I chose to go further though. Continue on to the next step to see more.

Step 3: Adding Some Flair...

Picture of Adding Some Flair...

So you've got this far! Congrats! Now lets put some flair on it...

The edges. This coffee table has to have something to focus its attention to the center. The gray edges don't do that. I went to Lowes to find something to cover it. I found the perfect solution! Trimquick Deepscore ( link ) Basically its the plastic trim that goes around windows. It has a very adhesive side and is easily trim able with a razor blade. Very cheap too! 

After painting the plastic black, I cut the edges 45 degrees and painted again. The finished result is amazing! 

But thats not all... We're going to make it wider...

Step 4: Making It a Real Table...

Picture of Making It a Real Table...

Making it wider is simple. 45 degree cuts from the same type of wood. Make sure to get as accurate as you can with the cuts. We filled in our mistakes with putty and it's not so bad.

For attaching them, we used six L brackets. Can't see them from the top or sides, so it works out very well. Cheap too.

When fitting it all together, the corners are going to fit close, but maybe not perfect. Use some wood putty to fill in the gaps, then sand it out to get it smooth. The putty dries fast, so jam it in, and use a putty knife to scrape off excess. Sand off the excess and just all the edges in general.

To keep the corners together, we used the extra triangles from the 45 degree cuts and screwed them in underneath. Check the photos to get an idea.

(There are 13 images, make sure you click Show all 13 images to see them)

Step 5: Finishing Touches!

Picture of Finishing Touches!

Ah, the end. It was fun. Staining it is fast and easy. Pick a nice color and test it on some spare wood to try it out before taking the plunge. Tape off the LCD panel and the trim before you stain. Polyurethane coat the stain after it's dried.

Call up a local glass shop and get a piece of 3/8 inch glass to put over the top with 4 or 8 rubber spacers and you are finished my friend! I got my glass for about 45 bucks.

For extra effect, I added a LED light right underneath the edge of the table and roped the excess back inside to give it an underglow.

Get any laptop and speakers and hook up that bad boy to the LCD ad you're ready to rock! For cable management and heat, make sure you lift up the bottom four corners with wheels or books to let air in and space for the power cables. Get a power strip and route it inside the box for maximum cable hiding efficiency.

Have fun! Add some cool underglow lighting or subwoofer! Put a media center PC in it! Do what you will! Post in the comments your version!

Special thanks to my parents for the help and Modder420 from Chocolate City Customs for the inspiration ( link )

Step 6: Configuring Your Computer... You Should Call This a Gob, Guy!

Picture of Configuring Your Computer... You Should Call This a Gob, Guy!

So even though this concept of putting a computer in a box and placing glass over it isn't a new idea, I made it different in that I added some extra flair to it such as the remote control power strip, the under glow lights, and the extended overhang to make it appear as a regular coffee table. It's an ongoing project and I'll be adding and perfecting things as things progress. Check out some photos of the mounting of the computer. I decided to go with the free computer I was given. It was a good price and a small ATX form factor. I zip tied and routed some cables out of the way, but its difficult to do this stuff upside down or leaning into the table. I screwed the motherboard directly into the wood, although there might be a better way to do it. (Thanks for the comment about grounding the screws) I left some wiggle room so there isn't anything getting too hot to burn the wood.

Using a laptop would be better, even better would be to use an Apple TV and stream your Mac to it, but alas, I wanted a full computer that I could run MAME emulation.

I drilled some triangles I had left over to the corners of the table to lift it up for heat escaping. The first triangle was drilled to the bottom leg corner, then the second triangle was screwed to the first. After it's stained and sanded, it looks pretty good. 

Bluetooth and WiFi are the only things really needed for this. is a free site that lets you control everything remotely from any iOS device or computer. You can even install a program that allows you to use your phone or tablet as a mouse and keyboard.Another thing thats recommended is changing the bios to start up after a power outage and no prompting if there isn't a keyboard attached.

If for some reason you don't have the auto power on after power outage as an option, you should have the power button routed someplace easily accessible. I will only be using the power button, but if I want the computer to start up as everything else does, I can change it later in the bios.

                                    -   Have fun and show me what you can do!   -


out-of-the-box (author)2013-06-20

great idea! doing that this weekend! but I'm going to put Plexiglas over the TV just to prevent any accidents. awesome project! really great! can't express how great this is haha.

Kamoku_Katai (author)2013-06-20

LCD end tables with wireless HDMI inputs, setup a media computer and run music through speakers around the room. Put them all on a visualizer in any media player. Best party effects, ever. This is totally the shit, and thank you for this constructable, instruc-table, instructable!

ssmith155 (author)2013-06-17

This is a really kool idea very impressive :) 5 stars!!

dbernstein-freeman (author)2013-06-16

Wow James, I'm super impressed! Didn't realize you were such the wood craftsman! I especially like all the final touches you put on it.

Why thank you Day! :D I just added some under glow lights, and the feet are going to raise it up to let air flow.

nerd7473 (author)2013-06-16

wow I like the instructable I would like to do someting similar with a monitor my uncle gave me

The_Black_Hole (author)2014-03-05

just curious, how easy would it be to make an lcd a touch screen for a project like this?

y2j514 (author)The_Black_Hole2015-09-05

My thoughts exactly!

ThusharYoYo (author)y2j5142015-12-11

Ya it would be even awesome if we use some touch screen stuff

LeeM30 (author)2015-10-07

Im making this for my gcse resistant material project

moded personally

ideaknock (author)2013-11-29

Wow! great! I want to make one

nerd7473 (author)2013-11-21

Hey what tools could I use on a bedside table to make it like this?

nsagez (author)2013-10-08

A simple mod would be to put hinges which could be hidden and arms on each side so you can adjust the monitor

Electronickid4314 (author)2013-08-15

How high is it?

jaycruz (author)2013-07-16

:( They will live on forever in the form of a ROM and emulator. A moment of silence for the silenced PP7.

jaycruz (author)2013-07-15

Just temporary. I added the wooden triangles in later steps. I'll update the video to show the completed project.

pfurgiuele (author)2013-07-02

This is an awesome idea, love it! It would be cool to add a piece of glass over top the table to prevent the screen from being damaged.

Monomann (author)2013-06-28

Nice work son! It will look sweet in your new place! :0

pcherepnin (author)2013-06-21

That's a great idea! And there is plenty of space to continue working on it and enriching it, adding different thing and functionality

jaycruz (author)pcherepnin2013-06-24

Anything goes! MAME fun anyone? :D

tjboak (author)2013-06-22

This is fantastic! This would make couch potatoes everywhere drool... more than usual. What I would like to try is making the coffee table top detachable and rigging it up so it can be tilted upward vertically so you don't have to watch a horizontal tv. Then when you're done, you can just push it back down and it's a table again.
Great job!

jaycruz (author)tjboak2013-06-24

Totally saw a youtube video of a guy who made a table like mine, but he had a hydraulic system that raised it up so you could watch it head on. It was nutty. lol

calumam (author)2013-06-23

Brilliant idea, I'm getting rid of a monitor of my own after purchasing a Nexus tablet and found this very interesting for an idea. Look forward to seeing it with the glass top, are you using black rubber circles as the spacers? about 5cm in diameter. Only problem you may have with the glass will be the reflection caused between the gap in between the LCD and the glass, but that depends on the height you raise it.

jaycruz (author)calumam2013-06-24

I was wondering about it getting too hot with the glass on top. I was going to get wide, clear spacers. about 8 of them Make the four on the outside corners be bigger than the four near the inside corners. But we'll see when the glass is put on. As for the clearance between the glass and the table, it will be minimal, but heat will have to be taken into consideration.

redman3260 (author)2013-06-23

I like it a lot. You can have pics of the family scrolling when you have visitors. Very cool.

jaycruz (author)redman32602013-06-24

Good idea. Have a slideshow going of the previous family get together.

jdwaynes1980 (author)2013-06-24

Awesome project! This would be amazing with a touch screen all-in-one PC.

jpharrington (author)2013-06-20

A Raspberry Pi would work great in this setup. Less power consumption & less heat would be generated.

jaycruz (author)jpharrington2013-06-20

I'm not too knowledgeable with the RPi and what it can offer. I need to install some kind of remote desktop or something I can control from my phone or tablet. I don't really want to have a mouse and keyboard on the table at all times.

DustySeven7 (author)jaycruz2013-06-21

what about the g4s overlays from PQ labs? Its a overlay that gives multi-touch to any monitor. there is different versions, 2, 4, 6, 12, 32 points of touch. they are not exactly cheap but something very very cool

Eh Lie Us! (author)2013-06-20

I most certainly will NOT disregard that Lego gun, sir!

jaycruz (author)Eh Lie Us!2013-06-20

You will DISREGARD that Lego gun right now, good sir!

Eh Lie Us! (author)jaycruz2013-06-21

Man, that thing shoud have it's one instructable or at least make a cameo appearance in the background. It still cracks me up! :)

alster77 (author)2013-06-21

niiiice, love it!

elroy72 (author)2013-06-20

You should consider grounding the screws that hold the motherboard to the side of the table. You don't normally need to worry about this in a computer case because the base itself is metal and grounded through the power supply.

jaycruz (author)elroy722013-06-20

Didn't even think to ground the screws. Thats something I really should have thought of. Thank you. I'll have to re-evaluate that and find a way to ground it.

An easy way to do that would be to solder a wire to a screw and the other end to the power supply case. Takes about 2 mins, I had a similar issue with a case I painted inside and out. One of those facepalm moments

askjerry (author)2013-06-20

I can't disregard the LEGO gun... it has me in it's powers...

What? Oh yeah... nice table!

jaycruz (author)askjerry2013-06-20

I asked you nicely to disregard that Lego gun...

What you choose to do is your own fault, sir.

And thank you!

askjerry (author)jaycruz2013-06-20


LittleMonkeyMojo (author)2013-06-20

Just a note... Especially with larger LCDs and Plasma displays, be very supportive when placing the screen in the "frame" as sometimes even the slightest flexing with crack the screen.

jaycruz (author)LittleMonkeyMojo2013-06-20

Yes, good point. I'm putting rubber gaskets to lift the glass up from touching the LCD or the wood.

mfaulkner-1 (author)2013-06-20

Brilliant! Would love one in my living room.

jaycruz (author)mfaulkner-12013-06-20

Everyone should have one! :D

danzo321 (author)2013-06-20

OK, nice neat box; but doesn't the sound come out the bottom/back and do you want to hear it? Wouldn't it also ventilate better if it wasn't a box, but a table structure?

jaycruz (author)danzo3212013-06-20

I was recommended to drill a hole or two and put a grate on it to make the heat escape better, but I have since put in a few fans and the corners has been raised up a few inches to let the heat and sound come out. I'm not too worried about the sound because I can always hook up louder, power driven speakers.

SaadHusain (author)2013-06-20

Install Remote Desktop (RDP) if you have Windows 7 Professional or VNC if you want free on the machine. Then you can remotely login from your Android or Laptop and control the machine.

clarksonchief (author)2013-06-20

Awesome job great idea and well thought out instructable . Kudos

bigredishott (author)2013-06-20

I was thinking the same as elroy72. I was also wondering about ventilation. I did not notice any vents, I am sure if there is none it gets toasty in there cant be good for either.

Other than them thoughts it looks good and good idea. I hope to see this upgraded with the glass.

nerd7473 (author)2013-06-19

I would like to make one I have an old monitor with vga and dvi input with 3 usb ports I already took it off the base and I am going to do this instructable as soon as I get the wood and game console to vga converter box

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